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HIGHLIFE73's Photo HIGHLIFE73 SparkPoints: (13,945)
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11/24/09 2:02 P

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I have those green bags to keep the produce fresh longer. They are reusable, you just wash after each use they last about a year or so depending on use. I take them along with me to store they can see thru them just like there produce bags. And they keep my produce fresh longer so I can buy enough to last a few weeks. I also only use cloth grocery bags I only shop couple times a month so they hold a lot more and are easier to carry when full.

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DAN_ODEA's Photo DAN_ODEA SparkPoints: (22,098)
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11/23/09 8:14 P

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Interesting topic. We use our cotton, canvas, or bamboo bags whenever possible. I would like to state an opinion, please.

The topic of plastic bags is not a simple one. Reading the posts here and the team challenge with a goal of "using 0 plastic bags per week" tells me the topic is simplified to supermarket-type plastic (e.g. take-home bags, produce bags, etc.). There are other types of plastic bags: ziplock, sandwich, garbage, and leaf bags are only a few. And so I ask for more clarity going forward: please specify which bags are being "boycotted" and which aren't.

Naturally I have reasons for my position. For one, walking my dog requires I pick up their poo. I would love to use a bucket and carry that around, and then dump the poo into a recycle bin in my own back yard (a special one for poo, and yes I have one). That's not always practical, so we sometimes reuse plastic bags from bread, the occasional store bag (when you're out on a long trip and didn't bring your grocery bags), etc.

Another example is ziplock-type bags, which are perfect for storing things which must be kept sealed and dry (home-made snacks, certain fossils, and some collectibles). When I'm done with them I wash and reuse them, so I can make a box of bags go a long way. Plastic resealable bowls are nice, and once they work for bread storage I'm there. Sometimes the z-bags are the only way to go, especially for fossils; those come in infinite shapes and sizes.

Finally, by law in my town our garbage must be in garbage bags. Unfortunately there are no paper bags sold for this purpose, and so we must use drawstring-type or similar plastic garbage bags. I'd love not to use them, and we don't use many, but we must use some. Consider this: my family has three teenagers (five of us) and we throw out half the garbage our next-door neighbors do (an older couple). I compost everything I can, but you can't compost chicken bones (free-range or not), fish wrappings, etc. and our town doesn't recycle everything.

In short, with a lot of different uses for plastic bags I think a heading "Do not use plastic bags" is unnecessarily draconian and overly simplified. Sorry.

Edited by: DAN_ODEA at: 11/23/2009 (20:15)
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CCSOGIRL's Photo CCSOGIRL Posts: 447
11/12/09 4:21 A

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hi guys. i don't use produce bags at all, i just figure the clerk can grab them and put them on the scale without a bag just like i used to do for people when i was a checker =)
most of the stores i go to have no problem using my cloth bags, infact, a lot of the baggers like them because they hold more. most people have no problem weighing without a bag at all.

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JASI27's Photo JASI27 Posts: 854
11/9/09 7:51 P

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I just take my Debbie Meyers green bags with me, that way I don't have to switch them over when I get home.

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TREVUG's Photo TREVUG SparkPoints: (21,110)
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3/6/09 11:31 P

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I made my own produce bags, and even though they weigh a little bit more than those plastic ones, I find it worth the additional cost I might be paying for my produce. As far as the deli goes this can be done with your own containers, but different states have different health codes, and some chains may even have stricter rules due to law suits. I do get some nasty checkers/cashiers when I go through, but I have learned to avoid them and only go to the friendly ones. One of the reasons they get nasty is because their corporation rewards them for being fast, so they don't care how the groceries go in as long as they have a good speed record. When I was in the grocery biz I always opposed this because it really detracts from the main reason for the cashier (I know it seems like the money would be) customer service. In many cases they are the last person you see at the store. If they are unfriendly or nasty to you let the manager know. And tell the manager that this is the way it is with many of the cashiers, because of the whole speed thing. If the manager knows that this is an issue maybe they will figure out how to help the cashier know how to treat customers.

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MAINEROCKS's Photo MAINEROCKS Posts: 7,195
2/15/09 10:50 A

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Why don't you just let them do the bagging in your cloth bags? I give them a bag full of bags up front and I take one out and smile and say "here, I'll help you" to the bagger and I fill one up... then I will also take items and add them to the bags he/she has already put in the cart if they aren't full enough (some don't fill them up all the way).

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HIPPIEMAMA1622's Photo HIPPIEMAMA1622 Posts: 82
2/15/09 8:55 A

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I've thought about making my own for the produce I just haven't gotten around to it yet :( I don't really buy anything from the deli. I do have a question though. Because of budget I have to shop at a very large grocery store and the cashiers bag the groceries as they ring them up. So I usually tell them first that I have my own bags so that they won't put the groceries in the plastic bags and then I just bag them myself. The problem is is that the cashiers almost always seem aggravated with me bc it takes a little bit longer than if they bag the groceries. Is there an easier way to do this?

