Reducing our plastic use on a daily basis is one way to cut back on pollutants and fossil fuels. While we are all familiar with reusable grocery bags you can also use reusable produce bags.
The number one trash item we throw out in the United States is single use packaging. The plastic bags offered on large rolls by grocery stores fall under the category of a single use package as they are designed for us to put a few vegetables or fruit in to carry to the checkout, take home and then discard. They may sit in a fridge for a few days but their sole purpose is to have a disposable bag to carry a solitary item a short distance. Soon they will find their way to a trash can and into our environment.
Plastic produce bags are one area where it’s simple to cut back on the amount of trash you produce. Instead of using the plastic bags off the store roll, carry your own reusable bags into the store. Reusable produce bags are exactly what they sound like – bags you can put your fruits and vegetables in while shopping at your local food market. They are an inexpensive alternative a daily item which will become future trash. Reusable produce bags come in drawstring closure and cost $8 – $15 for a set which can last for years, saving hundreds of disposable bags annually. They are typically made of mesh, lightweight, machine washable and can be folded up to a compact size making them easy to carry. Mine fit in a side pocket of my very small purse.
160,000 plastic bags are used globally every second
For those who already use them they make a nice, small gift. I took a set to a party where we played a gift exchange game and they went over well. I was a little bit surprised at how many people wanted them as this wasn’t a green crowd. Good for them!
A Few Quick Plastic Bag Facts
As with most other types of plastic bags, common plastic produce are known as ‘film’ in the recycling industry. Film is a thin, clear plastic made of either low density polyethylene (LDPE or recycling #4) or high density polyethylene (HDPE or recycling #2). If recycled most film is used for the production of new plastic bags or plastic lumber. If they aren’t recycled they end up as plastic garbage which is one of the biggest waste problems our world faces. Plastic bags do not readily break down in the environment. Estimates for the time it takes them to decompose can be up to 1000 years. Unlike glass or metal, plastic can only be recycled so many times. Any plastic item you use is destined to become trash so it’s important to cut back where you can. Produce bags are an easy one.
An average family will use 60 plastic bags on four visits to the supermarket.
- People use over 1 trillion plastic bags every ear worldwide.
- In the U.S. an estimated 100 billion plastic bags are thrown away every year.
- An estimated 12 million barrels of oil is required to make that many plastic bags.
- 100 billion bags translates into 32 tons of plastic trash which accounts for 12.7 percent of the items households throw away.
- The average American family takes home 1,500 plastic bags per year.
- Currently we recover only five percent of the plastics we produce.
Where to Buy Reusable Produce Bags:
Reusable produce bags are not difficult to find nor do they cost much. If you aren’t familiar with them, we listed three to get you started. The most pricey set we saw was around $12. If you search Amazon you’ll find a variety of sizes and styles so one is sure to suit you. Help the environment along with the future of our children and get off the plastic where you can. Reusable produce bags are a simple, easy step towards a greener life.
Reusable Produce Bags
A set of five mesh bags. Lightweight and machine washable, the are compact and can fold to fit in a purse or carry them in your other reusable grocery bags.
Reusable Produce Bag Set
Small, medium and large set. The smaller sizes are handy for herbs or those times when you only need to buy a single onion for a recipe. Drawstring with color coded tags.
Reusable Produce Bag Set
Machine washable mesh with a drawstring close top. They are 12′ by 14′ which is a good size for fruits and vegetables such as apples, carrots, celery, oranges or green bell peppers.