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Priscilla

Toward a Reduction in Plastic Bag Blight:

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I carry a couple of lightweight canvas bags in my purse at all times - they fold flat and take up very little room, and this way I always have a bag on hand in case I run an unexpected errand. I don't have a vehicle, so there's no chance of forgetting them in the car. :wink:

I used to feel silly pulling one out at Dean & Deluca (or wherever else - I try to use them for all kinds of shopping, not just food shopping), but in the last year or so, I've stopped getting weird looks and started getting a lot of "Oh, that's so great"s, which makes me feel really good about myself. Added bonus. Ego-stoking can be really nice on a Saturday morning.

ETA:

Now I need a replacement for my plastic grocery bags. I'm contemplating a basket - anyone use one? They are so cute, just not sure if they are more/less practical than a reusable bag (there are just two of us so we don't have huge grocery trips)

LOVE this basket - it can go over your shoulder or attach to your bike.


"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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I just picked up two a couple weeks ago at the Wegmans, and they really do hold vastly more than the plastic bags, and the handles are more comfortable to boot. I went from needing maybe 10 plastic bags on an average trip to filling just the two re-usable bags. Now I just need to come up with a solution for produce. At Wegmans you weigh stuff and print out labels yourself, so it needs to be something I can stick a label on, and then peel off easily later. What do you all do?

Yes, another bonus, especially for the car-less - tote bags are so much more comfortable to carry than grocery bags, and I love being able to put my groceries over my shoulder. Makes lugging things up to my third-floor walk-up much easier.

I've started saving most of my produce bags and re-using them - taking them with me to the store or Greenmarket when I know I'm going. Though I don't have to self-weigh or stick anything on them, so there's no chance of confusion.


"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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It's about a foot long now, and is the final resting place of too many bags to count. It's amazingly tough -- when the Big One happens, all that will be left on earth are cockroaches and this strip of crochet.

(I got new "yarn" today. Someone, not I, forgot to put the fabric bags in his car.)

gallery_6375_3224_281269.jpeg

Maggie - you seem to have put a lot of bags into this one. I just have a question: are you splitting the bags into strips or just crocheting them in one piece? That seems like it would be thick. I'm thinking of starting one myself, so I'm curious. :smile:


"Life is a combination of magic and pasta." - Frederico Fellini

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I'm not Maggie, but her posts inspired me to start a similar project. I've been cutting the bags into a continuous spiral about 1" wide, and am using a steel K hook.


Edited by baroness (log)

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Since this thread started I have completely and almost eliminated plastic grocery bag usage from our lives! honestly thank you!!! my husband and I have both really worked at taking the cloth bags with us and not accepting plastic or paper bags from the stores ..once in a while it can not be helped ..it is amazing how good this little act feels ....especially when I see them in the trees ..in the Puget Sound and on the side of the road ...so sad!!!

with all the bags I had saved to recycle (it was a horrific amt I tell you) ..I have crocheted away....(if you go upthread there is a make your own bag link I use that method to make a ball of plastic yarn) ..I cut them up my husband loops and balls them for me and I crocheted them into a mat for our dirty shoes ..when I figure out how to make it not look so crappy (the edges are off and I dont crochet as neatly as Maggie!) I will take a picture ..it used up a TON of bags ..feels sturdy ..supposidly you can wash these things too ....

I used all the left over trimmings to restuff my dogs bed and she seems very content!

I may try a bag next.... my friends think I have lost my mind btw and are giving me bags now to keep me safely contained


Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)
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why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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When I go into the supermarket, no matter how much (or how little) is on my list, I bring all my bags in with me. And the bagger always manages to make use of all my bags, no matter how much (or how little) I purchase.

Has anyone else noticed this phenomenon? The bags are quite robust, yet sometimes I wind up with a two-pound bag of cat food in one, a bag of flour in another, and a carton of milk in a third rather than all three items going in the same bag.

