As the name suggests, specialist bags are used for special-purpose applications. Specialist bags include film-front bags, high-density food bags, vacuum pouch bags, net bags, poly gloves, tenax sleeving and many more.
Understand specialist bags' material, unique properties and typical use
- Film-front bags: Film-front bags have a clear polypropylene front and a usual white craft paper back, but grease resistant paper is also used. These bags are safe for food and textiles and do not collect dust. It is also called as 'window bags'. Ideal for bakers, artists and delicatessens.
- High-density food bags: High density food bags are manufactured from food approved high density polythene. White counter bags and Clear counter sheets are most popular sizes and they are usually packed in dispenser packs. Ideal for wrapping or storing foods at shop counter.
- Vacuum pouch bags: Vacuum bags are manufactured from a combination of polythene and nylon which gives them a very high moisture barrier and so are ideal for storing cooked fish and meat, ready meals and medical products.
- Net bags: Net bags are made from knitted plastic and have a drawstring closure. Net bags are used by farmers, gardeners and foresters.
- Poly gloves: Poly gloves keep your hands clean and free of dirt. Poly gloves are the ideal gloves for light handling in bakery, carry-out and deli operations. With poly gloves, it is easy and affordable to change gloves after each customer! It is normally embossed for easy grip and come in handy dispenser pack.
- Tenax sleeving: Tenax sleeving are manufactured from low density polyethylene in extruded tubular form. Tenax sleeving has considerable stretch and so hugs around irregular shaped items protecting them from knocks and scratches. It provides a practical, efficient and cost-effective solution to the problems of surface damage to components during manufacture, storage and transit.
Major UK suppliers:
Standards for 'Specialist bags' to use for food contact and medical application
Food Contact - To use 'Specialist bags' inside European Union, in contact with food should comply with the relevant legislation on food contact including Great Britain.
- Great Britain: Statutory Instrument, 1998 No. 1376 and BPF-BIBRA (1995), Polymer Specification 4, Polyethylene
- EU: Commission Directive 90/128/EEC, 92/39/EEC, 93/9/EEC, 95/3/EEC and 96/11/EC, Section A.
- Example of a company comply with food contact: Polybags Limited
Medical use - Similarly, to use 'Specialist bags' inside European Union, to produce containers for preparations for medico-pharmaceutical purposes should comply with the following regulation:
- European Pharmacopoeia - Monograph 3.1.3 'Polyolefins' for medico-pharmaceutical purposes.
- The final responsibility for the decision of whether a material is fit for a particular application lies with the pharmaceutical firm.
- Example of a company comply with medical use: Polybags Limited
Buy common specialist bags
Unusual uses - find out what to do with sll those net produce bags...
Readers write: more ideas and tips for plastic net produce bags
Surely you don't just throw out those plastic mesh bags?
If you shop for fresh produce at all, you probably have on hand more than one of those plastic mesh bags, with or without produce in them. Rather than throwing them out, why not substitute them for other things you need (and that you pay good money for!)?
Some of them are rather stiff, just like the plastic scrub pads that you buy for dishes. The most common and frugal way of using mesh bags for that purpose is to wad them up and/or sew them into a more or less round shape. However, if you tie a few into one length then loosely crochet or knit them into a square, they'll last longer and work better. AMD they're easier to hold on to when scrubbing.
If you're not really concerned about making them last - as in you have an abundance - here are some other ways to use them in place of 'bought' merchandise:
- Hang tub toys in a plastic mesh bag when bath time is over.
- The toys drip dry and are in one place for next time.
- Use them for the wading or swimming pool, too - and not just for kids. Keep sunscreen, combs and other needed things in one. Lace a length of string or yarn a couple of inches from the top to use as a drawstring.
- If the shelves in your shower stay too wet and make the bar soap melt, put it in a net produce bag and hang it over the shower head or faucet. It will dry out between showers and last longer.
- Use them to hang onions or apples for storage.
- Yet another idea: Use them to hold small items in the washing machine to keep them from getting lost. (Not too small though, as the holes expand. Also, don't use them in hot water.)
- The soft ones are fun for the older kids to wear over their heads and faces as "masks".
- Use them for bags to sort and group small food packages in the freezer.
- Bend a wire hangar into a circle (keep the top hook), then cut mesh bags into uniform length and tie closely together all around the wire circle. Makes an interesting and easy to decorate wreath. Since mesh bags come in different colours, you can make wreaths for different seasons.
- Make funky bows from them for gifts.
- Open both ends and put a piece of elastic through it, pulling up and tying the ends of the elastic together - you have a scrunchy.
