I'm sure you've heard of it before - you can weave plastic grocery bags into a basket. My first thoughts were - "yeah, sure and I can spend hours on a project that results in something functionally equivalent to what I started with, no thank you." Then I got to planning my garden and future farm and one thing I was to express in the highest degree is functionally simple and fast so that I can do it alone in the same hours I'd run a 9-5 and make as much. Okay, perhaps a pipe dream, but let's go with it. Now, when harvesting a share I could get all one type of item on a cart, then the next, then a third, etc. Take each load to a covered table. Wash each item individually, then sort and place the shares in their individual boxes to go to market. If that's all I had to do that day then great! But, that's not all a farmer's got to do! So, let's take out some steps. How about I harvest into a basket or two but have the basket capable of being dunked in water? Ah! there we go! then I just harvest into the baskets and dunk! Time for even a little lunch break!
All this requires a special sort of basket. One that is strong, durable, fast drying, and porous. Rubber Made is too hard and not porous. a colanders are usually too small, if large too heavy, and either brittle or heavy. A weaved basket is too expensive and likely to rot - same with all biodegradable material. Metal rusts, glass shatters- But, a basket out of plastic bags -now we're talking! it's pretty much the same stuff used to bale hay and as for the time - 2 baskets took less than a day for this novice. Yes, they took a lot of plastic bags, but I bet if you began asking grocery stores and neighbors, you'd get enough - again, the price is free. I had them in stock because we are embarrassingly atrocious at remembering to bring bags into the grocery store.
The down side-it smells like a plastic bag on steroids and it is plastic. I'm sure the scent will go away with use, but it is noteworthy. The good news is that by definition the bags are intended for food to be put in it.
I'm not going to give instructions on how to make one unless specifically requested, because that's easy to find on the web. I will give some hints that really cut-down production time: cut the bags to make loops and then loop together instead of tying. Start the braid by looping it to the binding and, once long enough, loosely tie the braid to a table leg (or equivalent) and weave the basket on one side of the knot and continue the braid on the other side. This will cut down on space use and diversify your activities. when binding, always attach to the upside-down v because that's the strongest point. Else you will have to back-weave it to previous rows. You'll see what I mean when you get to that part. Cut multiple bags at the same time and don't worry about perfectly straight cuts - you can't tell the jagged ends because it mushes together. Don't bother with needles or other fancy things, just scissors, table, and bags. Make your binding out of different colored bags than the braid so you can see it easily. Keep the braid short - even one leg shorter than the other two, so that you can move fast without the ends tangling or large hand motions.
And most of all, plastic bags aren't toys or food, so keep them out of animal (including you) mouths and off faces.
Great question! I had to test it. The heaviest things I could find were full bottles of wine. 7 filled the bag and it was under less strain than I was trying to lift it. I'm not sure how much that is in pounds. So, if the each weigh about 3 lbs, that's about 21 lbs.