A life festooned by plastic bags


For a supposedly green-minded person, I have a lot of plastic bags in my life. I often refuse them at the checkout counter, but you know how it is: They enter your universe anyway.

And of course it’s good to have a few around, because they are extremely handy for certain things. But I feel like too much of our food is getting stored in plastic bags.

Martha Stewart does not like it.

Partly, this is a result of my fondness for shopping the bulk aisle. There’s less packaging, it’s cheaper and you can control the quantity you buy. I actually used to bring my own plastic bags for bulk foods, but I’ve fallen off the wagon with that. It’s just so easy to tear a new one off the roll. Then when you get it home, you have something that doesn’t work out all that well in your pantry. I don’t like those long plumes of plastic trailing upward from a little bundle of, say, walnuts.

I much prefer the look and feel of glass jars full of dry goods, but I’d like to know how more organized people manage this. Do they take the jars to the store? Or use the plastic bags just for transporting, then transfer as soon as they get home? That would be an aesthetic improvement for me, but it wouldn’t cut down on waste.

I also tend to swaddle produce in plastic shopping bags. (That’s especially true in CSA season, when we receive lots of unbagged stuff.) It’s kind of gross when you think about it, and it’s probably not optimal for shelf life. I’d love to find another way to manage greens and carrots and so on.

Who’s got a healthful, non-wasteful way to store their food?