I love interacting with readers through email and the Comments section. In addition to helping readers, this interaction is a regular source of new ideas and inspiration. Here’s a recent example. A reader left a comment about the high price of mesh bags they encountered. My first reaction was “well, that was just one supplier, please keep trying.” But then I remembered someone else said something similar. This got me thinking of possible solutions, and so I wrote the following response that explains how you can probably find recycled bags in good condition at very low cost.
I recommend looking for companies who use the bags and have large quantities left over. That’s what I do. I’m paying 6 cents each. I could probably buy in bulk and get them even cheaper. I’m not saying everyone can do this, but it’s certainly worth a try. Plus, you’ll be using a recycled product and keeping the bags out of the landfill.
So here’s the basic process:
1. Ask the bag manufacturer/supplier who is buying their bags, or at least find out what they’re commonly used for (transporting limes?, etc.).
2. Try to track down who is buying the limes. Who is the end user? (wholesale fruit buyers?, grocery stores?, juice factories?).
3. Approach the end user (factory, etc.) and try to buy the used bags in bulk, making sure they’re still in good condition. You should be able to find the bags after they’ve been used one time. This means they should be in mint condition. They’re very strong and shouldn’t be damaged from just one use. The bags we used on our latest earthbag project were tamped extremely hard and did not tear, so it seems highly unlikely the bags would be damaged from one time use transporting fruits or vegetables.
The more I think about this the more sense it makes to spend a little time and track down used bags. Thousands of companies are using millions of these bags (and many millions more poly bags). Try this out and let us know your experience.