The Ultimate Guide On How To Use Reusable Produce Bags

by Megan Kioulafofski
Bag for fruits

How To Use Reusable Produce Bags

Wondering how using reusable produce bags can maximize your efforts of reducing single use plastic?

Curious to know why using reusable produce bags can improve your health in a major way? 

Follow along as we tell you all about choosing, using and taking care of your reusable produce bags so that they serve you better and last you longer. And of course, we will also discuss the positive environmental impact of making a simple change from plastic to reusable grocery bags.

If you feel a bit hesitant to make the switch from your regular plastic produce bags to reusable ones out of fear that the process might just be too complicated, we are here to ease your worries.

As far as the best way to use reusable produce bags, the process couldn’t be more simple and convenient:

  • Get your reusable produce bags from organic cotton, the safest material to come in contact with your food.
  • Make sure you buy enough bags to cover all your shopping needs, preferably at least 10 bags in different sizes. 
  • When you go to the grocery shop, just make sure you bring at least 5-10 produce bags with you, according to how many items you intend to buy. 
  • As you go around the shop selecting your foods, use one bag at a time for each produce type you usually get. One bag for tomatoes, one for potatoes, one for oranges, and so on.
  • Fill the reusable bags up just like you would do with the plastic ones, and make sure to use the drawstrings to close their mouths so that your products will stay in place.
  • At checkout, to speed up the process, use the drawstring to open the bags so that the cashier can have a quick glance inside to see the product type.
  • Mention the cashier the tare weight written on each bag, so that it can be deducted from your total.
  • Once home, you can just place your products right inside the fridge together with their bags! 
  • If your plan is to reuse your bags soon after, just remove the products, easily wash your bags in the washing machine and let them dry naturally.
  • Simple as that and in no time, your bags will be just as new and waiting to be taken on their next trip!

In the following sections of our post, we will get into more details about each one of the steps described above, so just make sure you keep reading, to find out all our tips and tricks on how to use your reusable produce bags!

Small Bags, Big Changes

When it comes to changing our way of living towards a more responsible and sustainable one, there are many ways to get rid of plastic pollutants and make the earth happy.

There’s no new news by now just how much harm single use plastic bags are causing to the planet but fortunately, their future doesn’t look too bright. More and more countries worldwide are raising awareness and implementing laws which are banning single use plastic.

Although a great majority of us understand just how damaging plastic bags can be for oceans, marine life and basically the entire planet, there are still many people who don’t see the whole plastic disaster picture.

And the plastic grocery bag’s evil little sister, the produce bag, is equally harmful for the environment and just as problematic.

Not sure what these plastic grocery bags are?

Allow us to refresh your memory!

Plastic produce bags are those rolls of tiny, thin and clear bags we can find in the supermarkets usually around the fresh products aisle. 

Designed to contain everything from bulk items to fruits, vegetables and even cheese or meat, these little bags are a huge contributor to litter. They relentlessly add up to landfill and pose many health risks to both humans and animals.

Now that we covered the part on why using reusable cotton produce bags for your groceries is a must if you care about your health and ours, let’s dig in the details!

How To Choose The Right Reusable Produce Bags

There are plenty of options with produce bags and many brands to choose among on the market. 

But one of the most important things to consider when wondering how to use reusable produce bags is the importance of choosing the right ones.

Buying from a brand that is committed to sustainability and environmental protection is extremely important. Ask yourself some questions… where is this product made? How was it made? Is the company I’m buying from a trusted source? Make sure to find out answers to these questions to avoid any cheap products or unsustainable methods.

Materials matter when choosing your produce bags, too!

While the health benefits of buying organic foods is widely known by now, the importance of choosing only organic natural fibers when carrying your grocery products is not so much talked about.

And when talking about natural fibers, organic cotton is definitely your best option.

Why is this?

Compared to regular fibers, organic cotton is grown with sustainable methods and materials which have a lower impact on the environment than traditional manufacturing practices. 

The replacement of harsh chemicals like pesticides, insecticides or herbicides with gentler alternatives which are certified by using global standards of safety and health, is not only beneficials for the customers but also for farmers, workers and the entire wildlife ecosystem.

