What to Do With... Whole Foods Hot Pak Bags?

Whole Foods is a pioneer (at least in the U.S.) in reducing waste. They give you a discount for bringing your own bag and eliminated plastic bags. But lately we've noticed the employees stuffing anything frozen or hot in these thick "Hot Pak" bags. One cashier even asked if we'd like our raw chicken in one. Why? And how can we re-use this thing?Usually we catch the cashier before she gives us one, but yesterday we were fumbling for our wallet and didn't notice until we got ready to leave. Our frozen corn and sliced turkey were folded neatly in a Hot Pak.
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The bags are made of paper that's shiny and metallic on the inside, so they're insulated. They seem like the type of package that might keep fried chicken crispy and warm. And they do have re-heating instructions printed on the bottom: Use in the oven (not the microwave) to warm food or bread. There are also tips on getting moist bread versus crusty bread.

But really, we can easily re-heat our food without the help of this bag, and for simply keeping something cold or hot for the subway trip home, it seems like overkill. We're thinking we might re-use them for a picnic, to keep meat warm or cookies cold enough that the chips won't melt. But otherwise we're at a loss.

We know there are some Whole Foods employees out there—maybe you can provide some insight? Or do any of you Whole Foods shoppers have a particular affinity for these bags? Got another use for them?

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Related: Tip: How to Warm Bread in the Microwave

(Images: Elizabeth Passarella)

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