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Cloth Produce Bags

We have gotten into a good habit and use our reusable bags www.1bagatatime.com at the store every single time now! The bags from there (unlike our mish-mash of tote bags) really work well for us (and the baggers) since they are so much like paper bags and stand on their own. We literally get asked where we got them EVERY time.
Anyhow, now that it's such a habit... we'd like to start using cloth produce bags, as well.
http://www.reusablebags.com/store/ecobags®-reusable-organic-cotton-produce-sacks-p-747.html
We are heavy fresh produce consumers... imagine the entire cart being full of fruit and veg and then a couple of soy milks and some frozen boca burgers. (That's probably you too though, huh? :D) We feel more guilty about using plastic produce bags than we ever did about plastic grocery bags (which all get recycled but at least the gorcery bags were getting reused a bit first... not used for 1 hour max like the produce bags! >:()
My problem is this:
From this thread I know that the tare weight of the cloth bags is slightly more than a regular bag. http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=15781.0
But, the cashiers do not weigh my produce.... at our grocery store you weigh your own in the produce section and print and stick a price sticker on. There is no way (that I can figure out) to 'tare' the cloth bag since the tare is preset and there is a line of people waiting behind you to weigh their items. Do I just forget it and weigh it heavy?  :(

The other issue is we buy so MUCH produce I would have to get at least 15 bags I think, which would be expensive!
Any ideas? Should I make my own bags??

One of my summer goals is to make my own produce bags (we've been reusing the plastic ones, but they're so flimsy that they often don't make it through more than 2 uses).

I found this pattern:
http://www.circleoflifefoundation.org/action/arts/bag/index.htm
These are pretty, but I'm not sure I would trust tulle for some veggies because they might poke through, but you could always find some really lightweight muslin (this would likely be cheaper and would probably weigh a bit less than the ones you were looking at). http://www.wellnaturally.ca/everything_else/muslinbag.html

I'm excited to one day be free from plastic bags! Good luck!

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i wouldn't trust tulle at all-- that stuff rips easily! i would hunt around for a light canvas. right now i have some bags from oranges (the light plastic nets) that work well.  you can find that really silly "lace" fabric. some of the heavier versions might make a nice bag.

is it possible to weight produce outside of the bag and then put it in a bag? i do that at the co-op without problems.

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If you make your own bags, you can take one of their bags for weighing purposes.  Weigh one produce item and then transfer to your own bag.  Then reuse the bag for the next produce item.  Wasting one bag would be better than taking 15 bags home.  The people behind you in line will just have to learn patience!  ;) 

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is it possible to weight produce outside of the bag and then put it in a bag? i do that at the co-op without problems.

Ah HA! DERF me! I can do that and just pile the produce up in a grocery bag that I already have and stick ALL the sticker on the outside of that bag!
I will do that for now!

thanks for the pattern kbuettne!! very cool ideas there! too pretty for us though! DH would feel silly using those i think. heehee but i will use ideas from that pattern!
i was going to make my bags 14x14
I was going to do linen bags. http://www.fabrics-store.com i don't know if the linen here is the cheapest or best or anything but it's where i was looking. :)

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I have not given up my intention to make bags out of old jeans. Here I go to a mom and pop fruit store and have finally trained him to make the trad Spanish cone to weigh my produce, then transfer to my canvas bag. No, I don't care that the lemons are mixing with the apples and the cauliflower and that cabbage! If there's anything delicate like grapes, the paper cone protects them long enough to get home.

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As the resident sewer sewer (is in sewage and as in sew), I would not trust tuille either, but tuille is wedding veil net.  You can get just plain netting which is coarser and less likely to tear.  I mean, I can take and rip tuille with my hands, but netting I can't.  Two layers of netting and I think you have it.

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That pattern is real nice, but WHY????  There is nothing wrong with just making a small pillowcase type of deal, no bias tape (that crap is rather expensive), no drawstrings, no pinch cinch clip and less work.  Look at the basic plastic baggie.  It is just an open sack, not a designer doohickey.  I'd not want to put that kind of work into something that basic and destructable.

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...is it possible to weight produce outside of the bag and then put it in a bag? i do that at the co-op without problems.

That's exactly what we do with most of ours.

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Jennifer -

Congrats on becoming even more earth friendly!  I have a couple resuable bags that I bring with me to the store every time now, and all but one are really flimsy and falling apart...  Are the bags from "onebagatatime" pretty sturdy? You said that they stand up on their own but do they kind of break down over time?  I have kind of had that problem with bags in the past...  Anyway I am looking to buy some new ones so any good sturdy ones that anyone can recommend would be nice!  Thanks!  ;D

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Their website says the bags last up to 2 years. We use canvas bags which don't stand up on their own and aren't very stylish-looking but we've been using them for 20 years. 8)

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I can always count on you to reply to my posts BookMama  :)

