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13 Creative Uses for Cereal Bag Liners (Plus Readers' Ideas)

Frugal Parenting (featured column)
by Rachel Keller

If your family eats boxed dry cereals do you just toss out those plastic bags when the box is empty? Before you throw out another plastic cereal liner bag, consider saving them to reuse.

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Here are a few creative ways you can recycle the bags:

1. Editor's Update: Tip for cooking foods in recycled plastic bags has been removed. Using unlabeled (meaning, not marked "microwave safe") plastics in the microwave MAY or MAY NOT be a health hazard. Food safety information in our country is always being updated and can often be inconclusive or worse, contradictory. I can't count the number of times that guidelines for coffee (decaf, non-decaf, etc.) have changed over the last few decades. What I do know is that my grandmother is 87 years old and in perfect physical health... and she drank more coffee daily than anyone I've ever met in my life! So, I don't worry about it any more, if I want a cup of coffee, I have a cup of coffee. Decaf or non-decaf.

HOWEVER, regarding the issue of using plastic in the microwave, for the safety of our readers, we cannot recommend recycling plastic containers in the microwave at all. Just in case. Thankfully, there are many ways to recycle plastic beyond cooking and we all need to do much more of it. Even if it means just responsibly putting them in recycling bins. That will help!

2. See Tip 1. ;o)

3. Use an open cereal liner to place homemade chocolate-covered candies and pretzels on to harden and cool. After the candy cools, just toss the liner for easy cleanup

4. Place no-bake cookies on an open liner to cool.

5. Fill an unopened bag with crackers or nuts and crush with a rolling pin.

6. Fill an unopened bag with seasoned bread or cracker crumbs. Use this to shake and bake meats such as fish or chicken or even vegetables.

7. Fill an unopened bag with quartered potatoes. Drizzle olive oil and dump in a packet of onion soup mix or other seasonings. Shake to coat. Remove plastic bag, place food in a crockpot or in the oven to bake.

8. Place sandwiches or other foods in the bag for your lunch instead of using sandwich bags.

9. Open and use the bag when rolling out pie dough to prevent it from sticking to the counter top. Moisten the counter top before placing the liner on it to keep it from slipping. Sprinkle flour on the cereal bag and then put your dough on the liner.

10. Use an opened bag for rolling out cookie dough to keep your counter top from getting messy.

11. Use to separate hamburgers, cheese, or other meats when freezing.

12. Use when pushing down rice krispie treats in a pan to keep the marshmallow mixture from sticking to your hands.

13. If you are planning to take the cooled rice krispie treats to a picnic or party, use the cereal liner to keep the treats from sticking to each other and to make for easy removal of the treats. Cut the liner just slightly smaller than the container you’re using. Place cut liners in the container between each layer of treats. No more clumps of stuck-together rice krispie treats!

You can use cereal liners in place of wax paper in many ways (except do not try ironing or pressing leaves between cereal liners).

Do you have other uses for cereal box liners? If so, we would love to hear from you!

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Readers' Tips: 
Compiled by Editor

"I used the cereal liners to cover pies.  Open the bag halfway, slip the cover over the pies with the opening on the bottom and fold it over. Then label with a marker." - Nancy

"My 3 year old son loves to have an apple or orange cut up for snack time. We can use the unopened liners to put the fruit in for him to eat while he is sitting and watching his favorite TV shows.  This will also help to keep the dog from getting to his treats so easily too!" - Connie

"I save tiny bits of soap that are left over from a bar of soap.  When I have enough after a few months I put them in a washed out cereal liner and crush them to bits and then I wash a load of towels with this soap." - Jeanette

"Cereal box liner's are made with hdpe plastic, so I reuse mine with my vacuum food bag sealer. Saves on buying new rolls." - bytorsnowdog

"Helmet for 'Johnny Space Boy' costume." - Michael M.

"I always lay a cereal box liner on the counter onto which I peel potatoes and carrots.  (Why waste a paper towel?)  Then I can just pick up all the peelings at once and throw them away.  If the trash can happens to be too full at the moment, I just put the whole thing in the cereal box and set it by the can till it goes out that night." - Elaine F. D.

"I put them at the bottom of the kitchen garbage can, saves time cleaning the can as it catches drips. I also place the large ones at the bottom of the drawers of my refrigerator to catch spills. I also keep them in my diaper bag instead of plastic bags as a place to put dirty diapers." - Julia H. D.

"These work improbably well for cilantro which spoils quickly in other bags. Not sure why the difference, it is fascinating." - Ardy H.

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Copyright © 2005 by Rachel Keller.  All rights reserved.
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