Too Many Mini Plastic Bags!!

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penicillin

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Feb 27, 2019
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I buy most of my pen kits at the local Rockler, and I assume that most of those come from Penn State or Rizheng. Every tiny little part gets its own mini plastic bag to protect the finish. A typical pen kit has five bags: tip, band, cap, clip, and the outer bag. Some kits have more parts and more bags.

I am annoyed with all the plastic bags for many reasons. They take time to open and retrieve the parts. They blow around. They seem to get everywhere. Some people use the mini plastic bags to apply CA finish to pens. I tried it, but don't like it.

I wish that the pen kit makers would find a better solution, one that reduces waste and makes it easier for me at pen assembly time. Penn State, Rockler, and all the others should pressure the manufacturers to step up and fix the problem.

-> Has anyone found good uses to repurpose those mini plastic bags?
 
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pnemox

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No kidding. I do use them for applying CA (and I do that a lot). However, I tend to reuse them if not damaged and will never need more than the 200 I've already collected. I would also like to know if anyone else has a use for these. I feel like I'm killing baby seals or something when I throw all of them in the trash on a regular basis.
 

Marko50

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Wait until you try to unwrap the parts that Penn State encloses in bubble wrap. You'll wish you had the plastic bags back.
...Ditto to what Larry said! That IS the manufactures solution. Be careful what you wish for ;)
 

Curly

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Little paper envelopes would be better than any plastic. They’ll cost a few cents a pen more but the costs will be passed on to us and after all the levels of profit those pen kits will cost us double. ;)
 

randyrls

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I sometimes use them for small screws and such. The pen packages are much more useful.

I thought about posting that if the police come to my house and notice all those baggies, the next in the door will be a drug sniffing dog.... But I won't :):)
 
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I take mine to the local knitting group, they put spare buttons in them and attach the baggie to the sweater, etc. I'm sure I've given them a lifetime of baggies, but they don't turn them down.
 
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I take mine to the local knitting group, they put spare buttons in them and attach the baggie to the sweater, etc. I'm sure I've given them a lifetime of baggies, but they don't turn them down.
Like Jeff, I give mine to the tool store I do business with. They appreciate getting them and use them for small parts they sell. The really small ones I tear open and put them in a large plastic bag like you get when you order multiples of the same item (10 coffee scoops come in one large bag). Since I don't have garbage service where I live I take my garbage to the transfer station weekly and they have recycling bins for plastic. When I get a bunch of the torn off bags and have them in the larger bags I just throw in the recycling bin.
 

philipff

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Williamsburg, VA
Al the above are great comments! I just wish that we could be more aware of the environmental impact of all this plastic, as so many of you point out. And, my only wish is that the one thing that is never in a bag or wrapper, is the SPRING! I lose lots of those in my crowded work-space and depend on the local banks to provide the "lost springs". I just hope they don't find out and shut me off from their pens!! P.
 

hilltopper46

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East Troy, Wisconsin, USA.
I don't unzip the small parts bags any more - I snap them apart - it's so much quicker and the parts come out more easily. It has to be a snap - a slow pull allows the plastic to s-t-r-e-t-c-h, but a quick pull will usually snap the bag about 1/2 way down its length.
 

jttheclockman

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If they were not in plastic bags you would be on here complaining about how all the parts are marred up do to banging together. I have been pen turning now for about 15 years and this complaint has been posted here since then. Ever stop and think about the other end of the operation. The chinese people stuffing those little bags. Many good suggestions as to recycling them here for sure. I bet most people throw away more recyclable stuff in trash than those little bags. If you do alot of kits and you do not reuse the bags then razor knife them open for easier use and have a container ( larger plastic bag) to stash them and put out with recyles when time comes. Problem solved.
 

pnemox

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About 15 years ago, they invented a biodegradable "plastic" using corn/vegetable matter.
Funny that you mention the biodegradable plastic. My wife is a microbiologist and worked on a research project with a professor to see if they actually biodegrade in a natural environment when exposed to soil, air, sunlight and microbes. They tested around 20 biodegradable plastics from consumer products such as straws and drink containers. If I recall correctly, the times ranged from 1 month to 2 years. Still better than a lifetime and hopefully manufacturers will move in this direction.

If they were not in plastic bags you would be on here complaining about how all the parts are marred up do to banging together. I have been pen turning now for about 15 years and this complaint has been posted here since then. Ever stop and think about the other end of the operation. The chinese people stuffing those little bags. Many good suggestions as to recycling them here for sure. I bet most people throw away more recyclable stuff in trash than those little bags. If you do alot of kits and you do not reuse the bags then razor knife them open for easier use and have a container ( larger plastic bag) to stash them and put out with recyles when time comes. Problem solved.
You're right John. I would be pretty upset to see my parts scratched and that could happen if they rubbed against each other. It makes sense that they packaged it this way. For now I'll do my part to recycle or find people who can reuse them (other than the local street corner dealers)
 

jttheclockman

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Put them in a big plastic bag and send them back to sender. Or send them to china where they can reuse them. Or send them to trump he can build his wall from them. I have a million ideas. :)
 

TonyL

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Funny that you mention the biodegradable plastic. My wife is a microbiologist and worked on a research project with a professor to see if they actually biodegrade in a natural environment when exposed to soil, air, sunlight and microbes. They tested around 20 biodegradable plastics from consumer products such as straws and drink containers. If I recall correctly, the times ranged from 1 month to 2 years. Still better than a lifetime and hopefully manufacturers will move in this direction.



You're right John. I would be pretty upset to see my parts scratched and that could happen if they rubbed against each other. It makes sense that they packaged it this way. For now I'll do my part to recycle or find people who can reuse them (other than the local street corner dealers)
I just looked this up - better, but not perfect. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/environmental-impact-of-corn-based-plastics/
 
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jttheclockman

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Interesting article. I found it very interesting to see China as one of the leaders in using this type of plastic. All the talking heads in the U.S. news seem to indicate that China doesn't do anything that is environmentally sound.
What is the plants that make those putting out in the air over there.??
 
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