Tuesday, December 6, 2011

No More Plastic Bags

Blue Avocado Produce Bag
Looking for a stocking stuffer for just about anyone? Reusable produce bags to the rescue! It always bothered me that trips to the produce stands always meant getting a plastic bag here and there. Sure, I have numerous grocery bags that I use to tote everything home, and things like clementines and onions can be bought sans bag, but what about the bulk arugula (for this fantastic green smoothie) or the Brussels sprouts?

Although I did a fair job bringing old plastic bags with me to the store to reuse and some bags got second life as a vessel for dog poop, my pile of spent plastic bags kept growing. Since this has been a change I've been meaning to make for some time, I finally stopped making excuses and bought a set of 8 reusable produce bags. Although I wanted to buy cotton bags, I thought it may be annoying for the cashiers to have to open up and peer into each and every bag, so I ended up with sheer nylon bags. True, they are another form of plastic, but hopefully I can keep using these for a long time.

TazzyTotes bag
My main concern about the reusable bags was weight. Would using them make me pay more for produce? To figure this out, I weighted my bags. The large TazzyTotes are 3/8 oz, the Blue Avocado are 5/8 oz, and plastic bags from Monterey Market are 1/4 oz. So, yes, they do weigh a little more. The Blue Avocado bags come in a set of 2, and the bag not pictured has a pouch sewn into it for easy storage - that bag is obviously way heavier than the others. My strategy is to put things that you buy per item, like mangoes and avocados, into the Blue Avocado bags and the other things into the TazzyTotes. I plan on buying another set of TazzyTotes (3 large bags and 1 small bag sells for $6.99) so I don't run out of bags. The Blue Avocado bags were $8.99 at Star Market.

If you buy a lot of bulk items, the TazzyTotes come with a plastic tab and a dry erase pen you can use to write down the bin numbers. Pretty neat! If I knew how to sew, or if the boy had more time to do my bidding, I'd make a set. But, I've been saying I'll make some for over a year, so clearly that was not going to happen anytime soon. I'd rather be knitting or crocheting! If you know of any reusable produce bags made in the Bay Area or even the USA, let me know! Both of the bags I talked about were manufactured in China, and I would have loved to buy locally.

Notice anything odd about the lemongrass? The ends are all torn up. After trying to catch the bugs doing it, I gave up and chalked it up to bad karma. However, a few nights ago, the boy said, "Mingus really loves that lemongrass!" and my head snapped up. "What did you say?" I asked. "Mingus really loves that lemongrass! He takes a nip at it almost every time we walk by that pot." Mystery solved. Mingus was the bug I couldn't catch in the act. What a weird dog. And what a weird boy for thinking it is fine for a dog to eat my lemongrass.

At least Mingus isn't eating my garlic shoots. These garlic shoots have the promise of being Korean extra spicy garlic that is perfect for kimchi. Ugh, this also reminds me that the seed potatoes I bought at the same time are still sitting on my counter. I don't know where I have space to plant them!

And another odd thing is this mask. Why are there feathers in its mouth? The boy swears that the cat toy just landed there during an especially vigorous round of "catch the fake bird" with Greaseball. I don't believe him, but in the meantime, we both think it's a dandy place to rest the cat toy when it's not in use.

Last weekend was beer bottling day. I watched my friend and the boy rack seven bottles of beer. It's an interesting process, although the boy is still complaining that it's a lot of work for just 7 large bottles of beer. He's already talking about his next 5-gallon batch, which would require two new stockpots and a whole lot of space that we just don't have. I think the 1-gallon batch is perfect, especially at this stage where he's learning the rhythm, but I think the compromise is that we'll borrow equipment from friends who have long ago abandoned beer making yet still have all the equipment in their basements if he really wants to make a huge batch. I may even help this time. I hesitated to help during this first round because he's a little anxious in the kitchen, and sometimes that anxiety manifests into petty arguments about the who left a dirty pair of socks under the coffee table that the dogs later ripped up and other stupid things. However, if he's working with a friend in the kitchen, he plays all nicey-nice. (Yup, I've learned a few tricks to keep the peace after 15 years of togetherness.) In two weeks, we should have glorious chestnut brown ale!


  1. 15 years?!? I remember when a young wrenchy was thinking about asking you out! Not actually asking, or dating yet, just pondering it. Awesome. Our cats ate the avocado plant that the baby big girl I grew from seed. Freeking pets will do anything to mess up things you might like.

  2. The clear plastic produce bags (or opaque ones) with no writing are recyclable with types 1 & 2. You know, just in case you forget your reusable ones. :)

  3. Tarik, yes, it has been 15 years! Crazy to think about the days where you were sitting the couch with Simba playing the neverending round of feather toy.

    cakeburnette, true, true. I still think I'm going to buy another set of reusable ones so I can have them in every car. Less chance of forgetting!

  4. Our problem seems to be remembering to take them INTO the store! Although I do keep one clipped to my purse that folds down small into a pouch.

  5. The domestically made produce bags you want to find are on etsy.

  6. Nina, thanks. I finally figured out how to do a local search in Etsy after giving up in frustration the last time. You can search for items by saying "produce bags in california," for example, and a list of local sellers will appear.



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