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Indigowolf13

Why all the plastic bags??

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We have been noticing that a lot of geocaches near us have a lot of plastic bags in them. Not "here's a bag for picking up trash". Rather every item in the cache is in a seperate plastic baggi. I understand it if the item is electronic or paper based, but most of them are plastic items. We even found a golf ball in a baggie!! Does anyone know why someone would do this? It just seems to be a waste of plastic bags and not very environmentally friendly.

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Guessing you're talking about little zip-top baggies...

Since we don't know whether the container is even weather resistant until we get there, we put our quality swag in baggies.

We've had people email to say everything in a cache was damp except ours, so we're doing something right...

They also keep items dry in our packs/bags if we get caught in the rain. 

We use larger freezer bags to create modular packets of items needed too. 

 - We can switch them out for others we may need, based on weather and terrain.

 

We've kept "grocery" bags in film cans since we started. 

All say CITO on them, and if we're in an area that can use it, may drop a couple in the container too.

If folks really want to be environmentally friendly, I'd suggest using one once in a while.  We're not seeing that so much in your state. 

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I agree it's waste to put everything in plastic bags. I do though put some of my logs in a plastic bag. I do have a really protected cache where I wouldn't dream to do this, but for some of the others, but not all, I do. I rarely put my trinkets in plastic bags, and if I did they are likely to be reused bags. When I donate trinkets to other caches, I only place them in dry caches. If the cache has a damp problem I don't put trinkets in them; but I would then write in my log the cache is damp and needs a CO visit. If it's beyond just damp I would likely write a NM.

That matches my normal life though, as I have so rarely taken plastic bags in say supermarkets, it could be considered never taken bags for the last 30 years or so. I haven't bought plastic wrap and similar for about the same time. I reuse plastic bags over and over. Etc.

I do feel guilt using a plastic bag in my caches too, but in some I know it might end up being the only way to protect the log. I consider though, does that log in that cache actually need a plastic bag? It's not done routinely, but by a case by case basis, and then often it's a reused bag that might have gone to waste anyway. Plastic containers also worry me, as except for geocaching, I haven't bought any of those for over about 30 years either for household use.

Except for geocaching, I avoid plastic as much as possible, so geocaching does give me some conscious issues. Hard to know what  alternatives there are. I have seen glass jars with metal lids used, but the medal can rust; has rusted, so that I have struggled to get the lid off. One CO had camouflaged the glass jar so that I couldn't recognise it was glass, and it's a miracle I didn't smash it while attempting to knock off the rusted on lid. This was a remote cache (Stewart Island, south of NZ) that wasn't visited very often, and the lid had time between finds to rust on. I have seen metal containers used in the NT in Australia, which is a good choice for there, as away from the coast it's a dry climate, and the metal tins are also for protection from frequent bush fires. If one of those are abandoned, eventually, even if it takes many years, the tin will rust away and not cause micro plastic breakdown as plastic containers do. As much as I dislike, leaky mintie tins, they too rust away, so perhaps in the right place, I can grudgingly :anibad:agree they are okay.  (As long are you don't rate them as small sized :laughing:.)

Putting every item in a plastic bag does seen excessive to me.

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19 hours ago, Indigowolf13 said:

It just seems to be a waste of plastic bags and not very environmentally friendly.

 

A waste for sure. But I'll need to see your scientific credentials for the other part.

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9 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

 I agree it's waste to put everything in plastic bags. 

 - snip -

When I donate trinkets to other caches, I only place them in dry caches.

If the cache has a damp problem I don't put trinkets in them; but I would then write in my log the cache is damp and needs a CO visit.

If it's beyond just damp I would likely write a NM.

 

So you're saying you only put swag in caches that are dry when you're there.    Well, that's what we do too.  :)

 - But how do you know that cache will remain dry, never having issues afterwards ?    

The OP is in my state,  with an average humidity of 69+.   Many states are worse, and mold grows best above 55...

I'd like to think our items might be the ones grabbed, if no one else is protecting them at all.

This is a family-friendly hobby, and we see most items are meant for kids.

If you have a choice between a clean, spotless item in a baggie, and the same that's been laying at the bottom of the container, with bits of grass, shells, or whatever for your kid to pick,  which would you choose ?  

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9 hours ago, cerberus1 said:

 

So you're saying you only put swag in caches that are dry when you're there.    Well, that's what we do too.  :)

 - But how do you know that cache will remain dry, never having issues afterwards ?    

The OP is in my state,  with an average humidity of 69+.   Many states are worse, and mold grows best above 55...

I'd like to think our items might be the ones grabbed, if no one else is protecting them at all.

This is a family-friendly hobby, and we see most items are meant for kids.

If you have a choice between a clean, spotless item in a baggie, and the same that's been laying at the bottom of the container, with bits of grass, shells, or whatever for your kid to pick,  which would you choose ?  

It's very easy to pick, nice clean, maintained dry caches, and it's easy to see if they have had a wet problem in the past, because they will show signs of mould. Those I avoid because they will get wet again. I usually write in my log for those, "Log and cache are dry at present, but there are signs the cache has been wet in the past." to let the CO know. There are enough caches in very good condition for me to leave my trinkets in. Most trinkets I am leaving at present are jewellery, so not just for children.

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From the last few caches I have put together:

 

  • collectible uncirculated coin, so it won't get scratched
  • scrapbooking-type sticker, so the backing won't peel
  • wristband, so it won't get dirty
  • marbles, to give away a set
  • fridge magnet, to prevent tarnishing and/or inhibit sticking to other items

 

The last is rationalizing, I know. So besides paper, I might consider plastic bags for metal or textile items. I also put dog or cat toys in bags because of the ick factor--I want the pet owner to know I didn't find it in the woods somewhere.

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I sometimes leave uncirculated geocoins in caches I liked, or as an incentive to get folks off their cans and walk a bit.   :)

Though they are already in their coin sleeves with activation code, I put them in baggies that fit saying they're uncirculated, and meant as swag.

We have little heavy -duty baggies from single coin, to 4x6, and larger goes in half-gallon or gallon freezer bags.

Real tiny items (for micros and "smalls") go in a bag that fits, showing it isn't part of something left, but the actual trade item.

From the day after Thanksgiving, to Christmas day, if we find an actual regular/large cache,  we place a well-known company's ornaments in caches with their boxes, safely protected in freezer bags.

Break-your-own-geodes, balsa planes, ocarina flutes,  train whistles, real bug keychains, you name it, usually come in their own packaging, but placing them in a baggie that fits  helps to keep it safe and weather resistant.

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On 5/3/2020 at 5:32 PM, cerberus1 said:

We've kept "grocery" bags in film cans since we started. 

All say CITO on them, and if we're in an area that can use it, may drop a couple in the container too.

If folks really want to be environmentally friendly, I'd suggest using one once in a while.  We're not seeing that so much in your state. 

 

This is a fantastic idea!  I think we will start doing this as well. 

I carry bags for us to CITO, especially out on trails and in parks, but I had never thought to leave them in the cache to encourage others to do the same.

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