As you can clearly see by now, staying away from conventional (non-organic) cotton is not only important for the conservation of natural resources, but also for protecting our health.

But if you’re not yet convinced, let us tell you more. 😉

The harmful chemicals used in most of global agriculture can be incredibly poisonous and sometimes even deadly. These conventional practices are polluting the soils, rivers and oceans, poisoning animals and people and leading to serious health problems including cancer and asthma.

how to use reusable produce bags at your local grocery store

Organic Cotton Produce Bags Will Help Your Produce Last Longer

We have some extra good news for those of you a little hesitant, in case you are still wondering why to use reusable produce bags

Did you know that using organic mesh produce bags will keep your products fresh for a longer time?

Yes they will!

The breathable nature of the mesh material provides excellent air circulation for ultimate freshness, allowing your fruits and vegetables to stay crispy for longer. This in turn will save you not only money but also time from having to go to the grocery store more often.

After you come home from shopping, you can store all your products right inside the fridge. You will be surprised to see that storing your produce in the fridge together with their bags, is the best option as it will keep your items fresher and crispier longer than if they were placed in the fridge on their own.

No more wilty lettuce or rotten pears sitting in that suffocating plastic bag.

why and how to use reusable produce bags

Taking Care Of Your Reusable Produce Bags 

So we know by now that reusable produce bags are small, light, convenient and perfect for all bulk items but what can you do with them when they start showing signs of…well, dirt?

Don’t worry, we got you covered on that too!

Keep reading our how to use reusable produce bags guide and we will share with you all our tips and tricks on how to wash reusable produce bags and help them last longer.

The first step to take should be to read the instructions which usually accompany your newly bought produce bags.

They will likely come with instructions included in the package or sewn inside of the side seams about the material or how to care for them. You might also get an email after your purchase from the company explaining how to use them, so keep an eye out for that too!

If your reusable produce bags are washable, you can use a gentle fabric cleaner or natural stain remover to pre-treat any stains for around 20 minutes before tossing the bags in the washing machine. 

The only thing you should avoid though is the use of chlorine to remove spots. The bleach will fade the cotton from its natural colour and weaken the garment’s fiber strength.

Organic cotton is easy to clean and take care of as long as you follow instructions, but there are still a few things which can increase the lifetime value of your bags.

The first thing to keep in mind is that as with anything made from 100% cotton, there can be slight shrinkage when washing your bags in hot water. Organic cotton is not treated with chemicals to prevent shrinking. This is why we recommend to only wash your reusable bags on a cold, delicate cycle and to air or hang dry. Using cold water will prevent the cotton fiber from weakening even after repeated washing and usage.

Because SOL + SPIRIT’s organic cotton bags are made of 100% untreated organic cotton, avoid the dryer and just hang them or lay them flat. Air drying allows for your bags to dry naturally and safely, and keep their shape. 

Pro tip: when they come out of the wash, take 5 seconds to reshape them before drying.

More Than Just A Reusable Produce Bag

You will love your reusable produce bags so much that grocery shopping will not be the only thing you will want to use them for.

Great not only for carrying groceries, reusable produce bags can successfully replace the heavy plastic containers we all use as lunch boxes. Just place your sandwiches, snacks, crackers or vegetables in your bags and there you have it – an easy way to bring your food everywhere with you from work, to a picnic or your children’s school.

We love to make our own tea and maybe that is something you might be interested in also.

Produce bags are also a great solution to store tea leaves until they dry, and use them after to prepare teas without having to worry about the tea bags’ micro-plastics leaking into your liquid.

We know that our guide is running a little bit long but let us share just one more tip with you before we finish.

This last one is about the little pieces of make-up, toiletries or jewelry which we all like to carry around in our bags and luggages, and which many times get lost during transport.

All your small items will be kept safe and organized, and you can rest assured that our bags’ soft material will not scratch any of your precious pieces. 

Last Thoughts On How And Why To Use Reusable Produce Bags

It’s clear to see that using reusable produce bags comes only with benefits for both our health and the environment’s. Now that you also know how to choose, use and take care of your bags, stop wasting time and get shopping!

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