Win a copy of Straw Bale Building Details this week in the Straw Bale House forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Anne Miller
  • Mike Jay
  • Jocelyn Campbell
stewards:
  • Devaka Cooray
  • Burra Maluca
  • Joseph Lofthouse
garden masters:
  • Dave Burton
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Mike Barkley
  • Shawn Klassen-Koop
  • Pearl Sutton

How to give away veggies without using plastic?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 1
2
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I searched to see if i could find anything previously, but am having no luck! I'm trying to think up an easy, sustainable and cheap way to give out excess veggies to my friends, family, neighbors, etc.

Usually i just use plastic ziploc baggies but it is driving me nuts.
it makes me feel super guilty, as it should.

I've played with the ideas of thrifting baskets for larger produce and maybe making envelopes for smaller (example - cherry tomatoes) out of newspaper?

But neither of those feel very good to me either. Idk.

How do you give away your veggies?

Thanks!
 
pollinator
Posts: 909
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
38
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I just reuse plastic Walmart bags. They can always be recycled later.
 
Posts: 92
12
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Re-purposed containers from the grocery store.  Cereal bags, cardboard boxes, coffee cannisters etc.
 
gardener
Posts: 2293
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
145
forest garden trees urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Aluminum foil,  if you simply dislike plastic.
Cloth,  if you don't want to use disposables.
 
gardener
Posts: 2375
Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
401
forest garden trees woodworking
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You could take a weekend and go garage saling, or go to one church rummage sale. If your area is anything like mine, you’ll find an infinite volume of old glass/ceramic/china dishes. The plain/ugly ones that don’t match can be bought very cheap (nickles, dimes, quarters.) Pick shapes that are useful (bowls, mugs) and distribute your stuff in those. I often see even legit large  decorative bowls for fifty cents, maybe cracked or chipped — wouldn’t that be worth it if you were giving away an armload of nice produce?
 
master steward
Posts: 2518
Location: USDA Zone 8a
605
bee dog food preservation greening the desert hunting cooking
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When you do your grocery shopping, ask for them to be in paper grocery bags.  Then you will have lots of bags to give veggies away to friends.

You could also use cardboard boxes and ask friends to supply something to put the veggies in when you hand them to them.
 
Posts: 6842
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
888
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Lot's of great ideas here.  The only one I can think of to add to is using cloth as William mentions, either sewn into simple bags or just large squares bundled around the produce and tied at the top.  I am always on the look out for big chunks of muslin and other undyed natural fiber fabric at the thrift stores...light weight curtains, sheets, etc.  The simplest could even be unhemmed but hemmed and finished as a kitchen towel would be handy also.

If you do this often maybe they could provide the reusable bags when they pick up the produce?
 
steward
Posts: 4095
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
1200
  • Likes 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

I often say to people, "I'll loan you my basket for long enough to go to your car to unload.".  So they go home on the floor of the vehicle without a container.

I often say, "I recycle my berry baskets", or "Please bring the pots back", or "I'm only selling the vegetables, not the containers".

I have recycled plastic bags available, but I let people ask for them, rather than volunteering them. I supply paper bags for things that really need to be in a bag.

I encourage people to bring their own containers.

In many cases, a shopping bag is just a social decoration -- something people do without thinking.
 
Posts: 89
Location: Missouri Ozarks
14
building goat homestead
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A roll of brown butcher paper and fold up your own sacks. Probably the most economically and ecologically friendly way to put it in something "new" aside from weaving baskets out of some local plant/tree/waste.

Asking them to bring their own bag or container is the best way. Saving whatever bags you get from the store is the easiest, cheapest and probably the most common way.  

 
Posts: 30
5
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you've got larger things, often liquor stores will let you take the cardboard boxes that the bottles come in. They are very sturdy and generally pretty clean. I've also used them while moving for books!
 
garden master
Posts: 921
Location: Maine, zone 5
226
food preservation forest garden homestead solar trees wood heat
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Natasha Flue wrote:If you've got larger things, often liquor stores will let you take the cardboard boxes that the bottles come in. They are very sturdy and generally pretty clean. I've also used them while moving for books!




Natasha, you created a picture in my mind of a dozen zucchinis packed in a wine box.  If it was zucchini season I would have taken a picture of that, but since it's not I googled it and found nothing!!!  I am shocked.  You might have just started a new thing for people trying to get rid of zucchinis....put them in a wine box, leave them on the front steps, ring the doorbell and run.  They will be excited to bring them into the house!
 
Posts: 339
Location: Australia, New South Wales. Köppen: Cfa (Humid Subtropical), USDA: 10/11
75
cat chicken fish forest garden homestead hugelkultur cooking transportation trees urban woodworking
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That's one of many excuses I use to justify drinking beer and wine - it comes in a box that will be used for lots of purposes.

Problem is, the system only works when the cartons are emptied ... the things we sacrifice to ensure environmental sustainability!

We wrap things up in newspaper, held in place with either a recycled elastic band or piece of tape, more often than not nothing is needed because they'd be stacked tightly in a carton.

However, old sheets, pillow cases, tea towels, even old blankets could be cut up and sewed to form bags - like those once used to hold flour, etc. Vegetables/herbs prone to wilting could be wrapped in damp newspaper and put in a blanket bag for insulation on hot days.

