A tisket, a tasket, go get yourself a basket: Courtney Jackson's "Sustainable Bites"

English teacher and Peddie alumna Courtney Jackson '04 writes a Tumblr blog called "Sustainable Bites." Sustainable Bites is full of tips and resources on how to be more green and how to help be a part of a more sustainable future. Visit http://sustainable-bites.tumblr.com/ to see more posts.

Even though it’s fall, I’ve still been able to enjoy weekly trips to the farmers market and am savoring each visit because soon, the ground will stop yielding produce. A winter CSA could keep me going with spinach, kale, chard, and other greens coming from high tunnels, and potatoes, squash, beets, and other root vegetables found in cold storage, but I need to find one of those first. In the mean time, I’ll keep enjoying the farmers market. While the vendors at the market have plastic bags just like at the grocery store, I always bring my Reisenthel basket like the one pictured to the left. Mine is now 5 years old and still going strong. There is nothing better than filling up my basket with fresh vegetables that will sustain me for a week, and not having to deal with any plastic bags once I get home.

My parents used to have a kitchen cabinet for plastic bags. Each time my mom got back from the store, she simply added the bags to it. Once when I was in middle school, I decided that the cabinet was too full and started pulling the bags out…for what seemed like eternity. When our entire kitchen floor was covered with white and yellow plastic, my mom and I decided that we needed to change. We went online and got some reusable shopping bags (this was before they could be purchased at the register of nearly every retail location) and my mom has been using them ever since. When I went off to college, I got my own set of bags and still use them, but when I go to the grocery store or farmers market, I just take my basket. I know that what I need will fit inside, so when it’s full, I’m done shopping. It also is also lightweight, stylish, the handle folds down, and the entire body is collapsible too, making it easy to transport over short and long distances.

An article in Rolling Stone from July of last year said that “American shoppers use an estimated 102 billion plastic shopping bags each year — more than 500 per consumer.” Named by Guinness World Records as “the most ubiquitous consumer item in the world,” the ultrathin bags have become a leading source of pollution worldwide.” (http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-plastic-bag-wars-20110725)

So do the world and your kitchen cabinets a favor…ditch the plastic bags and get yourself a basket.


  1. I remember the days when my mom and I came home from the grocery; she had a stack of plastic bags stored in our knotty alder cabinets . I find this not eco-friendly, but also harmful to the environment. Instead of using plastic bags, we now use eco-friendly bags for bringing the foods that we bought form the groceries.


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