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GOLDENPEARLE's Photo GOLDENPEARLE SparkPoints: (0)
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2/10/09 7:07 P

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Interesting, I have been thinking about the same thing. Especially, when I buy grain...I usually just bring it home and put my purchases into glass bottles. Does anyone have any better strategy to do this. Because bags are bags. I use cloth bags for grocery shopping but buying in bulk etc...I get plastic bags from the store. Some can be recycled -- others cannot.

Recycled bags -- In Victoria, BC Second hand stores will take them and reuse them.

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Edited by: GOLDENPEARLE at: 2/10/2009 (19:09)
VINEYARDHUNTER's Photo VINEYARDHUNTER Posts: 443
2/10/09 2:05 P

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I've been wondering about the produce bags, too. I always just put everything into my cart loose. I was thinking about bringing some small baskets to put things in. That way I can get my groceries, dump 'em to be weighed, put them back in the baskets for transporting and storing at home. They have a lot of different sizes, made of recycled materials (wood, straw, etc.) at Target. I think I might get some.

I don't really buy things at the deli, so I hadn't really thought about that. There may be a health code, but it doesn't hurt to find out! Maybe the act of asking will spur on some thinking about a better way to package the deli selections.




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GAEA3070's Photo GAEA3070 SparkPoints: (43,482)
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2/9/09 2:06 P

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I can't remember the last time I bought a plastic bag. The bags my pet food comes in are used for trash. Several people who have moved from my building discarded large quantities of bags they probably stole from their jobs. People bring me things in plastic bags. If you can't get entirely away from them, recycle them as your trash bags, unless someone else has a better idea.

I believe there are bio bags but in a landfill they still won't have much opportunity to degrade.

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SARAH.PICOZZI's Photo SARAH.PICOZZI Posts: 705
2/9/09 8:48 A

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Its amazing how many plastic bags we use without realizing it!

I am always attempting to reduce my trash. However, some trash is still inevitable at this point. Are there any good alternatives to plastic bags? I really hate buying plastic bags simply so they can go to the landfill!

The only way to get to the end of the journey is by taking small steps all along the way.


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SARAH.PICOZZI's Photo SARAH.PICOZZI Posts: 705
1/30/09 7:30 A

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That was what I thought as well. The only reason I thought they may not be able to would be for health codes. But if you cant put your own tupperware on the counter, they could just hand you the meat/cheese on that wax paper and you could put it in yourself.

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MAINEROCKS's Photo MAINEROCKS Posts: 7,195
1/29/09 9:59 P

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that's an excellent idea!

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GAEA3070's Photo GAEA3070 SparkPoints: (43,482)
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1/29/09 7:47 P

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At the deli counter, they put down a piece of waxed paper to weigh the food, why would they have a problem if you bring in your plasticware to put everything into? They can stick the price labels right onto it!
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SARAH.PICOZZI's Photo SARAH.PICOZZI Posts: 705
1/29/09 1:06 P

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I am completely prepared for the strange looks I will get - Im used to that! That is great advice. I will definitely have to try it out. Thanks

The only way to get to the end of the journey is by taking small steps all along the way.


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LIZABAKER's Photo LIZABAKER Posts: 1,117
1/29/09 1:03 P

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It's all about education - if they look at you strangely, tell them WHY you do it. Hard to believe, but there are people who simply have not heard that we're in the midst of an environmental crisis. I've found it's best to do it gently and with a smile on my face - try not to come across as a fanatic who is out for converts.

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SARAH.PICOZZI's Photo SARAH.PICOZZI Posts: 705
1/29/09 11:19 A

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This is another question along the same lines that I have been thinking about.

The only other section of the grocery store that I get extra plastic bags is at the deli. Has anyone tried bringing their own containers to get the deli meats and cheeses rather than the plastic bag? I want to ask at my grocery store the next time I am there if I can do that. I was just curious if anyone has had any success or advice for avoiding the plastic bags at the deli counter also!

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HAPPYMELZ's Photo HAPPYMELZ Posts: 1,592
1/27/09 2:57 P

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I know what you mean! There are 2 stores close to my house. One is a "trendy gourmet" market that sells a lot of organic produce and "clean" meat. The other is a mom and pop grocery where a lot of lower income families shop.

Most people bring their bags to the "trendy" market, but when I bring my bags to the "other" store the ENTIRE staff looks at me like I'm purple or have 3 heads!

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SARAH.PICOZZI's Photo SARAH.PICOZZI Posts: 705
1/27/09 2:54 P

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I cant tell you how many times I have told the people there I dont want my meat in plastic bags either. (I always check to see if it is leaking anyway) They insist it will get all over my bag. They are cloth! They will wash!

