Do One Thing: Forego The Produce Bags.


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This week’s Do One Thing takes place in the grocery store and it involves those little plastic produce bags. While many folks have begun buying reusable produce bags, most of the time you don’t even need a bag at all. I mean, who cares if your bananas touch the peppers? For some produce, like lettuce, I understand the need for a bag. But for most fruits and vegetables you buy, you can do without it. Just put them, sans bag, right in your cart. After all, you are going to wash them when you get home anyway, right? Go bagless when you can!

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  1. Noob – maybe make your own tags with twist-ties you can bring and wrap around them?

    Great idea Jeanne!

    Emily – for lettuce I totally agree, it needs a bag. But most everything else I could throw on the floor if I wanted as I always washed it before eating anyway!

  2. Our store has us (weigh, code, and) put stickers on the bags. The barcode generated makes checkout faster for everyone.

    I wonder how I could attach the sticker without the bag…? (for stuff with edible skin, of course).

  3. This is what I do – next time you purchase a bag of oranges or anything that comes in a netted bag, reuse that for your produce on future trips.

  4. Thanks for this post! I was in the local health food store a few weeks ago, and realized as I was bagging the veggies that this store was supposed to be supporting earth-friendly choices, and yet I was using like 5 plastic bags for the one trip. After that I quit using plastic produce bags altogether, except for really wet leafy greens, so they don’t get everything else wet.

    FWIW, the reason I used plastic baggies was 1) to avoid the produce touching the actual cart, and 2) to make it easier to put on the belt and ring up.

  5. Excellent tip – thank you so much for posting it. So much needless packaging and waste at our local grocery stores – these additional bags are really not necessary at all.

    This is one of the reasons why I love seeing a surge in patronage of our local farmers market – 99% of the people that shop there, bring their own reusable bags and just throw everything in together. The farmer’s don’t put bags in such obvious and easily accessible locations to promote such a wasteful habit (ie packaging up individual fruits and veggies).

    What sort of cross-contamination are people worried about with their food anyways? As you said 🙂

  6. I completely agree! When I am at the grocery store, I bring my own reusable bags & toss it all in. Plus, maybe you save that extra little bit of weight on the produce scale 😉

    At other places, I get the strangest looks when I say I don’t need a bag – at the pharmacy, if I managed to carry 5 things up to the counter it is obvious I can carry them without a bag! And yet, people still try really hard to convince me. At one place, an employee said ‘that’s how we know you bought it’ – to which I replied, ‘oh really, next time I’ll bring the bag in with me & save the money!’ I think it’s amazing how ingrained the habit is in this culture – many other countries do not have this same mindset.

  7. I live in Mexico much of the time and plastic bags are the rule here too. We buy almost all our veggies and fruits at the weekly street market, and the vendors give out plastic bags like there is no tomorrow.

    We get around this by

    [1] we have some large tote bags that we carry the produce in.

    [2] for things we do want to bag, anything sqooshy : we reuse plastic bags — we go to the market with a lot of older bags we’ve kept, all ready for a new batch. It helps.

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