Among the odd-ish waste reducing, health enhancing things that we do now is try to figure out how to stop using disposable plastic - especially plastic bags and plastic wrap. I'm currently washing the plastic bags I have and not buying those handy ziplocs. Instead we're trying out some brown wax paper bag thingies from Arbor Farms that my friend Heidi told me about. They remind me of the wax paper packages my mom made for my lunchtime sandwiches in grade school. I loved those. The anti-plastic campaign is actually going pretty well. I would not have suspected this, but it turns out that you can live without plastic bags and even plastic wrap and there are alternatives that people have been using for veritable centuries.
In 2003 a National Geographic article estimated that between 500 billion and a trillion plastic bags were consumed worldwide every year. And an article last year in Salon talks about all the ways Plastic Bags Are Killing Us, including how sea turtles think that plastic bags look so much like their favorite jellyfish snacks, that eating bags is one of the main causes of death for these amazing creatures. Not to mention that there is a raft of plastic crap in the Northern Pacific Gyre that is twice the size of Texas.
Anyways, I'm always glad to see that shoppers at the Ann Arbor Farmer's Market tend to have a very fine array of re-usable grocery conveyances, from canvas bags to picnic baskets to wheeled shopping carts. But I was surprised to learn that Farmer John of Our Family Farm has given up plastic bags completely. He says he used over 3000 bags last year for his produce. But this year, members of his CSA get a handsome (US made) canvas shopping bag with the Our Family Farm logo on it (designed by the great Eat Local Food company!).
With Our Family Farm, you put your own weekly kit of produce together. I think the way it works is that if you don't like beets, take some extra spinach. And, you get eggs with your share. So everything goes into the bag and you bring it back again next week. Now that is pretty groovy. I hope the CSA farms start competing for best bags. Farmer John also has the bags for sale. It's $12.00 for a good-looking, sturdy, washable bag that you can put over your shoulder. Which seems like a pretty good deal. And I do love the deal.