Often when I cook meals for myself I misjudge and make extra. For smaller overestimations, I tend to use small Tupperware or plastic baggies for storage in the refrigerator. Recently, in an effort to use more sustainable storage methods, my roommate brought home some silicone plastic baggies that can be washed, dried, and reused over a long period of time. I find myself using these bags quite frequently and wanted to see whether Zero Waste Outlet’s version of this product is a good alternative to single use bags.
I really like Zero Waste Outlet’s goal to make more sustainable household products accessible at a reasonable price. They have a wide variety of products for cleaning, laundry, kitchens, bathrooms, and travel that are all recyclable or biodegradable and do not come in plastic packaging. When it comes to their silicone bags and most of their other products, no information is provided about where products are made, who makes them, or what labor practices are in place. Due to this lack of information, it is impossible to give this product a high sustainability rating. From the information given, the silicone used for the bags is an improvement from single use plastic since it is more sustainable and less toxic. Additionally, the commitment to recyclable and recycled packaging contributes positively to Zero Waste Outlet’s rating for this product. Overall, I would recommend using this product to reduce waste and to eliminate reliance on single use plastic bags.
These reusable baggies are made of food grade silicone. They are BPA free and safe to use in the dishwasher, microwave, and freezer. In general, silicone is a viable alternative to single use plastics since it can be repeatedly reused and recycled once no longer in use. Additionally, according to the Zero Waste Outlet website, all of their products come in eco-friendly cardboard boxes and kraft paper is used for further packaging or wrapping inside. Cardboard and kraftpaper are both recyclable and can be made from recycled materials. By straying away from plastics in products and packaging, Zero Waste Outlet follows through on their commitment to provide more eco-friendly products.
When looking into the source of the materials used in these silicone bags to evaluate their sustainability, I found that Zero Waste Outlet is not especially transparent about its production processes. Unfortunately, there is no mention of where the silicone used in the bags is sourced from nor is there information provided about the refinement process.
Method of transport also contributes to the sustainability of a product. Zero Waste Outlet uses USPS shipping. The argument behind this choice is that this method saves fuel and labor since workers do not have to stray from the daily routes that they already make.
Zero Waste Outlet is a family-owned business that states their mission as “to make high quality, zero waste, and environmentally friendly products available to all American households at a reasonable cost.” This company was founded by a couple identified on Zero Waste Outlet’s website simply as Brian and Beth, who cite their interest in gardening, love for nature, and dedication to “living simply” as their motivation to develop more eco-friendly household products. The products that they offer are completely recyclable and/or biodegradable, which is very important to consider when buying any product that will eventually have to be discarded.
Unfortunately, Zero Waste Outlet is not transparent about who actually makes their products. It was seemingly impossible to determine where their silicone bags are manufactured or whether the labor practices that go into making them are fair. For this reason, Zero Waste Outlet receives an earth rating of 1. They are on the right path when it comes to providing products that can be used more than once though their rating could be significantly improved by providing information about who makes their products and the conditions they work in.