A little over a month ago, I posted a rant all about how I was going to become a hippie and single-handedly save the world for all of the little baby ducks and such. Ok, not quite, but...
I did say I was going to try to use less plastic.
I've always thought it was really stupid to use those thin plastic bags for your fruits and veggies. However, I'm a little OCD, and I've also never liked putting my fruits and veggies on those conveyor belts in grocery stores. Additionally, it's supremely inconvenient to get your apples or whatever to sit still on the scale that the checker uses without having them somehow contained. And finally, I was always a little worried that the more fragile fruits and veggies, like peaches, would smack up against something in the bag and just turn into mush. At least if they're in a plastic bag, they'll only be a mushy mess for themselves, whereas if they were loose in my reusable grocery bag, the mess would involve the other groceries and I'd have to have my husband hose out the bag (ok, yes, I could hose out the bag myself, but the deal with buying the house was that I'd get a purple room and he'd deal with the yard...so I'm not sure where the hose is).
Back when I lived in Oregon my roommate made me a reusable lunch bag. We had discovered that the Victoria's Secret shopping bags were the best size for lunches. They could fit all of our tupperware and utensils, and they were sturdy enough that they didn't flop over. And then a coworker of mine observed that it looked like I was chilling my panties in the fridge. A la Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch.
What I discovered with my reusable lunch bag was that even if something leaked in the bag, the bag itself was enough to contain the leak. This is important, because it indicates that a cloth bag would be enough to prevent my peaches from making a huge mess if they did get squashed in my grocery bag.
So I logged on to ecobags.com and purchased some produce bags. If you're going to do this, I suggest the large size only. I bought some of the smaller size, and they ended up being a different, slightly heavier material. And I discovered that the pictures of the bags are identical to me, and the descriptions are very similar for both the thinner and heavier weight fabrics, so read carefully!
Everyone I have encountered with my new reusable produce bags loved them! I took my mother-in-law to the farmers' market, and she said she wanted to get some herself. The vendors at the farmers' market asked me where I got them, if I thought they worked well, if they were machine washable. The bag-boy at Vons was visibly excited about my produce bags (when you close the draw strings, they even have handles). This prompted him to comment, gleefully, "your vegetables are already bagged! I don't have to do anything!" Of course, this wasn't exactly what I wanted. I wanted my bags of veggies to be put in my shopping bag so I would just have to carry one thing to the house and not have to root around my trunk checking that I didn't forget about the bag of onions.
I have not yet braved using my bags at the bulk bins even though the tag on the bag said they were perfect for nuts and grains...but I'm sure I'll get there. Nonetheless, I'm going to declare my reusable produce bags a whopping success...especially since I haven't had one squashed fruit since I've been using them!