We get a fair bit of junk mail - glossy supermarket stuff, local community newspapers. They make good packages because the paper is strong and the gloss provides some water resistance.
 
pioneer
Posts: 148
Location: nevada zone7
25
books cat chicken fiber arts homestead kids tiny house
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think this is a great idea, knit or crochet plastic recycled bags
https://youtu.be/gf1T3QC2ysg
 
Posts: 62
Location: Rockwall, TX
5
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Knew a lady at the Greenville Farmers Market (Greenville, TX) who would buy a bale of old tee shirts and turn them into "T" bags. She would cut out the collar and sleeves to make handles then sew up the bottom of the shirt. If they get dirty they just go in the wash. I've been doing that myself and also turn old jeans into bags. I turn the jeans inside-out and sew across just above the crotch. I then turn them right side out and attach handles using old straps, belts, strips of denim or what ever I have that is handy and free. I then rip the seams on the legs, sew them together, cut them in half, hem the top and attach the handles. I'd post pictures but I don't know how to get them off my phone and onto my computer were I have to search through the black hole where, theoretically, they are stored in some file. I do know how to text pictures if anyone is that curious.

Jerry Sledge
Rockwall, TX
 
Posts: 4
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Back when I was making bread regularly, I'd wrap my extra loaves in dish towels and give them to friends I wanted to see more often. It was a great way to get others to initiate get-togethers so they could give back the towels.
 
William Bronson
gardener
Posts: 2293
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
145
forest garden trees urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The tee shirt bags are genius.
I don't know how use a sewing machine, so I'm thinking gathering the bottom of the shirt and securing it with a ziptie or twist of wire might do,  plus be reversible.
 
pollinator
Posts: 162
Location: Near Philadelphia, PA
21
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When I give away jams and jellies, I tell folks that if they return the jar I will do refills!  :>)
 
Posts: 3
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When I was growing up in rural South Carolina upcountry, we often exchanged produce and foodstuffs with friends and neighbors.  We used paper grocery bags, cotton cloth bags, glass jars, bowls, pots/pans, etc.  Everyone saved the containers and either returned them to the original owner or passed them on with foodstuffs to the next person.  I'm concerned about reusing plastics with foodstuffs because of possible leaching and contamination.  Whereas many plastic manufacturers have stopped using BPA, they have gone to BPC which is as bad or worse.  If you've ever put spaghetti sauce in a plastic container and seen the red staining, then do not be naive and think the interchange of materials is only one way.
 
gardener
Posts: 902
Location: Issaquah, WA
713
cooking ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Try finding some cheap burlap bags.

Small burlap bags with drawstring. These are $20 for 50 small bags. I am sure you could find bigger or smaller ones with a little googling.

This is also something where if you went to a wholesale dealer directly, you could probably get them in bulk radically cheaper. Most end-users don't need 100 burlap bags.
 
pollinator
Posts: 293
Location: South of Capricorn
73
food preservation homestead rabbit
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I give away a lot of stuff, mostly herbs and leafies, and I roll them in newspaper or book pages (I work with a few academic journals who insist on sending me paper copies, despite my protests, so I always have some laying around) and tape them into cones. (sadly, paper grocery bags don't exist here, or that would be an option). Occasionally smaller things (cherry tomatoes?) might be taped into an envelope. I have the skills to knit and sew bags but I just don't have the time, on the scale that I give things away. If I did I'd make more things for myself.....
 
Posts: 1
1
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
http://myhappycrazylife.com/make-a-mesh-produce-bag/ - Scrubby mesh – don’t use regular tulle or petticoat mesh, they won’t hold up.
1/4″ ribbon – I prefer grosgrain, but you can use anything you have lying around
https://thevintagehomesewist.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/diy-recycled-reusable-produce-bag-tutorial/ - DIY Recycled Reusable Produce Bag Tutorial
http://unstuff.blogspot.com/2009/03/crochet-your-own-reusable-mesh-produce.html - step by step tutorial for the reusable produce bag I made from a mesh onion bag and some simple crochet.

 
pollinator
Posts: 316
Location: Virginia
86
books chicken cooking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Welcome Ruth - if I had the skills to make those bags, I wouldnt want to give them up 😀

I have used random jars that I dont care about getting back. Small stuff like berries work well and I can put leafy stuff in the jar sort of like a floral arrangement.  Works well with rainbow chard in particular.
 
Posts: 22
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Lots of wonderful ideas here.
Thanks everyone!
 
Posts: 79
Location: Hamburg, Germany
2
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jumping in late, but furoshiki is a quick way to make a bag from a square of cloth.  I just quickly googled it and this site has a good diagram:  https://jw-webmagazine.com/how-to-use-furoshiki-600b8f1e3822

Obviously don't do this with produce that will leak, like red currants.  For that matter, don't trust red currants to a plastic bag (or even two) either.  Guess how I know!
 
Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work - Edison. Tiny ad:
2019 PDC for Scientists, Engineers, Educators and experienced Permies
https://permies.com/wiki/100059/PDC-Scientists-Engineers-Educators-experienced
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!