Ziploc bags. Chances are you have a box in your kitchen drawer right now. But do you know everything you should about these little pieces of plastic? Here’s the scoop on your favorite sandwich bag, courtesy of Real Simple magazine.
- For starters, they first invaded our kitchens in 1968 – just one year after those famous lines were uttered in the movie The Graduate – “I want to say one word to you, just one word: PLASTICS.” And maybe Dustin Hoffman should have listened! According to SC Johnson – the current manufacturer of Ziploc products – the average American now uses more that 40 Ziploc bags a year.
- So, are they safe for cooking? No. The type of plastic used in Ziplocs has a low melting point, about 240 degrees Fahrenheit. So, don’t boil food in the bag – like you do with instant rice. Also, putting hot food in the bag could melt the plastic.
- What about the microwave? Sandwich bags are too thin to stand up to the heat. If you’re going to freeze and reheat something, you must use a bag labeled as microwave-safe.
- And finally. can Ziploc bags be recycled? Yes they can! But unfortunately, most communities recycle only type 1 and type 2 plastics – such as soda bottles and milk jugs. Grocery and zipper-seal bags are type 4 plastics. But usually major grocery stores will have a drop off for recycling them.
- And guess what – a Ziploc bag can actually be a lifesaver! Last December, 3 men found themselves stranded in frigid water when their 14-foot boat capsized. They fought off hypothermia until Nick Orsi, one of the men, managed to pull himself onto the overturned boat and locate his cell phone, which was sealed in a Ziploc bag in his coat pocket. He dialed for help, and minutes later the Coast Guard dispatched rescue boats. The bag had protected the phone, and ultimately saved the men.