Reducing Your Use of Plastic Produce Bags

Buying produce at the grocery store often requires those awful plastic produce bags that are hard to clean and reuse because they are so flimsy. There are many options to reduce your use – find one that works for you:

1.  Choose paper produce bags.

2.  Take a large basket, bag, or wagon to the farmer’s market and store produce there until you get home.

3.  Encourage your local grocery store to carry the BioBag– a biodegradable, compostable produce bag. Compared with plastic, they have a greenhouse effect reduction by up to 49%.

4.  One of choices I’ve made to get rid of plastic produce bags is to use reusable bags. I’ve been using Bag the Habit bags, courtesy of Abe’s Market, for several months now. They are heavy duty – they’ll hold several potatoes – without breaking or stretching. They have a wide opening for bigger items like a head of lettuce and a draw string to keep everything inside. Not only are they great for putting your produce in, but you can also use them for your bulk purchases like beans, raisins or pretzels. My only complaint is that I don’t have more of them!

5.  If you’re crafty, make your own reusable bags with these instructions from Mother Earth News or Instructables.

If you do use plastic produce bags, here are some options to reuse them:

  • Packing material
  • Pick up doggy doodoo
  • Put in the diaper bag for dirty diapers
  • Line garbage cans

If you don’t want to reuse them, make sure you dispose of them properly by recycling them. If your curbside recycler doesn’t take these bags, many grocery stores take them back like Fred Meyer, Walmart, and Whole Foods – search for local locations here. Every couple months, I drop off any plastic bags I have ( shopping, produce or packaging ). The collection bin is usually near the entrance.

 

Lead Found in Many Children’s Juices and Packaged Fruits

Let me start by saying that NO LEVEL OF EXPOSURE TO LEAD IS CONSIDERED SAFE. So it was incredibly frustrating to read the news this morning that the Environmental Law Foundation “ELF”, found lead in children’s fruit juices and packaged fruits. And not just in one brand or a few brands, but in a lot of brands and many of them organic!   Unfortunately, there is likely lead in many other products containing fruit but these are the only ones currently tested by ELF.  Even more frustrating is that while by buying organic, we may avoid pesticides, it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re avoiding lead.  UGH.   This is the kind of stuff that just makes people give up.  No win situation.

At this point, it doesn’t sound like anyone is saying where the lead comes from.  It could be the fruit or the manufacturing process. When we know more, we’ll pass it on.  In the meantime, stay away from the products listed below and pass this information on to your family and friends.  You could also send an email to your favorite brands expressing your concerns.    

 APPLE JUICE    

  • Beech Nut 100% Apple Juice
  • Earth’s Best Organics Apple Juice
  • First Street 100% Apple Cider from concentrate
  • First Street Apple Juice from concentrate 100% juice
  • Full Circle Organic Apple Juice
  • Gerber 100% Juice Apple Juice
  • Great Value 100% No Sugar Added Apple Juice
  • Hansen’s Natural Apple Juice
  • Kroger 100% Juice Apple Juice
  • Langers Apple Juice 100% Juice
  • Minute Maid Juice Apple – 100% Apple Juice
  • Motts 100% Apple Juice
  • O Organics Organic Unfiltered Apple Juice Not From Concentrate
  • Old Orchard 100% Apple Juice
  • Parade 100% Juice Apple
  • Raley’s Premium 100% Apple Juice not from Concentrate
  • Safeway 100% Juice Apple Cider
  • Safeway 100% Juice Apple Juice
  • Stater Bros. 100% Juice Apple Juice
  • Sunny Select 100% Apple Juice
  • Trader Joe’s Certified Organic Apple Juice, pasteurized
  • Tree Top 100% Juice Apple Cider
  • Walgreens Apple Juice from concentrate 100% juice
  • Walnut Grove Market 100% Apple Juice

