I've obviously spent a lot of time in the kitchen lately, exploring thoughts about food waste, and I couldn't help staring down at "That Drawer", thinking, "Yeeeeeah, this is AWFUL."
That drawer. We all have it. You have it, I have it, our kitchens wouldn't be functional without it.
If you're like most people I know, you have a drawer next to your sink overflowing with plastic sandwich bags, Ziploc bags, aluminum foil, and Saran wrap.
But with the challenges facing our environment, I decided to revisit and streamline "That Drawer". There had to be a better way to save food without creating so much unnecessary garbage. Brace yourself for a series of That Drawer posts, friends.
And as a reminder of why eliminating single use plastic bags is so important, here are some scary numbers:
60 - plastic bags used by the average family in only 4 trips to the grocery store
1-3% - plastic bags recycled annually worldwide
6 - times more plastic than plankton in the North Pacific Ocean
5 TRILLION - plastic bags produced annually
Right as I was starting this thought process, I ran into a vendor friend at a wedding. As we were chatting, she pulled out a pretty floral cloth bag and pulled a fresh ham sandwich out of it. WHAT WITCHCRAFT WAS THIS?
I immediately went home and got on the Internet (using Ecosia, woot woot!) and discovered there exist reusable, stylish food bags to help you reduce your environmental impact in the kitchen. I was sold. And smitten!
Because I love small businesses, I got mine from a wonderful company called the Ecotopia. And frankly, this post is running after Christmas because I also got them for the entire dang clan at Moore Manor South Campus, nieces and nephews included.
Before we get into how they work and why they're better for the planet, can we just take a moment for how CUTE these things are?! The Ecotopia has about a million prints to choose from, so I was able to tailor the fabric to each person in my family - and the kids just love theirs.
They'll be the envy of the cafeteria, and my sister was thrilled to have something smaller and more collapsible than a metal bento box for snack-toting. While bento boxes are all the rage among the mom crowd, not all of us carry Kate Spade duffle bags as purses, and those things take up a lot of space. You can roll the small bags up and zip them into an interior pocket and get on with your life.
I got the fox baggies for my 9 year old niece, but I'm not going to lie: when they came in I kept them and gave her the dinosaurs instead. Is that terrible? Probably. My bad.
With three kids like my sister, you go through a LOT of plastic baggies, whether you want to or not. Snacks, school lunches, art supplies are typically shrouded in plastic bags for the average multi-kid family, and going greener doesn't automatically come to mind while trying to throw together tuna sandwiches, get the middle child to the dentist, and the oldest to ballet. (Can I get a shout out for all the busy parents?!)
Here's why these reusable bags are great, other than being absolutely adorable:
Food safe, waterproof lining
Lead and latex free
Pre-shrunk cotton exterior
FDA GRAS compliant
Washer, dishwasher, and drier safe
Phthalate and BPS/Brominate free
Are designed for multiple uses
And eventually, they save you green while you go green. (See what I did there?)
I started using mine before Costa Rica, and I love them. I actually switched my bar moisturizer to this bag at the last minute, it being somewhat melt-prone and my being headed to the tropics, and I could not be happier I did. I got home, flipped my oily bag inside out, and washed it alongside my clothes. Now it's back in That Drawer, awaiting its next return to the office filled with munchies to keep the Hanger at bay. (While I have carried plenty of "wet" food in my bags, I don't suggest pouring soup in there or trying to use them as a canteen. This post is about reducing your plastic bag usage, but it's also important to be a reasonable human, y'all.)
My favorite part about these bags, other than saving the planet, is the fox print though. I get so many compliments, I almost feel justified in stealing it from Cora's pile of presents. Almost.
I have so many more things to say about That Drawer, it's hard for me to wrap up this post without going straight into my next eco-friendly upgrade!
Bear with me, y'all. There's so much more green kitchen goodness heading your way!
*This gallery contains affiliate links. This means that if you click through and give the product a whirl, I get a tiny fee for spreading the news at no extra cost to you. This helps me offset the enormous amount of time that goes into Compost & Cava.