The Bag That Changed It All


In the beginnings of my eco-life journey, I became shocked in learning more about the problems associated with single use plastic. As my awareness rose, I began transitioning things out of my life as I noticed their accumulation and contemplated what their convenience really meant for me…

Along with the ultimatum of refusing any shopping bag ever offered, the produce bag was one of the first things to go. It was time to rid my life of these low quality bags that break in 2.5 minutes but last beyond my lifetime, and which were used for maybe 30 minutes, from grocery aisle to refrigerator. And so I began just putting the fruits and veggies directly into the cart with nothing but their natural case to hold them together.


In making the very first set of produce bags, I kept a few things in mind; many of the times that I accepted single use bags were because I forgot mine at home and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on something that was produced unsustainably in another country. I needed something (literally) unforgettable and something that aligned with my standard of production.

So I made a bag with a story to tell.

~ 2 years in and hundreds of plastic bags later, this baby is still in goooood shape ; )

~ 2 years in and hundreds of plastic bags later, this baby is still in goooood shape ; )

Our produce bags are handmade with upcycled fabrics from Spoonflower, The Scrap Exchange and yes, my Grandma’s closet -- each and every one is uniquely different and beautiful! A simple origami design opens wide on the bias, perfect for loading up veggies, fruits, nuts, breads and grains.

Now, a few years down the road, I’ve researched, tested, and have journeyed closer towards a zero waste grocery store experience. Here's how you can too:

  • use mason jars and shop the bulk section

  • reusable bags - ! produce and shopping bags (don’t forget!)

  • take the time to store food properly — this prevents premature wilting and helps food last at least a week longer! Dampen food bag, insert veggies, toss in the crisper and be amazed at your food’s freshness.

  • a whole food diet (eliminating processed foods = eliminating unnecessary packaging)

  • shop the farmer's market or join a community shared agriculture program if you can. And use your produce bags :)

  • mindfulness around product packaging - how much of it is plastic? Which components can I reuse or recycle?

Tag your photos on Instagram @durhamoriginals or Facebook of your zero waste shopping experience to be featured on our social media! Happy shopping, friends!