MelissaH


MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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When I go into the supermarket, no matter how much (or how little) is on my list, I bring all my bags in with me. And the bagger always manages to make use of all my bags, no matter how much (or how little) I purchase.

Has anyone else noticed this phenomenon? The bags are quite robust, yet sometimes I wind up with a two-pound bag of cat food in one, a bag of flour in another, and a carton of milk in a third rather than all three items going in the same bag.

MelissaH

i have the opposite problem. those bags hold a lot, and if i don't watch, or do it myself, i end up with 50 lbs of stuff in one bag. yeah, it can hold it, but i can't easily carry it. i think there is definitely a learning curve to the bagging procedure, as there are so many shapes and sizes.


"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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I just picked up a Chico Bag at whole foods for $5.

http://store.chicobag.com/

I like the size ... folds up into its own pouch, about the size of an egg. Weighs practically nothing and can be a permanent fixture in a backpack, shoulder bag, purse, or whatever you carry around (unlike those big, horsey canvas bags).


Notes from the underbelly

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great topic=--and complicated, as all attempts to live lightly on the earth are.

I do take the plastic bags sometimes--I use them to line my soap molds for my soap business, and also to cover and wrap all kinds of household things.

I kind of deplore the buying of specific tote bags--aren't there enough give away and souvenir totes for everyone without buying special ones? I have a half dozen--and i bet anyone who works for a corporation has 2 dozen of them--my local thrift always has a stack of them.

I'd prefer people to use bags already in existence--ugly or not--to buying new and specialized bags.

Z


Edited by zoe b (log)

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Maggie - you seem to have put a lot of bags into this one. I just have a question: are you splitting the bags into strips or just crocheting them in one piece? That seems like it would be thick. I'm thinking of starting one myself, so I'm curious.  :smile:

Here's the method, which was described in the link uptopic: Cut the handles and the bottom seam from each bag, roll the bag from side to side, then cut into 1 1/2 inch "tubes." Loop and knot them end to end to form the 2 ply "yarn." Yes, it's thick. I'm using an 8 mm. plastic hook.

It's a fun project.


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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There has been a lot of talk here in Australia about banning the plastic bag. Unfortunately we don't even get the option of paper bags here. However, in the last few years we have had "green" bags available and I use them most of the time. They can fit a lot in and because I live in the city, they generally can fit my smaller load of shopping for a good few days.

However, after much discussion, they have decided not to ban them, but charge 10-15 cents per plastic bag to consumers in the hope that it will force consumers to bring their own bags...I'm not too sure and would much rather had seen a complete ban...small steps though I guess.

http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2008/s2220247.htm


Melbourne, Australia

'One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.' ~Virginia Woolf

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Really, if I had considered this simple fact I would have switched to reusable bags eons ago. I just picked up two a couple weeks ago at the Wegmans, and they really do hold vastly more than the plastic bags, and the handles are more comfortable to boot. I went from needing maybe 10 plastic bags on an average trip to filling just the two re-usable bags. Now I just need to come up with a solution for produce. At Wegmans you weigh stuff and print out labels yourself, so it needs to be something I can stick a label on, and then peel off easily later. What do you all do?

Chris - Have you thought of contacting Wegmans about this? They are very responsive to customer requests/inquiries and it might be interesting to see how they reply. I liked how their system of letting you weigh/price your produce in advance sped up the checkout line. On the other hand, if I only needed one of something, it seemed like a waste to bag it just to have a place to put the price sticker. If you bring the items to the checkout without a price, the cashier will weigh it for you. The downside to that is they don't always recognize the produce and have to look it up or ask you what it is!


KathyM

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Really, if I had considered this simple fact I would have switched to reusable bags eons ago. I just picked up two a couple weeks ago at the Wegmans, and they really do hold vastly more than the plastic bags, and the handles are more comfortable to boot. I went from needing maybe 10 plastic bags on an average trip to filling just the two re-usable bags. Now I just need to come up with a solution for produce. At Wegmans you weigh stuff and print out labels yourself, so it needs to be something I can stick a label on, and then peel off easily later. What do you all do?