GRAPE JUICE  

  • 365 Everyday Value Organic 100% Juice Concord Grapes
  • First Street Grape Juice from concentrate 100% juice
  • Gerber 100% Juice – White Grape Juice
  • Great Value 100% Grape Juice
  • Kedem Concord Grape Juice 100% pure grape juice
  • Kroger Grape Juice 100% Juice
  • Langers Grape Juice (Concord)
  • Langers Red Grape Juice
  • O Organics Organic Grape Juice from concentrate
  • R.W. Knudsen Just Concord Grape Juice
  • R.W. Knudsen Organic Just Concord
  • Raley’s 100% Grape Juice
  • Safeway 100% Juice Grape Juice
  • Safeway Organic Grape Juice
  • Santa Cruz Organic Concord Grape Juice
  • Stater Bros. 100% Juice Grape Juice
  • Stater Bros. 100% Juice White Grape Juice
  • Sunny Select 100% Grape Juice
  • Trader Joe’s Concord Grape Juice made from fress pressed organic concord grapes
  • Tree Top 100% Juice, Grape
  • Valu Time Grape Drink from Concentrate
  • Walgreens Grape Juice from concentrate 100% juice
  • Walnut Acres Organic Concord Grape
  • Walnut Grove Market Grape Juice
  • Welch’s 100% Grape Juice (from Welch’s Concord Grapes)
  • Welch’s 100% Red Grape Juice from Concentrate

PACKAGED PEARS  

  • Best Yet Bartlett Pear Halves in Heavy Syrup
  • Del Monte Diced Pears in Light Syrup
  • Del Monte Pear Halves in Heavy Syrup
  • Del Monte Pear Halves, Bartlett Pears in 100% real fruit juice from concentrate
  • Dole Pear Halves in Juice
  • First Street Diced Pears
  • First Street Sliced Bartlett
  • Full Circle Organic Bartlett Pear Slices
  • Gerber 3rd Foods Pears [Baby Food]
  • Great Value Bartlett Pear Halves in 100% Juice
  • Great Value Bartlett Sliced Pears in Heavy Syrup
  • Market Pantry Diced Pears in Light syrup
  • Maxx Value Pear Pieces in Light Syrup
  • Polar Pear Halves in light syrup
  • S&W Natural Style Pear Slices in Juice
  • S&W Sun Pears Premium
  • Safeway Lite Bartlett Pear Halves in Pear Juice
  • Safeway Pear Halves in Light Juice
  • Sunny Select Pear Halves in Pear Juice
  • Trader Joe’s Pear Halves in white grape juice
  • Truitt Brothers Pacific NorthWest Bartlett Pear Halves, in pear juice from concentrate
  • Valu Time Irregular Bartlett Pear Slices
  • Walnut Grove Market Natural Pear Halves in Heavy Syrup

PACKAGED PEACHES    

  • Best Yet Yellow Cling Peach Halves in Heavy Syrup
  • Del Monte Freestone Peach Slices in 100 % Juice
  • Del Monte Sliced Yellow Cling Peaches in 100 % Juice
  • Del Monte Sliced Yellow Cling Peaches in heavy syrup
  • Dole Diced Peaches, Yellow Cling in light syrup
  • First Street Yellow Cling Peaches in heavy syrup
  • Gerber 3rd Foods Peaches [Baby Food]
  • Golden Star Peach Halves in Heavy Syrup
  • Great Value Yellow Cling Sliced Peaches
  • Libby’s Yellow Cling Peach Slices No Sugar Added (Sweetened with Splenda)
  • Market Pantry Diced Peaches in light syrup
  • Polar Peach Slices
  • Raley’s Sliced Yellow Cling Peaches in Heavy Syrup
  • S&W Natural Style Yellow Cling Peach Slices in Lightly Sweetened Juice
  • S&W Premium Peach Halves Yellow Cling Peaches in light syrup
  • Safeway Diced Peaches in Light Syrup
  • Safeway Yellow Cling Peach Slices in Pear Juice
  • Simple Value Yellow Cling Peaches in light syrup
  • Stater Bros. Yellow Cling Peach Halves
  • Stater Bros. Yellow Cling Sliced Peaches in heavy syrup
  • Sunny Select Yellow Cling Sliced Peaches in Pear Juice
  • Trader Joe’s Yellow Cling Peach Halves in while grape juice
  • Valu Time Yellow Cling Peach Slices
  • Walnut Grove Market Natural Peaches Sliced Yellow Cling in Light Syrup

