It was liberating to forgo packaged lettuces and stop wasting plastic bags on produce. But how am I supposed to transport fruits and veggies now?
How will I bag lettuce at the store, or a loose bunch of radishes?
Produce bagged the old school way
Either you can bring along a nice basket just for your produce, or you can buy (or make) a stash of reusable mesh bags or bags of cotton if you prefer, as pictured above.
Obviously any reusable bag is a huge boon for energy savings and the environment. Same goes for reusable produce bags.
But reusable produce bags have some challenges when you shop if the bag adds weight. So look for the most lightweight varieties. If the bag adds weight (more common among the more decorative bags with special trims or clasps), you can always talk to the store manager about removing the bag weight from the final cost. Co-ops and smaller grocers already understand this because they’ve long offered bulk buying to the energy-conscious shopper and have scales with tare weight inputs. At most farmer’s markets, it’s not even a concern. But bigger grocers need a bit of nudging.
Plastic bags drip with oil
Making this small change can help save a family of four from contributing an average of over 300 plastic produce bags a year to the landfill. It also helps you cut demand for the polyethylene from which they’re made.
Exactly how much oil a single plastic bag requires is tough to determine. Most experts say that overall the plastics industry uses about 4% of the 31 billion barrels of oil used in the world each year. Still, four percent of 31 billion is a lot of energy pumped into plastic, adding toxicity in its manufacture, use, and disposal. So in addition to reusing big grocery bags, reuse produce bags or give them up. The world will be a better place without them.
- Reusable produce bags at reuseit.com.
- Reusable produce and bread bags at ecobags.com.
- How to make resuable produce bags.
- Reusable produce, grain, and legume bags on Etsy.
- Reusable produce bag options on Amazon.
–Lindsay Curren, Lindsay’s List