Chris - Have you thought of contacting Wegmans about this? They are very responsive to customer requests/inquiries and it might be interesting to see how they reply. I liked how their system of letting you weigh/price your produce in advance sped up the checkout line. On the other hand, if I only needed one of something, it seemed like a waste to bag it just to have a place to put the price sticker. If you bring the items to the checkout without a price, the cashier will weigh it for you. The downside to that is they don't always recognize the produce and have to look it up or ask you what it is!

I've been known to put the sticker directly on my ginger, or apple, or canteloupe. (It doesn't work so well for lettuce, though.) However, I find that I still need a few plastic bags around, because when I cook, I use a garbage bag. If there's anything wet or drippy, I like having the "secondary containment" when it goes into the kitchen trash.

MelissaH


MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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Reduction is a perfectly fine goal, by itself.

Every single bag that is used more than once works to mitigates blight.


Priscilla

Writer, cook, & c. ● #TacoFriday observant ●  Twitter    Instagram

 

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Great thread. I keep mine in the back seat and do remember most of the time. Like anything, it took a few weeks for this new habit. My Trader Joe's has raffle tickets when you bring your bags, and that small incentive helped a lot. I'm having a hard time getting my husband to re-use, but hopefully in time he will. Also, I've now been taking store shopping bags when I go to the mall, clothes shopping, etc.

Here is another great idea of what to do with extra plastic bags: Etsy Labs fusing bag tutorial. The "fabric" can be sewn into different things, especially shopping bag totes.

I have been meaning to do this for a year :wacko:!

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You can even buy reusable market bags on Etsy made from plastic grocery bags. I wish I knew how to knit.

Genius!


...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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You can even buy reusable market bags on Etsy made from plastic grocery bags.  I wish I knew how to knit.

Genius!

Pssst...viva...check out the first page of this discussion. Maggie's giving the "knitting" a go and posting the results.

edited because crocheting isn't quite the same thing as knitting. :wink:


Edited by Toliver (log)

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

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Tim Oliver

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I know. But I don't know how to knit! So I thought others in my particular boat of non-knitting-ability might be interested in a fun replacement for disposable bags along a similar vein.

Anyway, there's another type of plastic bag blight, which is the plastic sandwich bag - I saw these posted on the Serious Eats blog and thought they might be useful. Probably not so much for anything that might be leaky, but for a cute, reusable sandwich wrap: <clickety>


...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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I work with a humane society group, and one of our fundraiser projects is making tote bags out of sunflower seed/dog food/rice bags. Some brands come in bags that are woven plastic with a colorful laminated outer surface, and we have been cutting them apart and using the fabric to make square bottomed totes.

They are easy to sew--I just googled "tote bag pattern" and found several.

I think we are sold out right now, but it is an idea for those of you with sewing machines. The plastic fabric can go into the washing machine.


sparrowgrass

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I've always wanted to write about book about the wine industry . . . maybe a mystery. So far I've only got the title: "The Serious Smile." :laugh:

ETA Oops, meant as a reply to Viva.


Edited by Special K (log)

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I know you've all been holding your collective breaths (har!)so here's a picture of the finished product, snapped in front of the tire of a 2001 Tiburon, into it's interior it will reside. I didn't count (I should have) but scores of shopping bags avoided the landfill and I think the result has a certain funky charm. I'll do some things differently next time,and might even consider using the raw materials to make something fashiony. Knitters, this exercise would work well for you too. I'm never really happy unless I have some kind of needlework project handy to calm the nerves, and this one was terrific fun and meditative. My plastic bag mountain has disappeared. Feel free to PM me if you want the hooker details.

