The simplest thing I have found to reduce my landfill contribution is to use Produce Bags.
Jeannie and I regularly get curious and positive comments about these bags whenever we do our shopping, and I’m starting to see more and more people getting on board. These are reusable bags made of mesh or cloth which you take to the store to buy your food items that you might otherwise put in a disposable plastic bag. Everyone seems to love the idea!!
I’ve used mine over and over for buying fruit and vegetables, bread rolls, nuts, snack foods and legumes from bulk dispensers like the ones at Wasteless Pantry.
As they are lightweight you don’t need to weigh them first, just pop your goods in and go. If you are using them at a store with a dedicated label machine just stick it on the bag – it is easy enough to remove later. When you get home you can store your fruit and vegetables in the bag or empty into your usual crisper/containers. It is easy enough to add them to your washing if they get dirty at all.
As well as being waste free, they are also a lot stronger than the disposable plastic so no more pears tearing their way out of the bag! They hold a decent amount too – I’ve easily fit 1.5-2kg of fruit in an Onya one.
These bags compact down so much that there would be plenty of room in a handbag to have them with you all the time – then you won’t get caught out trying to remember them.
Onya have a range of bags available for purchase or you can easily make your own – I made mine from baby muslin wraps as it is a lightweight fabric.
What I really love the most about shopping with produce bags is that when I get home all I have bought is food.
I didn’t waste my time grabbing something that will end up in the bin as soon as I get home. My kids are far more excited about helping my fill a Produce Bag than one of those fiddly plastic ones too.
However, if you do get caught out at the store without them or without enough of them, which sometimes happens, then can I suggest you grab a paper mushroom bag or the paper potato bags on offer instead for whatever food you needed? At least then it is something truly recyclable or compostable. We’ll talk all about the plastic recycling myth down the track….