Monday, February 23, 2009

Decreasing Nurdles- No More Plastic!

This post is part of Fight Back Friday's hosted by Food Renegade! Check it out for more awesome Food Rebel posts!

For two years my fiancĂ© and I lived in Vernon BC, nestled between three gorgeous lakes in the Okanagan Valley. We were like platypi surrounded by King Penguins... we didn't ski, hike, canoe or camp. At all. (Hence moving back to the maritimes!). While living in Vernon I did acquire a taste for good local wine, yoga outside and anything "eco". One day, while in the local tiny health food store I picked up these little cloth cotton bags called "pog-sacs". Weirdest name EVER. The reason why I bought them, the tag had the coolest colours EVER. 

These little produce-or-grain bags (pog-sacs) are made from unbleached cotton and purchased with fair wage-fair labour. At this point in my eco-career we had already become expert bring-our-own-bag people but I was still using those annoying little plastic dealeys for my veggies and fruits. These little cotton bags were something new- I no longer had to buy those silly plastic "sacs" that make my green pepper mushy and get thrown out! 

It only took a few shopping trips to realize that, well what do ya know, these little bags with the beautiful coloured tag are Kick Bum!! I could fit 5-6 apples in one mesh bag, or carrots, or even a medium sized green leaf lettuce! They breathed better in the fridge so my produce stayed fresh for longer. The kicker- they are SUPER easy to wash/dry (no special anything! WOOT). 

These little pog-sacs made the wondrous journey with us across the country and started their new life here in Halifax. I quickly realized that I needed more than just two. I wanted a whole bunch with a few solid ones for rice or nuts! I searched the city and all I have found are silly nylon mesh bags. Nylon is derived from petroleum, it is a synthetic polymer or: plastic. Nice.

Side note: Did you know that since their creation approximately 50 years ago, each and every single piece of plastic EVER made still exists (The World Without Us- awesome book). That equals about 1 billion tons of plastic. Also, us humans in the world use about 1 trillion plastic bags a year. A million bags a minute. Every minute. As far as science can tell synthetic polymers may take a thousand years to break down, even an order of magnitude (10 times=10 000 years) in the ocean. When plastic is said to "degrade" what marine biologists are finding is that they break down into tiny plastic particles (nurdles) that are being ingested by all sea animals, either killing them or passing the plastic-disease to the next predator to come along- ending with humans. 

SO- back to my pog-sacs. Very important to stop using plastic bags. 
Nylon just doesn't cut it. Finally I sucked it up and googled them. Wonders of wonders- they are actually run by a Vernonite that lived about two streets over from our first apartment overlooking Kalamalka Lake. LOL. I ordered a sampler from her even though I HATE ordering from the internet and am usually cursed. My beautiful new Lioli (love it or lose it!) pog-sacs came about a week later! YAY. They are perfect, large enough for lots of bulk rice or nuts/oats and large AND small mesh bags for potatoes, or apples or bananas. I Heart them a lot. They are different, eco and practical!

Update: Our local health-organic food store allows us to fill our grain bags with rice-granola etc, no question. Also, another Canadian company- Credo, creates mesh grain bags **IN Canada** and according to a comment left by Judy- the owner- have certified organic options. Read my post to find out more about Credo. Despite the pros, the owner of Lioli is super sweet, friendly and I prefer their solid bag options... :)



  1. thanks so much for the link!
    i saw something similar on etsy before but they were rip-stop nylon and therefore kinda weirded me out! i thought about making my own... maybe i should still follow through with that idea.
    anyhow, one day in bulk barn a salesperson told me that they do not allow customers to bring their own bags for the actual product because of cross-contamination when the scooper thing contacts your bag. maybe that is just bulk barn though. do you know anything about that?
    either way, i'm definitely going to do it up for my fruits and veggies because i really feel guilty any time i rip off one of those plastic baggies! :D:D

    P.S. i bought my first diva cup today and i am very excited!

  2. YAY DIVA CUP!!!! :)

    hmmm i'm not sure about the cross contamination- but it makes sense. I'll have to look into that at our local health food store to see if they also have that policy. ALTHOUGH- they are kinda lax with rules... since most people who work there are of the more laid back type :)

    That's a very good point- thanks! :)

    ps- i think making your own would be kick bum!!

  3. Re: becca.moon and not bringing bags. I know my local co-op allows bags to be re-used in and with the bulk bins. They even used to have a .03 discout for re-used bags.

    AND! Speaking of bags! You gave me a great idea -small cotton laundry bags for bulk produce. I've got a little one for delicates and I realized it would be the perfect thing for produce. It even has a zipper. Downside is they may not be produced locally. :( I am going to see what I can find.

    Very inspiring post!

  4. Love your blog-- glad i found you!

  5. I'm new w/the bring your own bag thing. I'm finding I love the cloth bags for groceries! Anyway, I hate those little produce bag things. The produce @ the store is always soaking wet which then goes into the plastic soaking wet.

    I found some mesh bags and bought some for the produce. It works great, but these would be great for bulk items. I find the bags I have, the bulk things could slip through.

    Thanks for the links to these great items.

  6. I made the switch to bringing my own bags a while back, but I'd never figured out a way to escape those nasty plastic produce bags. (I'm sure it's my fault for not looking hard enough. I bet a quick Google search would produce hundreds of relevant results.) Anyhow, thanks for the recommendation and for sharing this with everyone for Fight Back Fridays!

    (AKA FoodRenegade)


I love hearing from you! So I don't miss a comment, I like "pre-approving" them :)
I ask only that we stay respectful.
Also, please note that this is a personal blog and not a space for advertising your company. I reserve the right to delete "advertising" comments.

**NB: The ANONYMOUS option is the BEST way to comment if you don't have a blogger or established google/gmail account.