If you’re like me and have a huge stash of shopping bags stuffed into a cupboard or your car, then this is for you.
Getting rid of what you’ve got
If you have a bunch of re-usable plastic shopping bags, don’t get rid of them! Keep them, use them, or donate them to a family member or friend that would use them. Our Woolworths shopping bags are going to my parents. Since we are bulk buying we don’t have any need to do gigantic shopping sprees at woolies, but my parents still do their shopping there. Our collection will live in my dad’s car for them to use! If you really want to get rid of them, then the best way to thoughtfully dispose of them is via RedCycle soft plastic collection, which I wrote about in my cling wrap + beeswax wrap post.
I don’t know about you but I hate seeing those huge rolls of plastic bags next to the fruit and veg at the supermarket. They are one of the most useless plastics I can think of, and serve no real purpose. You can simply just put your produce in your basket, everything doesn’t have to be separated! Honestly the best way to get rid of produce bags is just avoid using them in the first place, or re-use for future shops. We use a few we have left over to store food scraps in the freezer for composting if our composter is full. Otherwise you can also dispose of them via RedCycle.
Shopping bag alternatives
There are plenty of shopping bag alternatives if you go out and look. The most common one that we would all recognise is a tote bag. I have this big, beautiful farmers market tote from Seed & Sprout, that fits a whole shopping haul in it. It’s sturdy and equally cute, plus it’s supporting a local Aussie business! You can find tote bags literally everywhere. Just go walking through the shops in your area and you’ll find something you like.
Produce bag alternatives
Like I said before, plastic produce bags are a useless plastic. But for ‘loose’ food items like spinach or mushrooms, i’ll admit it is convenient to put them in a produce bag. Instead of reaching for the plastic, opt for re-usable produce bags instead. I bought five re-usable mesh produce bags from Seed & Sprout. The sizes range from big enough to fit a pumpkin, through to tiny enough for a handful of spinach. But like shopping bags, you can find alternative produce bags everywhere. I bought mine from Seed & Sprout because I trust in the quality of their products, and they have Afterpay! Places like Teros in Hobart stock produce bags like these, but they could just be any small bag you have lying around the house.
Make your own
My greatest love in life (other than Jake & my cat) is craft. That statement might make me sound like a grandma, but I love to sew, knit and everything in between! So if you’re a crafty kind of person, or know someone who is, then look up some tutorials online and go for it. You could knit, crochet or even sew your own bags if you want to. I bought two crocheted shopping bag kits from Wool and The Gang, which come with everything you need to make them from scratch! They have a huge range of different bags to make and you can customise to your colour preferences. Wool and The Gang also stock a beautiful wool made from recycled ocean waste!
I believe there is some weird psycho-scientific correlation behind making your own bags, and remembering to take them to the store. There is no feeling to describe the disappointment of pulling up to the supermarket and remembering you forgot to put the bags in your car. The beauty of making your own bags is you love them so much you never forget. I don’t know why but I’ve made two bags and I never forget to take them! Whereas before hand I would forget nearly every single time.
For RedCycle soft plastic collection information, head to https://www.redcycle.net.au/what-to-redcycle/
For Wool and the Gang crochet bag kits, head to https://www.woolandthegang.com/en/crochet/kits/bags
For Wool and the Gang recycled ocean waste wool, head to https://www.woolandthegang.com/en/products/new-wave-yarn
For Seed & Sprout farmers market tote bags, head to https://seedsprout.com.au/collections/bags/products/pocket-tote-shopping-bag
For Seed & Sprout re-usable mesh produce bags, head to https://seedsprout.com.au/collections/bags/products/5-mesh-produce-bags
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