A Story of Reuse

photo(22)When my uncle (now in his 50’s) was a teenager, he had a job at a bakery.

I want to imagine a lovely scene of steaming bread being sold from handmade baskets direct to customers, but in reality, I think they were a wholesaler here in Vancouver, so they just put the bread in plastic bags.

The bags had two holes on one end which allowed them to hang from two rods, kind of like how they do it with bags at the grocery store. But one day the bakery got a new bread bag system which meant that their stockpile of two-holed bags was essentially useless.

My Grandpa, ever the ingenious salvager, got wind of this and volunteered to take them home.

And that is why my Grandparents, and my Mom, and her three siblings, and their kids have been using these particular two-holed, multigrain bread bags for the past 30 some years.

They’re surprisingly thick which makes for perfect for freezer bags. When I visit my grandma she’ll inevitably pull a zucchini loaf out of the freezer, wrapped in tin foil and stored in a certain two-holed, multigrain bread bag. Yes, I know it’s plastic, but I also know that it was rescued from a sure fate in the landfill, and to me, that is the spirit of zero waste.

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6 Comments

Filed under consumerism, food, reusable containers

6 responses to “A Story of Reuse

  1. Tina

    Hi Jen and Grant,

    This is Tina. I had the interview with you in December, for my discovery project! I am now almost done it ! I did a “waste game show” and I wrote a letter to my principal (and head mistress) to remove plastic utensals and styrofoam in the cafeteria. She mentioned it in assembly, and they might be removing it for next year! I am now created so much less waste! Thanks so much for doing the clean bin project! It was very inspiring to me!

    Tina

  2. Ted

    Before the use of plastic bags bread use to be sealed in waxed paper with printing on the outside. A partial roll is still at your Grandmothers, and thank you for saying I’m only in my 50’s.

    • Ha ha – late 50’s – very early 60’s – they’re very close aren’t they? Interesting how the paper bag stuck around for companies, but I’ve never seen that wax paper type of packaging.

  3. So I can totally relate to the high quality plastic bags that draw on a memory. My grandmother used to make crocheted hand towels and she used a high grade plastic bag to store them. It’s been ten years and I still have a few of those towels ‘new in bag’ stored away. I appreciated the honesty and the nostalgia in your writing.

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