Scientists may be working on things like increasing the efficiency of solar cells, finding new methods of filtering water and growing hardier strains of wheat, but they have been woefully neglecting one important task for decades ... creating a better way of closing plastic bags. Currently, options include twist ties, spring-loaded clips, plastic tabs and zip-lock bags. The first three of those aren’t particularly sturdy, while it’s often difficult to get zip-locks to seal properly. Perhaps, however, all of us frustrated plastic-baggers might have better luck with the recently-released Pull Ties.

As with many inventors, Pull Ties creator Brian Fried came up with the idea through his own personal experience. “It was late one night and I opened the fridge and pulled out the bag of bagels that were wide open and stale,” he recalled. “Then I went to grab a piece of bread from the loaf and I was twisting and turning the twist tie and got annoyed. I went up to my bedroom and found one of those drawer locks for babies and thought if I could make that out of a flexible material ... I took the idea of the button release from the drawstring on a pair of sweatpants and figured it could be the part that slides up and down the track. Made a drawing of what I wanted, spoke to my product designer to make up a 2D drawing and discussed with my factory how the slider would stop and stay in place on track without sliding. And it worked.”

Each Pull Tie is essentially a long narrow semi-rigid plastic loop, with both sides running through the described sweat pants-style slider. Users pull the top of a plastic bag through that loop, move the slider down until it cinches up tight against the bag, then lock it in place by releasing its button. Each tie also has a ring at the top, both for holding onto it while tightening, and for carrying the bag once it’s on – they are said to be able to carry up to 15 pounds (6.8 kg) without slipping off.

Pull Ties are dishwasher- and freezer-safe, and available through the company website. They cost US$13 for a package of ten.