I try to pick lanes without a bagger. Sometimes they just dont get it...

The only way to get to the end of the journey is by taking small steps all along the way.


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MAINEROCKS's Photo MAINEROCKS Posts: 7,195
1/27/09 2:45 P

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I do them loose too generally (other than green beans and my dozen apples) and when I'm not looking, they will frequently put them in a plastic bag on the bagging end. ARGH! I have avoided the thin, small plastic bag only to end up with a large one! They are slowly learning... but I do mean slowly :-)

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SARAH.PICOZZI's Photo SARAH.PICOZZI Posts: 705
1/27/09 2:38 P

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Thats what I have been doing too. Some of the cashiers get really annoyed. I guess it depends on who it is! Most of the cashiers around my area are teenagers (at least when I am there). They dont really have a choice but to weigh my produce how it is!! Between my bagless produce and my coupons, I think they hate me! emoticon

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HAPPYMELZ's Photo HAPPYMELZ Posts: 1,592
1/27/09 2:32 P

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Until I buy/make/find reuseable produce bags, I am just putting loose produce into my cart. I lay my shopping bag down so it doesn't bruise. I also have them weigh it loose at the check out. Thankfully, the cashiers at my local market don't seem to mind. :)


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SILKSIREN Posts: 26
1/26/09 8:06 P

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I know I am jumping in pretty late in the conversation on this, but I never heard of reusable produce bags either. I am certainly going to check them out, then I will also talk with my grocer. Shoot, I was using cloth bags 12 years ago, I might as well get my family and friends started on this also. Thanks for the information.
Christine

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SARAH.PICOZZI's Photo SARAH.PICOZZI Posts: 705
1/26/09 2:27 P

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It might be worth suggesting it to them. Since the cloth bags are going over pretty well, the stores may consider it. A privately owned grocery store might be more easily convinced than a chain.

I didnt know they made bags like that. Im pretty excited!

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MAINEROCKS's Photo MAINEROCKS Posts: 7,195
1/26/09 2:24 P

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Gottcha. Sounds like having a spare would be helpful. I can't see dumping out my 10 apples for them to weigh the bag then loading them up again, LOL.
What would be nice is if the stores started carrying them as they do the cloth grocery bags... then they would know the exact tare for the produce bags as well. Maybe we'll see that down the line!
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GAEA3070's Photo GAEA3070 SparkPoints: (43,482)
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1/26/09 2:11 P

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You can do that or if you use one of several of the same bag dump one for weighing. You have to weigh produce separately anyway.

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Celia


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MAINEROCKS's Photo MAINEROCKS Posts: 7,195
1/26/09 10:31 A

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So do you carry an extra bag with you for the weighing first part?
I have not yet started using them so I am interested in best practices. ;-)

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GAEA3070's Photo GAEA3070 SparkPoints: (43,482)
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1/26/09 10:14 A

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They can weigh your bag first and deduct it from the final weight of your produce. It's done all the time.

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Celia


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MAINEROCKS's Photo MAINEROCKS Posts: 7,195
1/26/09 9:11 A

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They make the produce bags out of light-weight material. For example, click on the link I posted and then click on a product. it will tell you how much they weigh.

Edited by: MAINEROCKS at: 1/26/2009 (09:12)
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SARAH.PICOZZI's Photo SARAH.PICOZZI Posts: 705
1/26/09 9:10 A

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Wont that affect the weighing of the produce? I have thought about brining my own containers, but I dont want to pay extra because my bag weighs more than the plastic bag!

The only way to get to the end of the journey is by taking small steps all along the way.


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MAINEROCKS's Photo MAINEROCKS Posts: 7,195
1/26/09 9:07 A

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There are reusable produce bags as well. I haven't bought any yet b/c they are more than I want to spend with s/h included, so I think my mom is going to make me some. :-)

www.reusablebags.com/store/shopping-
ba
gs-produce-bags-c-2_10.html


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LIZABAKER's Photo LIZABAKER Posts: 1,117
1/26/09 9:06 A

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Check out reusable nylon bags for produce - you can make them yourself if you're crafty, or visit Etsy.com - they have a lot. I love my homemade ones, and my farmers' mkt vendors all knock off a few cents per pound because of their added weight.

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SARAH.PICOZZI's Photo SARAH.PICOZZI Posts: 705
1/26/09 9:04 A

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Most people have switched from plastic to cloth bags to carry their groceries in. So far, this has been hugely successful for me! I love the cloth bags. I can carry more and create less waste!

My problem recently, has been buying fruits and veggies. With some things, it is easy to skip the bag. Like when I bought 1 eggplant. However, with other things it is much more difficult. Like buying plums or peaches.

Any suggestions on how to skip the bags for produce?

The only way to get to the end of the journey is by taking small steps all along the way.


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