Friday, May 20, 2011

{ Reusable Produce Bags and the Co-Op - Who Knew? }

Now that you've finally got the hang of actually remembering to bring your reusable grocery bags to the grocery store, let's get crazy and add reusable produce bags. What? You've never heard of them? Neither had I until I recently read a local Oly blog about how to shop at the Co-Op (Queen Bee Coupons: How to shop (and save) at food co-ops – great local, organic deals). Queen Bee recommendeds bringing reusable containers for bulk items and reusable produce bags. Maybe that's why they always look at me funny when I go in there, I don't have the reusable produce bags! But really, I did quit going there because I felt judged while shopping - I guess I'm not quite granola enough; it must have been my Whole Foods shopping bags. Who knows? In any case, I'm getting ready to go back and try Co-Opping again.

In preparation for returning to the Co-Op I purchased my reusable produce bags, check. I found the set pictured below at Target for five bucks in the kitchen section. I haven't been to the Co-Op yet, but I have used them at the Farmers' Market and the normal big box grocery store. Reusable produce bags are just like reusable grocery bags in that they hold more than plastic, are more stable and are easier to use; I love these things. Just another silly little thing that is good for the planet, but that I also enjoy using - they make me happy.

If you need another use to justify purchasing reusable produce bags, they seem like they'd be good "lingerie bags" for washing your delicates or baby socks in the washing machine.

So now all I need to be ready to return to the Co-Op is reusable containers. I want to by ten-ish pounds of flour at a time. Any recommendations on containers? Should I worry about it being BPA free, I mean does it matter? I don't want to buy a bunch of organic flour only for my storage container to leach chemicals into it. Please share any ideas or recommendations with me.

One final thought. I really do think I know why they looked at me funny after reading Queen Bee's blog. You're supposed to pick up a mini-clipboard, paper and pencil at the entry and write down all the upc codes of what you're buying because the volunteer workers don't know them. Didn't do that. Whoops. Who knew that shopping at the Oly Co-Op was so complicated? PCC did not prepare me for our grassroots co-op.


jacquelyn said...

I have some reusable produce bags that I don't like that much, I will check these out!
I haven't shopped in the Co-op for a long time either.... sounds like a good idea, but I don't know if I will try again soon. Hope your adventure goes well!
and about the flour. I store mine in a very large glass jar/canister... I only buy five pounds of flour though...1/2 of it goes in the freezer. You could probably find jars/glass canisters at goodwill or something like that.
good seeing you at the park today! (:

Off The Cuff Cooking said...

I don't shop at the Co-Op anymore, because I only went once, and also thought it was super complicated, and snooty, over-priced, and for spending that much money I didn't really think that there was much 'service.' Also, I felt like there was a lot of political ideology going on there that didn't sit well with me, particularly the anti-Israel sentiment. (I haven't paid attention to how they resolved that issue.) That said, I do love Oly Local Foods, and how affordable most of their things are, and the friendly attitude, lack of snobbery, and absence of political motives. So I reuse canvas bags when I pick up my orders from them. I should also maybe get some reusable produce bags (although they already come in plastic or paper bags from the vendors so I don't know if it would matter there.)

Oh, and for storing flour, dry goods, canned goods, and pastas, etc. I have started saving all my plastic-salad containers from CostCo (you know the big rectangular ones) because they can be double stacked for heavier items, and the lids can also be snugly stacked into each other for extra stability. They're easy to see through if you're running low on something, and because they're all the same size and shape, you can put two rows on top of each other easily and move them around as needed. No idea if they're BPA free, but I don't think there's much risk for dry goods.

Paige said...

Wow. You are a few steps ahead of me! I'm not even using reusable shopping bags. I have a hard enough time grabbing my wallet and the three kids I don't dare try to remember and grab bags as well!

As for storing flour, Cash & Carry sells large Plastic containers. They hold exactly 10lb of dry goods. I use them for flour and sugar. They also have slightly smaller ones which I use for other dry goods that I don't buy in quite as large of quantities.

You are inspiring! Good work,Jess!

sheila said...

I love Cash & Carry, I get a 10lb bag of flour there. I also love there other bulk foods. The brown rice is pretty reasonalble as well. I love your blog Jess. You are giving us some wonderful information. I have used all the products for cleaning that you have mentioned, but I have never put them together so nicely. I use lavendar in all my homemade spa products. I now will use them in my cleaning supplys. Im sure house cleaning will be so much more relaxing:)

Janelle said...

I've seen these, considered buying them since I buy so much produce and it seems silly to be bringing my own grocery bags and come home with tons of produce bags I just throw away...things that make you go hmmm.

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