Following on from my previous post about coffee cups, the next item on the list is bags.
Bags really fall into 2 categories in my opinion. The first is carry bags – from the supermarket, other grocery stores as well as department stores and specialist boutiques. There are reusable ‘green’ bags which are only marginally better than the single-use plastic bags that they are supposed to replace. They are still made from plastic and do not have a long life as they are prone to tear. I have a selection of bags that I use which have come from a variety of sources.
Here are some the calico ones including the one which has had the handles replaced. You can read that story here.
This one was a gift that my sister brought back for me from Alaska. They were made in the town she visited. It is sturdy and folds up into its own pocket for easy storage. Yes, it is plastic but I believe it will last forever.
Finally, this one is my go-to bag every time I leave the house. It is looking a bit the worse for wear after almost 5 years of constant use. I bought it in Vermont when we visited the USA in 2012. It was plastic-lined – fused onto the inside of the hessian but when the plastic began to break up, I removed it all and sewed in a new cotton lining. The project is detailed here.
The second type of single-use plastic bags are produce bags – the flimsy ones that you find at the greengrocer or the fruit and vegetable section of your local supermarket. Apparently, reusable alternatives can be purchased from various Etsy sellers and also on Amazon but I simply chose to make my own from some leftover tulle that I had at home. They are very easy to make with very basic sewing skills. You could really use any fabric but I find the tulle is perfect because it allows for the cashier to identify the produce and because they weigh virtually nothing, I do not have to worry about tare weight. The fabric does not fray so there is no need to worry about finishing the edges. I also chose not to worry about drawstrings or ties as I find there is simply no need. Remember, the plastic ones are just a bag with no added extras.
I also carry a folded Ecosilk bag which I use on the rare occasions that I make clothing purchases.
There are other opportunities for refusing plastic bags but if you are starting out, I would strongly suggest that you begin with reusable carry bags and produce bags. This will make an immediate difference.
Do you use your own bags?
I take my bags to the supermarket but the plastic fruit bags I use in the freezer for meat or to pick up dog mess these two things are where I have trouble not using plastic
I have two hessian bags lined in plastic (one with shoulder length straps, the other with short straps). I fold up light bag is always in my handbag and helps for errands and clothing purchases at op shops. For produce, I wasn’t using my gauzey bags so a friend who asked got them. For carting things to others, I reuse what paper bags I get.
Now… if only the flatmate wouldn’t bring ALL the plastic bags home!