Over the years I have received many questions and suggestions about the use of my reusable food bags and also my food storage ideas and questions about buying bulk food. Most of the time I can offer an answer. However, the quest for reducing plastic in our daily lives is my journey too and I am also learning. I discover new ways of doing everyday things by talking to others, reading books, blogs – the usual way we share information today – but very often this journey is just a bit of common sense and ‘trial and error’. Like many of us I am a very busy person and because of this I am guilty of neglecting my blog writing here. I always do take the time to answer questions from my customers though because I am very passionate about finding ways of reducing plastic and other waste and I think it is critical that we learn to live with less impact on our weary planet. So, it occurred to me that I should use this space to discuss the questions and ideas which come to me and tips from my own lifestyle. I welcome you to add your ideas in the comments.
A question which has been asked so often is: ” What is the best fabric for holding flour?”
I use three types of fabric to make reusable food bags: Lightweight rip stop nylon or natural silk for bulk food and cotton for produce. Even though as a textile artist I prefer to use natural fiber I opted for the rip stop nylon because it weighs the same as plastic and so will not add weight to your purchase, it is extremely strong and durable so it will last you for years and fine dry foods like flours and spices will not leak through the weave. The silk bags, which came later, are a natural biodegradable option which many of my customers prefer, but it does not hold flour as well in my opinion. It’s not that it leaks all over the place, but it does gather a very fine dusting of flour on the outside of the bag. We have to remind ourselves that before plastic came along flour was sold in cotton bags and the same leaching occurred. Taking this into consideration, you can decide for yourself which fabric is best. There are pros and cons to everything. In my opinion, silk can hold flour, but nylon does it best.
Two Kootsac bags holding white flour – silk bag on the left, ripstop nylon on the right – I ‘slammed’ both bags down quite hard on the board and as you can see in front of the silk bag is a sprinkle of flour and the nylon bag has nothing.
Another point is that these bags are designed for carrying your food home from the bulk bin section of the store. Once at home your food should be stored in a glass jar or other suitable container. These bags are not designed for storage. After use they should be washed, dried and put in your shopping bag for the next time you need them. The aim is to reduce unwanted plastic coming home from the grocery store.
I hope this article has answered the question clearly. I welcome your comments and suggestions.