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I’ve been using cloth grocery shopping bags for years, but until recently I’d never given much thought to the thin plastic bags available FREE in the produce section. Because they were convenient, I used them for pretty much all my produce without thinking — from bananas to potatoes to cucumbers.
I guess it was more of a habit than anything else. I was so conditioned to use the bags, it just hadn’t occurred to me this was an unnecessary use of plastic…[palm slap to forehead].
Once I realized how many extra plastic bags I was bringing home and adding to the landfill, I switched into the mode of asking myself: Do I really need one? And about 50 percent of the time, the answer was no.
But the rest of the time (say, when buying green beans or a lot of apples) — I needed some type of bag. That’s where reusable mesh produce bags came in. At a quick glance, making this $10 earth-friendly purchase seemed like a no-brainer. But since I’m trying to be more intentional (i.e., less impulsive) about all my purchases, I hit the pause button and asked myself a few questions first:
- What problem am I trying to solve? I was bringing home about 4 to 5 new plastic bags filled with produce from the grocery store each week. That means I was contributing about 200 to 250 plastic bags to our landfill annually, just from this one practice.
- What’s the cost in time and dollars to make the switch? Reusable produce bags take up minimal storage space and are easy to clean. They’re also inexpensive; I paid about $10 for five bags at our grocery store. [You can get 15 bags for the same price below.]
- How long will they last? The bags are reusable many times over — maybe for years, if I don’t lose them!
- Do they work well? In my view, yes. I had a couple of functional considerations before I chose reusable produce bags, which I mention below. But other than remembering to bring the bags with me to the store, I haven’t found any hurdles.
Here are 15 different-sized produce bags for about $10 available on amazon that are very similar to the ones I purchased.
Two Things to Consider When Buying Reusable Produce Bags
When choosing reusable produce bags, I had two requirements: they had to be see-through enough for the produce to still be scannable AND they had to have the tare weight on them. [If you’re not sure, tare weight is the weight of the bag itself; since the cashier is weighing your produce, you don’t want to be paying for the weight of the bag.]
I also wondered if the produce bags would be frustrating for grocery store cashiers — but that hasn’t been the case at all. The first time I checked out using them, the clerk immediately deducted the tare weight, without being asked.
So there you have it — buying and using reusable produce bags is a simple action and a small step toward being kinder to the planet.
Now it’s your turn. Let me know if you’ve been using reusable produce bags already and feel free to give me a gentle shoulder nudge for being slow to make this switch. I’d love to hear from you!
I am not a licensed nutritionist, medical professional or cosmetics expert. The information provided on Honest + Simple is for general informational purposes only. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food + Drug Administration and are not intended to treat, prevent or cure any disease. Before making decisions about your health or other concerns, please consult a qualified professional and do not rely on this website for medical advice.