Friday, March 15, 2013

Green Product Review

-- Product Review-- 

When Sean Harris connected with me about reviewing his Handi Hanger product (, I was immediately intrigued by it. As our readers are already aware, I am passionate about steps to zero waste and reuse is a huge part of this.  The Handi Hanger arrived only 19 days after communicating with Sean about this project in a small, protected envelope. I loved that there was hardly any packaging associated with the shipping, and what little there was, could be recycled. Similarly the product itself utilizes minimum packaging - a thin cardboard backing with a small amount of shrink plastic holding it in place. Thankfully both these are recyclable as well.

The Original HandiHanger is an earth friendly, money saving device that allows us to recycle plastic shopping bags.  Depending on how the product is used this can also mean we can save on wasting money spent on new garbage bags.  The package includes 2 hangers (Left and Right) and 4 mounting screws, with detailed and easy to follow instructions.   The mechanism is light enough to be mounted virtually anywhere - in a shed, RV or boat, inside a closet, under a sink, inside a bathroom cupboard, on doors or walls, and in carports… where ever the need arises. There are dozens of things one can put in old shopping bags – everything from garbage to rags and laundry (such as in the case of the boat or RV especially). You can also choose to use cloth or canvas reusable bags on the Handi Hanger instead of old shopping bags. 

Like many of our readers, we take reusable bags when we go shopping as much as possible but no matter how diligent we are we still end up with a few plastic shopping bags making their way into the home. Prior we started taking reusable cloth and canvas bags on shopping trips, however, we were easily bringing in and storing 10-20 plastic bags every single week. I love reusing them for everything from garden produce to sharing items with friends and family, to store rags in, delivering donations (books to literacy centers, for instance), dropping off clean bags for thrift stores and food banks to reuse, and around the home for garbage bin liners – especially in the bathroom and laundry rooms. But this mechanism makes it so much easier to reuse the plastic bags in numerous other ways – the limit is really our own imagination.

Recycling plastic bags is very important, keeping them out of the landfill and out of water ways where they can cause all kinds of havoc in the form of harming wildlife, perpetuating mosquito populations and harboring viruses and diseases. Plastic bags do take up to 500 years to break down even a little bit. So why not save some money by reusing the free bags you get from the grocery or retail stores? It is a great way to reduce your consumption of new bags, while reducing how many bags are thrust on the recycling system or worse, sent to the landfill.

The Handi Hanger seems to be very strong, and will reportedly hold quite a bit of weight, up to 15 pounds easily. Originally invented by Sean’s grandfather who introduced it into the marketplace in the early 1990’s, Sean – who sees the incredible environmental potential – has embraced the family invention, but is taking it to a new level. While presently made in Taiwan, he is currently exploring US-based manufactures that are able to utilize recycled plastics in the creation of the product.

Be sure to take a look at the Recycling page on the Handi Hanger website ( where you can find a list of several resources offering stats on plastic bag consumption, reuse ideas, and recycling news.

If you don’t already have a plastic bag storage container you can find patterns for making one out of cloth online, or here’s a real easy one for you to try: Cut the bottom and top off a 2 liter pop bottle and cut 2 small holes above and below center on one side with a slit going up a ¼ inch or so straight up from each hole. Measure and attach two screws with heads matching the size of the holes to a cupboard door or inside a closet. Slip the pop bottle holes over the screw heads and push down slightly to secure in place.  A couple tips here: hang the bottle bottom side up so the wide end is where you insert the plastic bags, and be sure the cut edges are filed down to eliminate sharp points that could tear a bag. Simply pull a bag out from the bottom of the bag holder whenever you want. This small bag holder should be able to store 20-35 bags and takes up hardly any room.


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