Tag Archives: ripstop nylon bags

Bulk bin shopping – what is the best reusable bag for holding flour?

011 copyOver 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.

003 (2) copyTwo 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.




Small Things

This is where I live: in a small village on the Slocan Lake in the mountains of the Kootenay region of British Columbia, Canada.

New Denver, Slocan Lake

View from Idaho Peak – New Denver on Slocan Lake in the summer

This beautiful landscape and all the other lands I have ever lived in provide inspirational sustenance for the way I live my life. The small things living inside this landscape touch my being every day and it is through these daily interactions with nature that I find guidance on how to live my life. Nature is my motivation, my teacher and my muse. It is the small things in nature that are constant reminders that smallness is important, that small things matter, that small things grow into big things, that a landscape is made up of little miracles, and that the world can be changed by small things, one action and one individual at a time.

Butterfly on Idaho Peak, BCButterfly on wildflowers, Idaho Peak above New Denver, BC

It was this concept of small which motivated me to create my very first Kootsac bags in 2007. I was on a mission to reduce as much plastic in our household as I could and those little plastic bags that kept coming in with bulk bin food and produce were driving me crazy. In an effort to at least reuse them I would wash them and hang them out to dry on the back porch. We would walk into a wall of them every time we went out the back door, and we had bags of plastic bags. I began to think about how many plastic bags were used and thrown away in other households all over the world. My mind boggled. I searched for reusable bags to replace them and when I found none available for sale I went to work designing and making my own. I called them Kootsacs because they are little ‘sacks’ made right here in my studio in the Kootenays.

Morgen in her studioMorgen in her fiber art studio

Kootsac bags are made with lightweight ripstop nylon or natural silk for bulk food bin shopping, and in unbleached cotton muslin for produce. Cotton produce bags are printed with my original screenprint designs of butterflies and bees – a reminder by these small delicate creatures that the earth needs our care and protection.

Butterfly produce bag‘Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair’. ~ Kahlil Gibran~