ENVITOTE’s superior design is a stylish altern...

Image via Wikipedia. Much more chichi than my bags. And probably cleaner.

A few months ago, while waiting tables at the icky but popular chain restaurant that pays the bills while I go back to school, a lady ordered a coffee.  “Do you take cream?”  No, she didn’t.  I brought out the coffee, and she got out a little plastic travel container, one that might store shampoo on a trip, and she poured a thick creamer into the cup.

I was a little stunned when she said that she always brings her own “vanilla” creamer to restaurants.  Not just because the chemically laced, artificially flavored, cow-killing, overly sweet creamers are lame, but because she likes it so much that she brings it along.  I was stunned that she had the forethought and initiative to actually do it.  (I think of people who order ice water and then flavor it with Crystal Light to-go packets much less kindly.  Don’t be that guy.)

In that vein, I brought my own grocery bags to Whole Foods yesterday.  I packed up a motley assortment of reusable bags that I’ve acquired over the years but never seem to remember to bring with me.  I threw in some old paper bags from Whole Foods in case I didn’t have enough and assorted plastic bags from various stores and restaurants to use for bagging produce.  (If it has a skin, I don’t usually bag it anyway; yesterday, for example, I didn’t bag garlic, bananas, onions, or apples.)

Luckily, the kind people at Whole Foods applaud using your own bags.  I also had a nice chat about nutritional yeast with the young woman who checked me out.

A “radical” choice?  Not really.  I guess it depends on the bags you carry, too.

Update: A fear-mongering article about how dirty grocery bags are was posted on kansascity.com last night.  I buy mostly organic produce, and I don’t buy meat, dairy, or eggs, so I’m guessing my bags are pretty clean.  If you do buy animal products, I’d imagine that it probably is a good idea to have a “meat bag” and a “produce bag.”  The article also recommends washing your reusable bags in cold water.

Remember that there’s an island of our garbage in the Atlantic twice the size of Texas.  Reduce, reuse, recycle.  And rewash, apparently.

  1. Greg says:

    We brought our own bags for a long time before we finally got fed up with our huge plastic bags collection at home.

    It took a very inexpensive purchase of cotton bags to solve our problem. There’s really no need to bag anything in plastic at the store. It’s really a silly habit. Once you stop, you’ll be shocked that you did such a wasteful thing for so many years.

    When we get the vegetables home we bag it with bags we have left over, or we put them in tupperware. http://www.thecasualvegan.com/reusable-cotton-bags/

    Why only use containers for left overs? We did try burlap first, but that resulted in really sour tasting hairs in our food which were really difficult to wash out. I even use cotton for strawberries and tomatos now. The only item we still get in plastic are “manager special” or discount organic produce. They won’t reuse the bag, if I leave it at the store, so I take it home and we use it for months.

    • theradgal says:

      You make a good points all around. Why bag produce at all? I guess just because everyone else does it. I’ve only been bagging soaking wet, leafy produce, and I’m still standing. I’m still at a bit of a loss about what to do with bulk items I purchase by the scoopful, such as nutritional yeast, rice, etc. Maybe I should buy some small cotton bags for those. For now, I’ve been using the truly mind-boggling number of plastic bags that my roommates and I have accumulated in our year together.

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