gallery_6375_3224_514477.jpeg


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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I have a motley assortment of tote bags--actually, I did use to have more, but both of my old-school Trader Joe's canvas bags seem to have gone AWOL at some point. That leaves me a big nylon canvas bag I acquired from a local hospital fundraiser; an ancient cotton canvas Safeway bag; a soft-side cooler bag, of a size meant to hold two six-packs of beverage, I got as company swag when I was a Microsoft employee; and an insulated plastic shopping bag in which a mail-order food company once shipped me some perishables. Oh yeah, and I also have two different wheeled stuff-shlepping gizmos: one of those wheeled soft-sided shopping totes, and one of these wheeled folding file boxes, which is the most brilliant invention for hauling groceries longish distances that I've yet encountered. I have most of these either stacked in the kitchen or already in my car trunk. No special tricks for remembering them, other than depending on my little obsessive-compulsive streak. :laugh:

But I do need to get a few more, and since I no longer work for any outfits that hand out such swag it looks like I'm going to have to actually pay money for them! :laugh: I think at least one of them is going to be one of those new-style huge flowered Trader Joe's bags, but for the rest I'm going to do some thrift-shopping, or maybe even some craft crocheting (thanks for those links, folks!).

Even before I got so achtung with the shopping bags, I did make a point of reusing as many supermarket bags as possible, either as trash can liners or even to rebag leftovers and produce for storage in the fridge. I used to try and use them in the freezer, but they're just plain ol' not sturdy or airtight enough to prevent freezer burn. But for a head of lettuce in the fridge they seem to do just fine.


Edited by mizducky (log)

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The flip side of the reusable grocery bag:

This morning, the cat puked. Hauled me out of bed at 5 AM to go and clean it up. (Not too big a hardship, in reality: we got back from a trip to the Czech Republic last night and it felt way later than that, and the sun was up, so I was practically up already anyway.) I usually grab a grocery bag along with the roll of paper towels and the carpet cleaner when I clean up hairballs, and this morning I pulled the LAST bag out of the holder. That's it, no more in the house!

We use grocery bags not only as small-scale trash bags, but also as secondary containment for various wet things, as bags in which to pack a lunch and then collect the trash in afterwards, and (perhaps most importantly) as a liner for the container into which we scoop the clumps from the litterbox. And we are now out of bags.

We did go grocery shopping today, as the house was nearly devoid of food after ten days of our recent-college-graduate housesitter. We're both feeling badly in need of fresh fruits and vegetables that are not potatoes, after ten days of Czech restaurant meals. (That's not a rap on Czech restaurants. The trip was great. Read Rehovot's foodblog, go visit, and try to get away from Prague for at least a little bit. We ate well. But I'm just a touch sick of potatoes, dumplings, and meat meat meat.) Anyhow, because we got lots of produce, we have a bunch of the plastic bags into which produce gets inserted. The ones here are much sturdier than the ones in the Czech republic, so they can be readily reused as a "garbage bag" while cooking, in the sense of a Rachael Ray garbage bowl. But they're too small for much else.

When we shopped, we actually had to *buy* some small garbage bags that we think are about the right size for the litterbox scoopage bin. Talk about guilt!

So, those of you who used to recycle your grocery bags, what do you use instead, now that you have no more grocery bags?

MelissaH


MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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Plastic grocery bags = cat litter disposal bags. I would like to be as green as possible, but what else am I supposed to put the cat crap in?

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We use rags and sponges to clean up poo and cat puke in our house, and we use the bags that packaged foods, like cereal and popping corn come in, for cat litter. I made a commitment to not use paper or plastic shopping bags for a year, and 6 months in, we STILL have 3 bags here, a Target bag, and 2 ShopRite bags. They're stuffed with newspapers, which, I swear, are more fertile than Tribbles. We use newspaper for packing internet sales.

My next step in environmentalism is going to paper tape, completely. But, it's so expensive, and I'm not! :raz:


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