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Hating Plastic Produce Bags

My soon-to-be delivered product and bread bags look beautiful -- and they are made in the U.S.A.

My house is pretty much a plastic-free zone. We’ve eliminated all Tupperware and plastic storage containers. I don’t use any Zip-Lock-type bags. I have reusable grocery bags. We don’t use plastic wrap, opting instead for glass containers with lids. We don’t have a single plastic cup. I even got rid of all the plastic utensils (aside from two my husband insists on keeping around). However, there were two holdouts from my plastic ban: bread bags and produce bags.

This weekend I set out to get reusable cloth bags that could be used for both. I checked on Amazon first. I found plenty of them available but they were either lined in plastic or manufactured in China. Two no-nos in my book. Then I took to Etsy.com. It was there that I hit the jackpot.

If you’re not familiar with Etsy: It’s billed as “Your place to buy and sell all things handmade, vintage, and supplies.” You can find everything from clothing to art to glassware to toys — it’s truly like a giant online craft fair. I searched for “reusable produce bags” and found more than 600 options available. Then I started narrowing things down. I wanted something without a stitch of plastic. I also wanted something that was light and washable. And it absolutely had to be made of materials from the U.S. or Europe — that was not negotiable. I picked about eight options and contacted the sellers, asking them where they sourced their materials.

A lot of people told me their materials were made in China. (How sad, BTW, that even stuff lovingly handmade here in the States starts out in some plant in Asia.) I was starting to think I’d never find anything when I heard back from the seller LoveForEarth, who, incidentally, has a feedback score of more than 2,700. A trustworthy seller, I figured. Here’s her word-for-word reply to my question: “Where is your fabric made?”

Hi, it is made in North Carolina. Thanks!

Wanting to make sure I heard her correctly (and that she read my note correctly), I sent a clarifying email:

Fabric that’s made in the USA? Really??? Just confirming that the fabric — not the bags — are made in the USA, and once I do I will go purchase them!

Her reply:

Amazing, isn’t it? There are still a fair amount of textile mills in the U.S., mostly in the South. I’ve managed to source both materials from the zipper bags and the produce bags from U.S. mills. Although they are more expensive, they are MUCH higher in quality.I’ve gotten to where I can tell the difference between some types of synthetic fabrics. Here’s a list I found of U.S.-based textile mills:

Textile Companies of United States of America which has been accumulated from various sources from the net.

1. Weave Corporation, USA
2. Van Lathem, Inc, USA
3. Triumph Geo- Synthetics, Inc, USA
4. The fabric Stock Exchange, USA
5. Textile Innovators Corp, USA
6. Textile Development Associates, USA
7. Taconic, USA
8. Sunsilks,Inc. USA
9. Sun Action Textiles, USA
10. Straus Knitting Mills, Inc, USA
11. Stratford Hall Textiles, USA
12. Somerset Fabrics, LLC, USA
13. Silberman Associates, USA
14. Satesa Corporation, USA
15. Safco Fabrics, USA
16. AST A. Sommer Textiles, USA
17. American Folk & Fabric, Inc., USA
18. American Ribbon Manufacturers, USA
19. American Spandex, Inc., USA
20. American Textile, USA
21. Angel Textiles, Inc., USA
22. Apparel Label, USA
23. Arc-Com Fabrics Inc., USA
24. Asheboro Elastics Corp., USA
25. Ashro Fabrics, USA
26. BNB International Textiles, Inc., USA
27. Bo-Tex Sales, USA
28. Bostik, USA
29. Brecon Knitting Mill, USA
30. Bruck Braid Company?, USA
31. CDS Company, USA
32. Carnegie, US
33. Celia Incorporated, USA
34. Central Shippee, Inc., USA
35. Crazy as a Loom Weaving Studio, USA
36. Custom Laminations, USA
37. David Rothschild Company, Inc., USA
38. Dazian, USA
39. Donaldson Filtration Solutions, USA
40. Fifield Inc., USA
41. Fisher Textiles, United States
42. Gemex, Corp. , USA
43. Gibson-Tex, Inc., USA
44. Gift Fabric, Inc, USA
45. Guilford Performance Textiles, USA

Success! I plunked down my $15.75 plus $1.85 for shipping my seven reusable produce bags, and here I sit waiting for them to come. Okay, maybe not literally waiting for them to come, but you know what I mean.

So what’s the point? There are healthier options out there. If you want to avoid plastic or whatever you’re not loving these days you just have to do a little legwork to find it. And, as an aside, bravo to sellers like LoveForEarth and to the tenacious mills that have stuck around here in the States. That’s what’s going to help drive our economy. I’m so happy to be doing my part.

3 Responses to “Hating Plastic Produce Bags”

  1. Andrea Vincent says:

    As a mom and maker of the Veggie Bed. I felt compassionate to build a reusable produce management system because i felt i wanted to get rid of plastic bags in my house. I feel disgusted with the mass single use as well. while my product is made in China, it is affordable to anyone who wants to reuse. China makes it possible for me to offer that to Americans. When its possible, i will look for American made materials if it can be affordable. I say this as one of those families trying to save our home. Thanks for spreading the word about reusing. Peace, Andrea Vincent

  2. Lizzy says:

    I’ve been manufacturing reusable sandwich and snack bags since June 2009.
    I’ve also incorporated muslin produce bags, and my latest are pouches for bamboo cutlery. I sell both on Etsy as well as in some of our local markets.
    The theme is to encourage people to reduce or stop using plastic alltogether. It is not only fun creating the products, it feels real good to know that many of us are doing our small contribution for the environment and encouraging others to do so as well.

  3. Linda says:

    This is the motherload of Textile mill list! Thank you so much for your research and for sharing!

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