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Last Updated on January 23, 2020
With single-use plastic bags, it’s more than plastic shopping bags we’re trying to replace with reusable and higher-quality alternatives. Plastic produce bags are every bit as much of an issue to the environment as a standard plastic grocery store bag. They’re difficult to recycle and reuse, and they are a huge source of unnecessary litter.
The good news is that there are a number of solutions to replace single-use produce bags with reusable ones. Yet, many people not aware that they exist. This article will discuss ways to source reusable produce bags, along with the advantages and disadvantages of each option.
Purchased vs homemade
Homemade is always more cost-effective, and there’s an option to select the exact size for your needs. If you want bags that last and that don’t need to be continually fixed, you’ll generally get better results from an overlocker than a regular sewing machine.
The only downside to homemade is that you need to be able to access a sewing machine, as well as knowing how to use it.
Another option for making reusable produce bags is second-hand fabric. You can also buy produce bags that have already been made using this material. Fabrics include old bedding, sheets, tablecloths, and old net curtains. Just be sure to choose a machine-washable fabric that you can put through a hot wash, as opposed to a hand-wash cycle.
While mosquito netting might seem like the perfect martial for produce bags, the majority are impregnated with pesticides, so aren’t ideal for use with food.
Sourcing the right type of fabric
Each type of fabric has a particular quality. Net or mesh bags are see-through and lightweight, but are rarely made from natural fibers. They’re also unsuitable for fine powders and flour.
Cotton cloth isn’t see-through, but it’s also natural and slightly heavier.
For practical reasons, you should consider having different types of fabrics for different purposes.
Repurposed fabric produce bags
You may or may not have heard of it, but Etsy is an online platform where people who produce things make them available to buy. There are numerous sellers on the site who make reusable produce bags from tablecloths and old curtains.
Cotton produce bags
These are a great alternative to mesh bags. They’re flours and powders, and the advantages are that they are composted at the end of their life, and they aren’t difficult to get repaired.
Buying new cotton reusable produce bags is another option. You could visit your local bulk store, as they may stock them there.
You can also find them online, but it’s always better to support your local brick-and-mortar stores where possible.
Bulk reusable food bags
These bags are relatively new, and are made for bulk store shopping. While reusable produce bags are easy to transport, they are unsuitable for food storage.
These bags are made from recycled PET as a lightweight alternative to glass jars. They are suitable for storing food and can also be labelled.
Click here to find out which specific bags you should consider buying.