Eco-Saturday: Reusable produce bags

I read an article the other day that said reusable shopping bags are harder on the environment than their disposable cousins, mostly because they take a lot more resources to produce and would have to be used anywhere from 26 to 327 times, depending on the material involved, to make up the difference. That’s unfortunate, given that most people use them a couple of times and then forget about them.

Case in point: A couple of weeks ago, I bought a shopping bag that was supposed to be unforgettable because it’s designed so you can turn it inside out, cram it back into its little built-in pocket, and stick it in your purse or use the attached carabiner to clip it to your keyring.

I bought it, used it, poked it back into its little pocket, stuck it in my purse, and walked out of the local health-food store today with a disposable plastic bag full of groceries because I forgot I had my “unforgettable” bag.

Even though I had to move said bag out of the way to get to my credit card.

While standing there thinking what a shame it was I didn’t have any bags with me because I’d made a spur-of-the-moment decision to stop at the health-food store on my way to the lumberyard.

File that one under Midvale School for the Gifted, I guess.

With all that in mind, I certainly wouldn’t have spent money on reusable nylon-mesh produce bags, but I got a set free when I bought the Mother Earth News archive a couple of weeks ago, so I figured I might as well use them.

Action shot of one of the bags.
Action shot of one of the bags.

They’re a nice product — well designed, with a little drawstring at the top — and I like the fact they’re made of a fine mesh that lets air circulate around whatever’s in them, meaning leafy greens are less likely to turn into slime overnight.

This is a lousy picture, but you can see the approximate size: Four of the five bags in my set are big enough to hold standard-sized bunches of cilantro, parsley and green onions.
This is a lousy picture, but you can see the approximate size: Four of the five bags in my set are big enough to hold standard-sized bunches of cilantro, parsley and green onions.

That said, even if you’re much better at remembering your bags than I am (which is likely), I’m not convinced they’re worth $4 for a set of five. Especially not when those awesome little Clementine oranges are in season right now, and they almost always come in plastic mesh bags you can save and use in place of disposables. I’d recommend doing that. I’d rather have $4 worth of oranges than $4 worth of bags I’ll probably forget and leave in the car, y’know?

Emily

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2 thoughts on “Eco-Saturday: Reusable produce bags”

  1. I have some chicken feed and sunflower seed bags I saved with the intention of making some grocery bags. I actually have my sewing machine out, so maybe I will give that a shot.

    1. Old T-shirts make awesome grocery sacks. Quick and easy to whip up, and they hold a ton of stuff because the fabric stretches forever. I think I put a link to a tutorial on here somewhere — probably on one of my early Eco-Saturday posts.

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