Reuseable Bulk Bags from Kootsac

kootsac reuseable bulk bagsI love shopping the bulk bins at our local co-op grocery but I hate using the plastic bags they provide.  Sometimes I’ll take in jars or tupperware containers to fill up but it gets a little bulky and it can be challenging to find appropriate sized containers for things like flour or rice that I like to stock up on.  So I was very excited when my best friend gave me some reusable bulk food bags for Christmas, although it took me awhile to remember to actually *take* them with me to the grocery store.

Pretty cute, eh?  They’re sold on etsy.com through the seller kootsac based out of the Kootenays in British Columbia.  (I had to look it up but it turns out that the Kootenays are a section of the Rocky Mountains that comprises the watershed of the Kootenay River, named after an indigenous people also known as the Ktunaxa.)  The sacks I have are made out of nylon and are machine washable, which is awesome.  Kootsac also sells sacks made out of natural silk for about the same price.  Nylon is not the most natural substance in the world but I think it makes a great plastic substitute.  The only drawback I’ve noticed so far is that these sacks breathe a little more than plastic does so my granola is getting a little less crisp than I like it.  However, I probably ought to put it in a glass container anyway so I can then reuse the bag to buy more bulk stuff.

I love finding cool solutions like these to every day eco-problems, although I sometimes worry I’ll focus too much on buying cool eco-products instead of just living simply.  But I think these are a worthwhile addition to my home kitchen and hope to see some more great suggestions at ecoetsy.  Ooh, I like these flannel sandwich holders that can be used to replace ziplock baggies and these snazzy moonpads and perhaps I need a wallet made out of lawn chair webbing…

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5 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    cinco said,

    May 19, 2009 @ 1:42 pm

    I am so glad you like them! Mom is a fan, too. But they aren’t meant for storage as they’re not airtight–your mice could get in there easily. I know how you feel about buying stuff vs. living simply, so I’m trying to only replace things. I’ve been replacing dying tupperware lately with glass and the Preserve brand (they’re in the Whole Foods near me) of recycled plastics, but I have to say I don’t like the plastic lids on the glass ones or the screw top on the Preserve ones. Woe.

  2. 2

    Maggie said,

    May 19, 2009 @ 2:21 pm

    I got some pyrex dishes at Kohl’s and think they’re really great. The lids are some sort of plastic-rubber that seems to hold up pretty well. I think I have a couple different brands; one has lids that sort of stretch on to fit while the other has little flaps that fold down and snap into place. I like them both and feel much better about microwaving those than anything plasticky.

  3. 3

    Heather said,

    May 29, 2009 @ 1:05 pm

    I’ve been thinking of making some reusable bags for myself. I have some sheer fabric that I think would work pretty well.

    The idea of re-usable sandwich bags are great, although I’m a little weirded out by the concept of flannel. Seems kinda — hairy — to me. I think some basic muslin would work though, or any simple cotton. I have to admit that prints are fun!

  4. 4

    Abby said,

    June 19, 2009 @ 7:41 am

    Maybe this is a lame thing to be asking, but how do they compare weight-wise to the plastic bags? My grocery store doesn’t have a system to enter odd tare weights, and while paying a few extra cents here and there wouldn’t be a huge deal, it might be enough to dissuade me from using the bags on expensive per pound things like dries mushrooms and pine nuts and spices.

  5. 5

    Maggie said,

    June 21, 2009 @ 9:53 am

    I don’t think it’s a lame question at all. Unfortunately, my home scale isn’t very useful for weights less than an ounce. It’s a dial scale and neither the plastic bag nor the nylon bag do anything more than make the needle twitch.

    However, I’m pretty confident that neither bag weighs more than 1/3 of an ounce, which would be 1/48 of a pound, or approximately 0.02 pounds. So if you were buying fancy spices at $30/lb, you would be paying 6 cents for the bag. Cheap bulk rice at $2/lb would have a bag cost of 0.5 cent per bag.

    So I think the worst case scenario is that the nylon bag weighs 0.02 pounds more than the plastic bag, costing 6 cents per bag for higher priced items and less than a penny for lower priced items. However, it’s also possible that both bags weigh exactly the same and I just can’t tell with my scale. I’ll see if I can’t sneak over and use the co-ops scale sometime although I think they also round to the nearest 0.01 pound so it probably doesn’t make much of a difference.

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