Remembering to take my own bags with me when I went shopping was not an easy task. I tend to be a bit forgetful by nature, and I can’t even count the times that I walked into the grocery store only to realize that my reusable bags were at home in the porch or outside in the trunk of the car. To make sure that I never forgot the bags, I started implementing rules about bags being returned to the trunk of the car as soon as the groceries were unpacked. I also began carrying reusable bags in my purse as well so that I always had one close at hand.
Nowadays, I have pretty much finally mastered the practice of bringing reusable bags to the grocery store. I happily fill my very own reusable bags with groceries when I shop, content in the knowledge that I am doing my small part to help the environment and minimize waste.
Then…I get home and unpack my groceries. Suddenly, my counter is covered with the many thin plastic bags that hold fruits and vegetables, and my eco-friendly efforts seem wasted. How ironic it is that the most natural foods available are carried and packaged in the most unnatural of materials. Since I had worked so hard to switch to reusable grocery bags, I absolutely hated using the plastic produce sacks. At the same time, I really had no other alternative.
Fortunately, I wasn’t the only one frustrated by plastic produce bags. Josee and Greg Bailey, owners and innovators of Steward Bags, understood all too well my distaste with the hypocrisy of putting a disposable plastic produce bag into a reusable shopping bag. Their solution was to create a reusable, certified organic produce sack with the capability of eliminating the need for plastic produce bags once and for all. I was lucky enough to be given a chance to test their unique and useful product for myself.
I received a standard pack of five 10” by 12” Steward Bags to review. The first feature I noticed was the convenient drawstring closure at the top of the bags. I had always had problems with produce falling out of the flimsy plastic bags, but it was obvious from the first glance that I wouldn’t have that problem with Steward Bags.
The sturdy netting of these organic cotton bags is the perfect choice for produce since it leaves the fruit or vegetable visible for checkout. I was also pleased to see that the handmade bags were fair wage and fair labor produced in India. The cotton netting of the bag was so durable that I couldn’t believe it would stretch much beyond its actual size, but I knew that I would have the chance to test that on my next shopping trip.
I packed my Steward Bags in my purse to be sure I would have them when I needed them. The next time my family was shopping for produce, I pulled them out. The first item into a Steward Bag was a bunch of broccoli. I loved how quick and easy closing the drawstring bag was. A quick tug on the knot at the end of the bag and my broccoli was completely secure, yet still visible thanks to the netting.
I tossed a bunch of bananas into the next bag and put it in the cart. My first two produce purchases had already saved two plastic bags from a trip to the landfill. But with the large appetites in my family, I knew that I had to test the maximum capacity of a Steward Bag as well.
My family favors Spartan apples, so I decided to fill a Steward Bag with that variety and see how many I could fit into one bag. I was absolutely flabbergasted when I was able to put 18 apples into a single bag! My previous assessment of the stretch of these bags was completely off. When I had tugged on the bag to test the give of the fabric, I hadn’t found any noticeable elasticity, but as soon as the bag had the weight of the produce added, it easily stretched as much as was needed.
Because these bags are built to be durable, the weave of the netting is quite small. I was curious to see if the clerk would have any trouble seeing what kind of produce I had in my Steward Bags. She quickly and efficiently rang through all three bags without having to study them to determine what they contained, and was even able to see what variety of apple I had purchased!
Steward Bags carries both standard and large sized produce sacks. They also offer a multi-functional European Market Bag and a line of gorgeous limited-edition canvas totes featuring the work of artists Tracy-Lynn Chisholm and Emily MacLeod. Every item offered by Steward Bags is made of certified organic cotton and is produced through fair trade and fair labour practices.
Since receiving my Steward Bags, I feel so much better about my grocery shopping. I no longer have to deal with the frustration of ineffective and wasteful plastic produce sacks. I also get the added satisfaction of knowing that every aspect of my grocery shopping is as eco-friendly as possible. If you’ve longing to say goodbye to plastic produce sacks too, then check out Steward Bags today!
Buy It: To purchase your own Steward Bags products, shop online now
Win It: One very lucky reader is going to win a standard pack of five produce sacks and a canvas art tote from Steward Bags
To Enter (mandatory): Visit Steward Bags and tell me about something you liked or something you learned there
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Giveaway ends 11:59 pm CST on June 21, 2010. Open to US and Canada