Simple Living Inspiration: Reusable Produce Bags

by Landis Carey on June 14, 2011

Even though my DIY to-do is growing longer and longer each week, I still plan on adding a version of this project from Design*Sponge to the list: DIY Farmers’ Market Produce Bags.

While I’ve been pretty adamant about sharing my obsession to replace paper towels with cloth ones here on Mint Peach, I haven’t yet mentioned the other bad habit I’m breaking: reaching for plastic produce bags while shopping at the grocery store. I’ve mostly broken the habit—like when I place peaches or apples directly in the cart instead of in petroleum-laden baggies—but there are still a few instances when I use them, like when purchasing kale and loose carrots.

Really, though, the only reason I still reach for them in those moments is because I don’t have anything else to use. I need bags for both produce and bulk grains, and since I have so many fabric scraps from recent napkin and placemat-making marathons, I thought I might as well use them for this purpose!

Who is with me? Who else wants to commit to ditching plastic produce baggies? Or am I totally behind the ball on this one?

(Image: Design*Sponge)

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

SOS June 14, 2011 at 9:16 am

Would be interested in knowing more about plastic produce baggies and their dangers. Does this apply to 1) brand-name plastic bags (snack size, sandwich size, quart size, gallon size and 2 gallon size) that are sold in stores and also 2) plastic bags that many shoppers use to carry home their groceries (which we use also to dispose of kitty litter)? What do you use to dispose of cat litter?

Thanks!

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Landis Carey June 14, 2011 at 10:00 am

@SOS:

I guess I wasn’t clear about why I want to “ditch plastic produce baggies” in my post, huh?

To begin, I’m not referencing plastic shopping bags. We rarely use those, rarely. But when they do make their way into our house, I do put them aside for scooping cat litter. Also, I’m not talking about ZipLock bags, either. We use those rarely, mainly because they are wasteful. I’m also not confident they aren’t made from some chemical that’s cancer causing. There’s no way to tell what all of these plastics are doing to us over time, right? So, I prefer to completely avoid them :)

However, what I am getting at in this post is how using plastic produce bags when shopping in the produce section is wasteful (the dangers of plastic aside).

Why do we humans think it’s okay to pull a plastic baggy from that conveniently-placed dispenser just to hold our lettuce for a few days until we “throw it away” (remember there is no away) into a landfill. That baggie will outlive us all, at least that’s what I learned in elementary school.

Sorry I wasn’t more clear! I guess I’ve been over this conversation so much in my own mind that I didn’t explain myself fully.

Thanks for asking!

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Diane June 14, 2011 at 10:59 am

I LOVE this DIY project. Simple and will last forever. I like the idea of the lightweight breathable fabric, because plastic bags in the fridge seem to make the produce spoil faster. I always try to open the plastic bags to let the air in, once they go into the crisper. But the breathable fabric bags are a fabulous idea.
I think I’m going to buy new kitchen towels to make these, because mine I already have are pretty thick. But I consider the upfront expense better than standing there in the produce dept. tearing off hundreds of those conveniently located bags for many more years.
Thanks for the link!!!!!

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Landis Carey June 14, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Yay, Diane! I can’t wait to see how they come out!

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SOS June 14, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Well, you both certainly have gotten me to re-think much of this. Put the way you both do, I will now try using more cotton towels for storing fresh veggies in the frig — as I did years ago, don’t know why I stopped using the cotton.

I think many consumers don’t know — or care (guilty as charged) — that plastic bags have a petroleum component.

What I have been doing for some time is wrapping fresh veggies in a layer of paper towels (horrors!) then tucking them into one or two plastic grocery bags that our groceries came in. The vegetables last 2–3 times longer than just storing them in one layer — or none. This works like a charm — but is it good for one’s health?

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Christie June 14, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Since I don’t have a sewing machine – and happily went plastic bagless a couple of years ago – I had to seek out other ways to deal with my produce. Usually I only buy a few pieces but on the occasion that I actually bought more than one apple I needed something else. One day I was checking out my FAVORITE reusable bag site and saw that they came out with a produce bag line that has a different type of bag different types of produce. ChicoBags are great (they squish – not fold – up in to their own pouch) and now I have their produce bags too: http://www.chicobag.com/c-29-produce-stand.aspx
So if you’re like me and don’t have a sewing machine I would definitely give these a look!

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SOS June 14, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Thank you all for enlightening me!

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Diane June 15, 2011 at 8:39 am

Good Morning Mint Peach and SOS,
Take a moment and visit Christies’ link from above. The Chicobag link.
Click on the starter kit and read the 2nd paragraph. It explains why the need for different bags for different produce. Some fruits and vegetables produce a gas that needs to escape and some need the moisture kept inside.
SOS,I remember my mom using cloth towels in the crisper, just like you used to do. They were below the starch dipped shirts that were rolled up in the fridge, that were waiting to be ironed. I promise I did not make this up!!
You gals have a super day and Mint Peach thank you for giving us such fun and thought provoking ideas.
DEL

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