Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How I Shop Without NEW Plastic Bags !

I don’t have to use a plastic bag to shop at the Coop...in fact I REuse plastic bags I’ve already been using, many times. Even in the bulk aisle, those muslin bags - you know, the beige flags which are hanging up near the mangoes and the bananas, near the bulk aisle and other places in the store. They move around with the air currents, looking like they are there for a purpose, and yes they are. I discovered that these little to large bags can hold flour (they’re not mesh but a very tight weave cotton), and most every other bulk item. I use a twist tie or bring rubber bands and put the stock number yellow sticker on the tag of the bag itself. Easy !

I put my carrots into these great muslin bags. Even the beets. The muslin bags are washable. The greens are big, so those go in my REused plastic bags until they tear. Wow - it takes a really long time to make those bags UNusable. Sometimes I’ll put all my greens into one reused plastic bag or better yet, a recyclable shoulder bag, then just take one or two out for the ultimate weighing.

I learned how to make those produce plastic bags (that I used to take off the roll) into a very small triangle. I do that with really any plastic bag I’m reusing. See this really short video on about folding plastic bags for re-use so that they fit in my pocket.

Sometimes I’ll put all of my root vegetables into one recyclable shoulder bag that I’m still using from years ago. (They’re all rolled up, usually into a little bag attached to itself, in endcaps near the bulk aisle. Some of them have a snap for really efficient pocket-storage! ) One bag is easy, because the check out person weighs one veggie at a time anyway, so I can take out the carrots, and leave the turnips in the bag. The bag is weightless, so I’m not overpaying.

I use another shopping bag for this purpose or for an entire small shopping trip for, say, my apples, pears and oranges. Again, it’s so easy to take out and weigh one thing, and if there’s a lot of pears, well, they just get weighed in the bag.

I use the small muslin bags for the cherry tomatoes, or a larger one for potatoes. All weighed or presented for the checkout person in their own bag.

I’ve heard of people making bags for shopping out of fabric or even old clothes. I want to try that sometime. It sounds easy.


My bread purchases are in a mesh bag I use for shopping - you know - a very Continental look (!), and there’s always the plastic bags I wash and reuse to bring home my chicken and meat, so there’s no dripping.

In fact, I haven’t had to use a bag from those rolls at the Coop for, well, I can’t remember the last time I pulled one off the roll. Not only is it possible, but I want to do my part in not perpetuating new plastic bag production and use.

That’s how I do it.

image of t-shirt bag courtesy of Martha Stewart

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