I guess if canvas bags do the job then there is no sense in replacing them right?  By the way, I just read your profile.  I am sure I have read it before, but I saw that you recently crossed over to veganism.  I go back and forth between lacto-ovo and vegan.  Even when not a strict vegan, I consume eggs only every once in a while and dairy pretty much never.  I think this is part of my transition to full time veganism.  Your children are very lucky they were raised vegetarian.  Actually I can tell they are very lucky to have you as a mom!  I wished my parents cared even a little bit about the environment.  Although I would never say this to them, sometimes I feel as if I was born into the wrong family.  I am sure a lot of people (especially younger ones on this site) can relate to how I am feeling...  Sorry for getting way off topic here...  Anyway, thanks for always replying to my posts.  Can I think of you as my VegWeb mom?  ;)

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Does anyone use their own containers to buy bulk nuts, pasta, etc.?  I hate using plastic bags!  I think that the small health food store I visit would allow it but Whole Foods, Wild Oats?  Anyone try it?

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I actually just reuse the plastic bag, and the twistie tie thing you write on, when I buy from the bins at Wild Oats and Whole Foods.

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Does anyone use their own containers to buy bulk nuts, pasta, etc.?  I hate using plastic bags!  I think that the small health food store I visit would allow it but Whole Foods, Wild Oats?  Anyone try it?

i do, at my local co-op. i don't know if you can use them at WF/WO. i haven't seen anything at those stores when i've been that suggests you can. my co-op has signs up all over about their "home containers" policy. i know there was an issue with the health department  about home containers, something about food contamination from dirty containers. we have to take ours to the CS desk to have them inspected and tared.

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I can always count on you to reply to my posts BookMama   :)

I guess if canvas bags do the job then there is no sense in replacing them right?  By the way, I just read your profile.  I am sure I have read it before, but I saw that you recently crossed over to veganism.  I go back and forth between lacto-ovo and vegan.  Even when not a strict vegan, I consume eggs only every once in a while and dairy pretty much never.  I think this is part of my transition to full time veganism.  Your children are very lucky they were raised vegetarian.  Actually I can tell they are very lucky to have you as a mom!  I wished my parents cared even a little bit about the environment.  Although I would never say this to them, sometimes I feel as if I was born into the wrong family.  I am sure a lot of people (especially younger ones on this site) can relate to how I am feeling...  Sorry for getting way off topic here...  Anyway, thanks for always replying to my posts.  Can I think of you as my VegWeb mom?   ;)

Awww, kendrakat, how flattering! Thanks--and sure, you can think of me as your VegWeb mom. ;) :) I sort of thought of myself as the VegWeb grandma anyway.

I know what you mean about feeling like you were born into the wrong family. That would be me AND bookpapa. Sometimes I just shake my head and wonder where we came from.  :D

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Thanks BookMama!    :)

I really do feel that I can relate to everyone here on VegWeb much more than I can my own family...  Perhaps this is a reason I am on here so much lately!

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thought this site was pretty cool! 25 reasons to go reusable. I know I'm preaching to the choir, but maybe you can pass this along to your plastic bag-toting friends and relatives!

http://www.reusethisbag.com/25-reasons-to-go-reusable.asp

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Thanks so much for the link on reusable produce bags.  I just ordered 4 large and 4 small.  If they are amazing, my sister and niece will be getting some for Christmas.

I would love to say I could make my own but sewing on a button is a challenge for me! :-)

As it appears they will last for years and years, a good investment for our planet.

I read all of the comments and many people stated that they weighed stuff before in plastic and then with the bags.  The weight difference was next to none.  I know my grocery store won't be able to change their tare weight.  I'm OK with that.

Actually, I gave my dad and his partner Klara some reusable grocery bags that my store sold for 99 cents.  They use them!!!!!!  So if these bags are truly great, I will also get some for them for Christmas.  Totally hard to shop for and these sound so environmetally sound.

I also spend more time at the grocery store trying to open the damn plastic bags.  Takes longer than filling them.

What totally upsets me is many fruits and veggies already come wrapped in plastic.  Grapes, celery, some organic bananas.  I wish companies would stop doing that.  Especially with grapes as I like to buy small quantities of organic grapes.  A little bunch for me and my parrot.  They usually put a huge amount in the bag.

Can't wait to get these bags and will report back once I get them and use them.

Shipping to Canada was not outrageous.  $8.95
Veg On!
Di

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Why do you need a produce bag at all? Even buying the reusable bags takes up resources, and more than likely we all have a ton of suitable bags already. I think that the trend towards reusable bags is great, but it's kind of a gimmick to be labeling everything as a shopping or produce bag to make us think that we need it.

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Why do you need a produce bag at all? Even buying the reusable bags takes up resources, and more than likely we all have a ton of suitable bags already. I think that the trend towards reusable bags is great, but it's kind of a gimmick to be labeling everything as a shopping or produce bag to make us think that we need it.

I agree. For most of our produce, we just stick it in the basket...then it all goes in our one big box. For fruit (lots of single items), I just reuse the regular plastic produce bags. MAKING the reusable bags does take up resources. There are plenty of bags in the world!

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