Monday, January 11, 2016

Joe, we need to talk...

I mentioned a couple posts ago how I'm trying to greatly decrease the waste associated with my food purchases. As much as I love Trader Joe's, I think we have to break up. :-/ Nearly everything in the store is packed in plastic. Most of the produce even is in plastic bags, those plastic clamshell boxes or plopped onto a styrofoam tray and shrink wrapped. So sad. Even the foods in boxes are in plastic bags inside those boxes. I left Trader Joe's with a few produce items and headed to another grocery where I knew more bulk foods would be available and brought along the fabric bags I whipped up this weekend:

They did well on their maiden voyage:

No more plastic bags! The new bags are cotton and I sewed in a tie made from an old t-shirt so I didn't even have to use the twist ties to close the bags. Of course that meant no tag to write the code on. So instead:

I took a quick pic of each bag with the PLU and just gave the codes to the cashier. Easy peasy since I used fabrics with different designs. I saw some people online putting the codes on the bags permanently, but I don't plan to only buy the same items over and over so this was an easy fix. I kept the bags in the same order in my cart to make finding the code quick and easy at checkout. This worked well, but I may simply number the bags so I can make a list on my phone instead. I do have at least two bags from each fabric so that way I could use them all and not worry about how they land in the cart. Easy adjustment. :-)

Concerned that the fabric is heavier than those thin plastic bags? I'm sure they are, but the weight is minimal. I made 13 bags in total and most weigh in at a whopping 1/2 oz, the same as the net produce bags I've been using for years. So they may add a smidge to the overall cost, but no plastic! The one larger bag is great for keeping all the empty bags organized too.

I'm very happy with these and got to play with my serger too. :-) All the supplies came from stash of course. Here's the sum total of my trash from this week's grocery trip:

Much better than having plastic bags and boxes from pre-packaged foods! I tried to find produce the sticker machine missed, but I still ended up with a few. I can't wait for summer so I can hit the local farms again!

I swung by Goodwill too and found just what I needed to wrangle my loose potatoes now that I don't buy bagged anymore:

Love it! And only $2.99. :-)


  1. Very inspiring! I never would have thought about using reusable produce bags.

    1. I've had the mesh set for years. They're very handy. :-)


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