Why do Mainers collect plastic grocery bags? Why not? You can use them for all sorts of stuff. So with several southern Maine communities approving bans on single-use plastic bags, we decided to ask an important question: what are the most popular uses for plastic shopping bags?

Saco last week became the latest community to approve a ban on plastic grocery bags. Bag bans have previously been approved in York, Freeport, Kennebunk and Brunswick. Critics of the bags say they're not biodegradable and create litter.

Of course, the ban has many opponents because, again, plastic shopping bags have a ton of uses.

Here are some of the most common examples of what folks do with plastic bags when they bring them home.

  • mrcmos, Thinkstock
    mrcmos, Thinkstock

    Trash bag for your bathroom trash can

    Why spend money on a tiny bag for the trash can in your bathroom when the grocery store gives them away for free? Here's an idea: stores should start using king-size bags. That way you wouldn't have to pay for trash bags for your kitchen, either.

  • tum07007500, Thinkstock
    tum07007500, Thinkstock

    Cleaning your cat's litter box

    There's something unsettling about tossing cat poop straight into the trash can. What if the trash bag rips? What if you drop your keys in the trash can? Placing the contents of the litter box in a separate bag provides added security.

  • xfotostudio, Thinkstock
    xfotostudio, Thinkstock

    Bringing lunch to work

    He-Man lunch box: classic. Grocery store bag: free. The only problem, at least where I work, is everyone else is doing it. Sometimes I open the freezer at work, and I can't tell which bag has my Hot Pockets inside.

  • dog waste bag
    dog waste bag

    Dog waste bag

    There's a recurring theme here: people like free stuff. And not all parks offer free dog waste bags, e.g., Bangor Dog Park on Watchmaker Street. Think about it: you're picking up dog-doo and chucking it in the trash, nothing special required.

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