One of the most difficult things for me to reduce my use of is the plastic kitchen storage bag. I use the one gallon plastic bags mostly for storing produce. Although they do get used to store a few other items, like opened blocks of cheese, I have not found any substitute that works as well as the plastic bag to preserve the freshness of vegetables and lettuce in the refrigerator. My wife did just bring home a cloth bag that is supposed to be good for storing lettuce. I have not tried it yet, but will and see how it works.
In the spring, summer and fall I grow organic lettuce in the garden. I like the lettuce best when I harvest it just before eating, then washing, drying and putting it directly into the salad bowl. However, because several people in the family also enjoy the lettuce at different times, I typically pick a lot of it at one time. I then wash it, spin it dry and store it in the one gallon bags in the refrigerator for instant availability. I do wonder about gasses the bags might give off affecting the lettuce. But that may be worrying a bit too much.
I have thought about using plastic containers to store the lettuce. What I would really like to see is an inexpensive line of storage bags made from cellulose or some other easily biodegradable material. The key word here is “inexpensive”. I was able to find several sites on-line that sell cellulose food storage bags. For the 1 gallon size, prices ranged from 16 cents to 32 cents per bag, plus shipping costs. By contrast, at our local grocery, the most expensive 1 gallon plastic bag with twist tie top was 6 cents per bag. Generic brands can be found for 3 cents each. When the plastic bag costs 3 – 6 cents and the environmentally friendly bag costs 3 to 10 times as much, which one do you think 99.99% percent of consumers will buy?
There are now many kitchen products made from biodegradable material. Some examples are the dish drying rack made from cornstarch or the cutting board made from sustainably harvested cork or bamboo. But again, the main problem with products like these is the higher cost. It is one thing to say that the higher cost is justified, but quite another to expect wide scale acceptance of a more expensive product, even if it is greener.
This may be an example of what JD at Techfun has referred to a few times in his comments. He feels efforts for change should be put forth in places where they stand the best chance of making a difference. Asking people to pay many times more for a greener food storage bag is probably not something that will meet with success.