Jump to the bottom of this post for info on snagging some free bags I made from new cloth.
In my quest to eliminate kitchen waste, my most successful strategies have been:
- Using cloth produce and bulk bags or containers for shopping
- Shopping at the farmer’s market
- Shopping at the bulk bins
These three tips assume you cook everything from scratch. Let’s call that the supreme tip. If you grow your own food and raise your own livestock (as many of you do), I bow at your feet.
I’m all for plastic bag bans but these bans don’t address the amount of trash generated from plastic produce bags that most of us stuff into our reusable shopping bags. Taking your own reusable cloth produce bags is just as easy as taking a shopping bag. I keep mine tucked inside the shopping bags so I always have them on hand.
You can buy cloth produce bags at ChicoBag, Ecobags and a number of other stores. But if you have a bit of fabric, a sewing machine and a few minutes, you can just make some. In a previous post, I sewed simple cloth produce and bulk bags from virgin cloth. Today, I’m posting instructions for making them out of an old pillow case (even easier!).
Rummaging around my closet recently, I found four large pillow cases set aside in my Goodwill pile. My daughter heads back to university in Canada at the end of the month and had mentioned that she needs some more produce and bulk bags, so when I saw these, I knew just what to do with them.
1. Cut a pillow case into four relatively equal parts. As you can see from the picture, I didn’t quite do this evenly and wound up with different sizes. That’s fine. I’m not sewing my daughter a prom dress.
2. For the bags with the finished hem (left in the above pic), sew across the open side and the bottom. For the bags with the finished bottom (right in the above pic), either serge the top to finish it and sew the open side shut, or sew the open side shut and then hem the top edge. I have a serger, which takes no time.
The finished edge of this pillow case had a very thick border with piping, making the two bags on the left a little heavy. This is fine unless you buy $149/pound vanilla beans. You’ll pay for the weight of the bag and at $149/pound, that can cost several dollars. But for apples, potatoes, tomatoes and so on, even the heavier bags work well. The lighter the better though.
Take your bags shopping! These heirloom tomatoes came from the farmer’s market.
If you would like some bags but don’t want to spend money or time acquiring them (and you live in the U.S.), let me know if you want two of the lightweight, sturdy bags pictured above. I’ll mail two each to the first three people who ask for them. You can either leave a comment below, tweet me or send me a message on my Facebook page.
I’m not sure what kind of fabric this is but it looks and feels nice. My kids’ dad brought it back from India a few years ago and it has sat on my fabric pile ever since.
I’m on a mission. Since I started my blog in March, I’ve given away 55 homemade produce and bulk bags. I hope I can get that up to 61 this week 🙂