A better baggie

We all know plastic bags are bad. They litter our streets and beaches. They masquerade as delicious jellyfish and then choke our lovable marine animals. They photo-degrade (very, very, VERY slowly, I might add), breaking into smaller and smaller bits of toxic contaminates. They’re made from oil, a limited resource in such demand it’s worth starting wars over. According to the EPA, over 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps are consumed in the U.S. each year. That’s a lot of oil. And a lot of garbage.

If only the evil things weren’t so damn useful!

I found plastic grocery bags (and their paper counterparts) easy enough to abandon, and have been using reusable canvas grocery totes for years. And my purse of choice on the weekends is anything stylishly oversized so I can tote home any errand purchases bag free. Easy.

A tougher opponent, I’ve found, is the sandwich bag – particularly at lunch making time. For my own lunches, I prefer reusable glass containers like these and these from Crate & Barrel (less expensive options are certainly available at your local Target or thrift store – check for things like dishwasher/microwave/freezer safe and BPA-free plastic lids). The only problem I’ve had with these containers is my coworker, who’s been known to knock them out of the refrigerator and smash them to bits on the floor, ruining both my container and my long anticipated lunch.

But I’m certainly not going to send my son to school with glass containers. Plastic Tupperware-type containers have a better chance of remaining in one piece and are less costly to replace when he absent-mindedly throws them in the trash, but I don’t like putting my kid’s food in plastic if I can avoid it. So, what then?

Enter ReUsies, stage left.

Bubble Licious Sandwich ReUsie

ReUsies are reusable cotton sandwich and snack bags. They’re lined with a sort of nylony netting that’s super easy to clean (I wipe mine with a damp cloth after daily use, and throw them in the laundry on the weekends). They come in two sizes and velcro close. And, miracle of miracles, my son somehow manages to not throw them away. How brilliant is that? (Added bonus for me: ReUsies are made by Seattle moms, which means I also get to support/buy local.)

A quick Google search shows that there are similar products available on Etsy (like these and these), though ReUsies are the only ones I’ve used and can personally vouch for.* As an alternative, I’ve also seen plastic baggie dryers (like this, or this do-it-yourself version) that allow you to wash out and reuse regular plastic sandwich bags, but I have little faith that my kid would remember to bring home his baggies.

Next foe to defeat: the plastic produce bag. I use as few as possible, and I wash out and reuse any that aren’t lined with rotting vegetable slime. But I’ve yet to figure out a true replacement. Any ideas?

*This is not a paid or comped endorsement of any kind. The ReUsies folks don’t even know I exist. I just really like their product. Hand to gawd.



Filed under food, Home

6 responses to “A better baggie

  1. Kelly

    I generally don’t use the produce bags letting all my fruits and veggies mingle together in the cart/basket. Everything is washed and dried and put into the crisper or bowl on the counter when I get home.

  2. Sue

    Regarding produce bags, PCC Natural Market sells mesh bags in their produce department that are a good alternative to the plastic bags. My biggest issue is remembering to bring them back to the store. The grocery bags I’ve got down – no problem having them in the car when I go. But for some reason the produce bags forever remain on the kitchen counter. Perhaps you’d have better luck than me!

    At the PCC in West Seattle, the resuable bags are usually found at the back of the produce aisle at the center produce display right before you get to the beer case.

  3. I definitely need some of the reusable produce bags. For the most part, I just let the produce “co-mingle” in the cart like Kelly, but there are some things that are just easier in a bag.

    My main issue is in storing them. My fruits tend to do fine, but my veggies don’t keep long if they’re not in some sort of bag. I’ve tried paper bagging them (which helps a bit) but, really, that’s not any less wasteful. I’ve also tried keeping them in my glass storage containers, which works fairly well… but requires far more energy than I usually possess while putting away the groceries. 🙂

    Of course, my fridge is reeeeeeeally old and in desperate need of replacement, so it’s perfectly conceivable that my crisper is no longer crisping. One more reason to get going on that kitchen remodel…

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