FRUIT COCKTAIL  

  • Best Yet Chunky Mixed Fruit in Pear Juice
  • Chef’s Review Fruit Cocktail
  • Del Monte 100% Juice Fruit Cocktail
  • Del Monte Chunky Mixed Fruit in 100 % Juice (peach, pear, grape, etc.)
  • Del Monte Fruit Cocktail in Heavy Syrup (peach, pear, grapes)
  • Del Monte Fruit Cocktail No Sugar Added
  • Del Monte Lite Fruit Cocktail in Extra Light Syrup
  • Dole Mixed Fruit in Light Syrup
  • Eating Right Fruit Cocktail packed in Sucralose
  • Eating Right No Sugar Fruit Cocktail
  • First Street Fruit Cocktail in heavy syrup
  • Golden Star Mixed Fruit in Light Syrup (peach, pineapple, pears)
  • Great Value No Sugar Added Fruit Cocktail
  • Kroger Fruit Cocktail in Heavy Syrup
  • Kroger Lite Fruit Cocktail in Pear Juice
  • Kroger Value Fruit Mix (Peaches, pears, grapes)
  • Libby’s Fruit Cocktail No Sugar Added (Sweetened with Splenda)
  • Market Pantry Mixed Fruit in light syrup
  • Maxx Value Fruit Mix in Light Syrup (peach, pear, grape)
  • Mrs. Brown’s Fruit Cocktail in Heavy Syrup (peaches, pears, grapes)
  • Polar Mixed Fruit
  • Raley’s Fruit Cocktail in Heavy Syrup
  • S&W Natural Style Fruit Cocktail in Lightly Sweetened Juice
  • Safeway Fruit Cocktail in Heavy Syrup
  • Safeway Light Sugar Fruit Cocktail
  • Safeway Lite Fruit Cocktail in Pear Juice
  • Stater Bros. Fruit Cocktail in Heavy Syrup
  • Sunny Select Fruit Cocktail in Juice
 

My Eco-Friendly Laundry Routine

 

With the exception of detergents, my laundry routine was eco-friendly before I even wanted to be eco-friendly.

WASHING

I sort all the laundry into piles in the following order:

  1. Adult or child
  2. White, dark or color
  3. Gentle or Heavy

While the sorting in itself isn’t all that eco-friendly, I do make sure that the piles are large enough to fill up the washer. No use in running half a load. If they aren’t, I’ll combine piles to make a load big enough.

I wash almost everything in COLD water. It saves $$ and energy and IT WORKS. Promise. The only things I wash in hot water are sheets, towels and anything with poop on it (thank you to my kiddos).

I use eco-friendly detergents like Seventh Generation or Earth Friendly Products. I don’t add fabric softener to the cycle but if you wanted to, Seventh Generation makes an eco-friendly version. I rarely use stain removers or bleach and if I do, they are…you guessed it. Eco-friendly stain removers or bleach. If I think something might be stained, I wash it at least once or twice to see if it will come out on its own. It generally does. If it won’t, I will use a stain remover, like BabyGanics or an eco-friendly bleach like Seventh Generation and voila – almost everything comes out.  We do occasionally having a clothing casualty but it’s rare.

DRYING

Almost all clothing gets thrown directly into the dryer for 10 – 20 minutes of light drying, enough to take out the excess water and wrinkles. I never use fabric softener sheets. Then I hang *almost everything* on a drying rack or on a hanger. I consider this to be the most important part of my laundry routine for several reasons:

  • I rarely have to iron since everything is dried hanging and comes out wrinkle free.
  • Clothes don’t shrink. Believe me, I’ve compared brand new dried in the dryer pants to brand new dried on the hanging rack pants and there was a whole size difference.
  • Far less wear and tear. Colors don’t fade. Dark blue jeans stay dark blue. The fibers don’t get as ruffled and worn looking.
  • There is no static cling.
  • We save tons of energy and less wear and tear on our dryer.

I’m not going to lie, this does take more time than just throwing everything in the dryer but seriously, most of our clothes are wrinkle free and I could pass down my kids clothes for years because they stay in such great shape. I’ve even had friends comment on what great condition their clothes are in.

For sheets and towels, I use Seventh Generation Fabric Softener sheets. They are paper so once they are used, I can recycle them – LOVE THAT! I also dry sheets and towels in the dryer all the way. If I had the space for a laundry line outside, I would definitely put them on the line outside. The sunshine dries whites whiter!

There you have it – my laundry routine. Not as simple as most but has lots of great benefits! What is YOUR laundry routine?