- Put bar soap in one and hang from your outside faucet for quick after garden or other messy job (or play) clean-ups. You don't have to take it out of the bag to use it.
- Use the small net bags to scrub raw veggies. Just wad them up in your hand and they are ready to use.
Just like plastic bags and cardboard, net produce bags can be thought of as raw material for any number of uses. Do you have a use not listed here? Submit it!
And don't throw out that net bag. More tips and ideas sent in by the readers are on the next page. There are plenty of uses for plastic net produce bags, as evidenced by the tips the readers of Frugal Living are still sending in.
- Make winter bird feeders out of them. I mix birdseed with peanut butter, melted shortening and a fistful of cornmeal. Stir it together to form a stiff dough and tie up a ball of it in a net bag. You can hang this from tree limbs so slender a squirrel can't get out on it.
- Thread a stick through each side and let plants climb them.
- I am into sea fishing and use the net bags to take ground bait. I can prepare it before hand then freeze it. I attach it to my line in the area of the weight.
- Cut one crosswise into 1-inch strips to tie tomato plants to a up. It is strong enough to hold the plant without bruising it.
- Scrunch two or three together (or push two of them inside a third one), and use to clean your windshield of "avian deposits" and baked-on bugs.
- Roll them up as you would roll up the cuff of a shirt, to make mesh fruit and vegetables for decoration. Starting with the open end will give your fruit or veggie a little stem at the end, starting with the knotted end will give you a more rounded finish.
- Use just one colour e.g. yellow mesh bags, to make a tray of lemons, or use as many colours available for an assortment of fruit and vegetables. Green mesh can be stitched with matching thread or hot glue to look like a little leaf. Gently squeeze the bottom end of the mesh fruit or vegetable to give it shape.
- Use them as beautiful lacy bows for gifts. Just shape bow from mesh bag then spray paint with gold paint. Beautiful.
- Use them to store bulbs (tulips, dahlias etc). Hang then in the garage until ready to plant - they stay dry, aerated and bug free.
- The small mesh bags can be cut open on both ends and slipped over a skein of yarn to make a "yarn bra". The yarn stays together better (a pet can't mess it up so badly) and the slight resistance stops a lot of little tangles as you pull out the yarn to use. You'll never have to purchase the same thing in fancy packaging.
- I use net bags when I go to the beach. They're great for collecting shells because they expand so well. They're also good for small toys for playing in the sand, because they're easy to rinse and drain.
- I am a big gardener and my boys are keen rugby players, so at the end of our activities we usually are covered in mud (or muck!) If you use a brush to try and get it off your hands and skin it can be painful. Use a net which holds vegetables, crunch it into a ball, put a little hand soap on it and wash your hands with the net in between. You will find it is very soft but very effective.
- I use them to scrub vegetables with. This way you do not damage the vegetable skin but you get rid of the grime.
- I solved a dishwasher problem by using net produce bags. The inserts to my twin grandsons sippy cups sometimes get nasty, especially with chocolate milk. They are too small for the shelves and I didn't want them melted in the silverware basket. I put them inside a net bag and twist it closed. Hook it over one of the posts on the top shelf and put the end of another dish on the mesh to hold it in place. It also works in the silverware basket to keep the skinny items from falling through.
- To encourage your child to put dirty socks in the laundry hamper or paper in the trash, you can make it fun. Rather than buying one of those laundry basketball hoops, make it with a net produce bag. Cut out a 2-3" ring from the middle of a large round oatmeal box. Take a large net bag like oranges come in and cut the end off. Open the bag and duct tape the cut end onto and around the outside of the ring using small pieces of duct tape first, in order to centre it, then wrap it with one large piece. You can then duct tape the ring to a foam-board, poster or cardboard and attach the poster board to a wall just over the laundry hamper or trash basket. Dirty socks, etc. can be tossed into the hoop over the proper container. (People actually pay for these "toys"!)
- They make great clothes pin bags. They weather well and last a long time. If the bag doesn't already have a string for hanging, one can easily be threaded through the netting.
- Use mesh bags to dry flowers or herbs. I tie one end of the the mesh bag around the bottom of a group of stems, and the top end to a hanger, and then hang them upside down in a cool, dry area. Unlike string, the mesh material won't cut into the stems. It's also flexible and strong.
- I use net produce bags as gift bags for small gifts for holidays such as Easter or Valentine's Day. You can put small stuff in them such as plastic eggs or small soaps and candies. Just tie with ribbon and you have saved the cost of a gift bag.
If you have a new idea or one that isn't on our list on this page or the preceding page, submit it and I'll add it to the list so we can all use it.Source: Frugal Living