February 20, 2012

Plastic Bags - The Next Frontier - Produce Bags

Last Monday's post was about using reusable grocery bags for shopping to carry your purchases to and from the store and your home.  I'm planning to dedicate each Monday's post to be about plastic bags of some sort.  Today's post is about another plastic bag commonly seen and used at the grocery store: produce / bulk bags.

Although I had been told for many years that it's better to use reusable bags for grocery shopping I didn't make the switch until I finally decided to make a commitment to not use plastic or paper bags from the store anymore at approximately age 27.  (I can still vaguely recall lessons in grade school about the environment and wonder why I never actually did anything about my habits in the past.  I think because I was distrustful of anything adults told me, as many children are.)

Our non-use of plastic bags has led to some awkward moments at the store, including one I had last Thursday.  We live next to a small convenience store and I needed a few limes to make a marinade.  I took Eva in one arm and headed over.  I picked up the three limes and took them to the register.

Clerk: "50 cents." Pulls out plastic bag from under the counter.
Me: "Ok - and no bag please"  I give him a dollar bill.
Clerk: "No problem." Puts the limes into the bag and gives me back the change.
Me: "Thank you, but I really don't need the bag."  Reach into the bag and take out the limes.
Clerk: Looks at me like I'm a weirdo
Me: Walk home feeling like a bit of a weirdo

I was relating this interaction to Amelia for humorous purposes and we got to talking about some similar interactions of this sort.  These conversations included Amelia almost getting into fisticuffs in a Mississippi Wal-Mart and other amusing misadventures.  


Many grocery stores offer bulk shopping sections for nuts, dried fruits, spices and herbs, cooking ingredients, candies, etc.  These bins are typically accompanied with plastic bags to fill and tabs to note your selection and item code for check-out.  I like shopping in the bulk section at our local Sprouts (an amazing grocery store if you have one in your area) since you can tailor the amount of your purchases to your baking needs, make your own trail mix, etc.

Although when we moved to San Diego we had pretty ended our use of plastic bags to carry our groceries, for some reason we didn't view the bulk section in the same manner.  I've found in many cases I do things for no other reason than that I've 'always' done them.  I suppose inertia is as powerful in habits as it is in physics.  However, Amelia was kind enough to break me of this habit by gifting me a set of three produce bags from the aforementioned Chico Bags.

Although I felt good about stopping my use of plastic shopping bags, I genuinely enjoyed having these produce bags.  (We quickly went from the first three to 10 or so, including a few hand-made ones from my sister-in-law Angela.)  They're convenient for shopping since they're stronger and larger than the bags in the stores which matters when getting multiple pounds of the jasmine rice Amelia is addicted to.  They also work well for storing the goods in our kitchen cabinets.  Most importantly, they made it easy to end our use of the remaining plastic bags in our grocery habits which had been overlooked for a long time.

Suggested action steps:

1) Purchase 3, or 10, reusable produce bags
2) Put a few bags in the trunk of your vehicle(s), in your backpack, or in whatever you usually take to the store
3) Use your reusable bags instead of the plastic produce / bulk bags at the store

Thank you!  (from me and the sea turtles)

No comments:

Post a Comment