No More Plastic Produce Bags. Period.

April 6, 2010

You know those little plastic bags on the rolls next to the lettuce, carrots, and tomatoes? Millions and millions of those are used every day in the United States – which kind of defeats the “Bring Your Own Bag” movement taking hold lately around the country. While we bring our own canvas bags to the grocery store, we fill them up with 10 plastic bags holding produce. Doesn’t make much sense, really. Most items found in the fruit and vegetable section can be put in your cart without the bag (I don’t use those plastic bags for anything other than loose lettuce or other wet items) since you are going to wash the stuff before you eat it anyway, for those out there who still want to put it all in a bag there are better alternatives to single-use plastic available!

These reusable produce bags from Flip & Tumble are where it’s at. Lightweight so you don’t get charged more for your produce, washable, mesh that is fine enough for use with bulk foods, and the ability to hold up to 8 lbs of food, I bought some of these to entirely kick the plastic bag habit. I can also stick them in the washing machine to clean out any of the funk that might accumulate in a reusable bag. A set of 5 is $10 and probably replace thousands of plastic bags over the course of their lifetime. I think grocery stores should set up booths with items like this right in their produce sections to encourage more people to get away from plastic bags. After all, the stores do have to pay for those bags – so I am sure they wouldn’t mind for that reason alone! If you are still using a handful of plastic bags every week at the grocery store, consider picking up a few reusable ones instead. I’m pretty happy with mine.

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Comments (12)

  1. David says:

    Hey Naomi

    Well, I don’t really use bags for much more than lettuce or other wet/easily torn apart produce. Anything with an actual skin goes bagless, because I am not going to eat the skin, and I always wash the stuff first anyway. Some clerks look at me funny when I have all these loose veggies in my cart, but then I tell them why. :)

  2. david says:

    Good luck, let us know how that works out! Everything in our lives, from cars to glasses to shoes, is a petroleum derivative, sadly. These just last way longer than single use ones, so I don’t mind.

  3. I LOVE this idea. I’ve thought the very same thing for a long time. Setting these out in the produce section for purchase is a GREAT idea. This is one area I’ve felt that my hands were tied on alternative options for the plastic bags.

  4. Hey, David,

    I made the switch recently after finding some great reusable bags in Ithaca. Love, love, love them. There’s no reason to use plastic bags when alternatives are so readily available.

    Funny thing is, after I wrote a post about it on my blog —

    http://blog.timesunion.com/simplerliving/reusable-produce-bags/20590/

    — several of my readers told me that I shouldn’t be using bags for fruit or produce in the first place. I never bag things like bananas, but I’d like to have *some* sort of barrier between my lettuce or kale and the cart or basket. But apparently even reusable produce bags are not environmentally friendly enough.

    After a moment of reflection and silent cursing, I decided to ignore the naysayers.

    Thoughts? Suggestions?

    Thanks,
    Naomi

  5. That’s a good rule of thumb (whether it has a skin). I eat a lot of salad, so I buy stuff like lettuce every week. My bags came in a set of three, which is enough for my shopping.

    Thanks, David.

    Naomi

  6. karen says:

    What are these bags made of? Are they nylon like most reusable produce bags are? I was thinking of making some of these bags myself with unbleached cotton cheese cloths.

  7. karen says:

    Never mind. I just found out they are made with polyester. Still a petroleum derivative. I’ll try making some cotton cheesecloth bags.

  8. Pam in Taos says:

    I have those bags, already, and LOVE them working equally well for flax seed, barley or veggies!!

  9. karen says:

    If I didn’t know how to sew, I would definitely buy these. They look like they are well made and light too! I saw some unbleached cotton bags online but they seemed too heavy. These seem strong and very light.

    I’ll let you know how my cheesecloth idea turns out but I might just buy these if I have no time to make them.

    Thanks for this post. :)

  10. JenO says:

    I actually use some green mesh bags I found at the Dollar Tree of all places. They were in a 3 pack, so I paid about 33 cents per bag. I think they were marketed as “mommy’s helper” bags or some such thing, but I find them much more useful for produce than toys, etc.

    I’ve also made some in the past by sewing the bottoms of stained/ripped t-shirts then chopping off the sleeves and much of the neckline (leave a bit of the shoulders intact for handles) but they weigh a bit more than the mesh bags.

  11. chicago fence says:

    My wife has been doing this for years! she is very much affected by the photos of animals hurt by the plastic bags and other plastic packaging pieces. Good read!