Safe to re-use plastic bags for food? | Plastic-Free Discussion Board

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Safe to re-use plastic bags for food?
September 6, 2011 - 7:14 pm

Apologies if this has been discussed…I can't find the info anywhere!  For a long time, I've been hearing that you shouldn't refill plastic water bottles because chemicals from the plastic leach into the water.  So, I was wondering, is it safe to re-use plastic bags for food, given that you wash them first? 

Beth Terry
409 Posts
September 6, 2011 - 7:46 pm

I avoid putting food in plastic, but if you're talking about dry bulk foods like nuts and grains that you can transfer into containers when you get home, I think it's probably okay.  Michael (husband) does wash out and reuse plastic bags.  We always have a bunch hanging over the dish rack.  I don't like them because it's hard to get them really clean and they grow mold if you don't dry them well enough.  But if you shop at a bulk store that doesn't allow you to bring your own bags/containers, then I think reusing what you have is your best bet.  Just don't store the food in the plastic bags.

September 6, 2011 - 8:26 pm

I’ve wondered about this. Especially with lettuce, what do you store it in? I have glass tupperware for leftovers but nothing big enough to hold a head of romaine. Lately I’ve just been reusing the store bag until it gets too dirty/gross/moldy and then getting a new one, but I’d sure like to ditch the plastic altogether. We shop once a week and the closest organic grocery store is 45 min away so it’s not like I can just get a day’s worth of veggies.

What to do for lettuce storage? I’m open to try anything.

Thank you awesome people!!!

September 6, 2011 - 9:32 pm

Thanks Beth!  That's good to know.  Yep, I've been storing some of my bulk foods in their plastic bags.  And I keep forgetting what they are, so putting them in containers would also help with their labeling.  [Image Can Not Be Found]  I've been washing/drying them like your husband does, but won't reuse them for food if they smell weird. 

Beth Terry
409 Posts
September 7, 2011 - 3:36 pm

MamaLovey, the Berkeley Ecology Center published a list of ways to store produce without plastic that I have reproduced here:


But if you are unable to keep lettuce fresh without plastic, an alternative could be a produce bag from ChicoBags, which is made from rePETE, which is polyester made from recycled plastic.  It can be laundered over and over again.…..stand.aspx

September 7, 2011 - 7:10 pm

Hmm, interesting, it never occurred to me to store veggies in water.  Now I want to eat a crispy carrot.  [Image Can Not Be Found]  With most of them, I just leave them out on the fridge shelf if I'm going to be using them soon. 

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