Zero Waste Produce Bags & Why You Should Have Them

About two years ago, California (my home state) passed a ban on plastic bags in all grocery stores. I was so excited by this news and thought that I would soon see everybody carrying reusable bags in their shopping cart.

Although this proposition was great, it failed to include plastic produce bags! Which, although small, still contributes to a ton of single-use plastic waste.

Since starting this journey of reducing my waste and living more sustainably, I decided to forgo produce bags all together.

Since I didn’t have any little bags to put my produce in, I just put it in the cart or on top of my reusable bags mixed with my other foods.

Well, long story short, I didn’t like the evil eye I often received in the grocery store line when the cashier had to find, gather, and weigh all of my produce….

(Sorry everyone).

That is why I made a point to buy some zero waste produce bags!

What’s The Big Deal About Plastic

plastic bag on ground

Americans use approximately 100 billion plastic bags every year and the average bag is only used for 12 minutes.

12 minutes.

Then, it is sent to a landfill where it takes up to 500 years to degrade. And when it does break down, the micro plastics leach into our ground water and becomes toxic to us and our environment. Eeeek!

Not only that, but most bags also end up in our oceans, which kills hundreds of thousands of marine mammals each year.

If you were to use reusable shopping bags for one year, you could divert over 1,500 plastic bags from being sent to a landfill.

Reusable Bags To The Rescue

Reusable grocery bags are becoming more and more common, which is great news, but unfortunately people are still using plastic produce bags to carry their lemons, oranges, potatoes, onions, etc.

Luckily, you don’t have to use those little bags or dump your produce in your shopping cart like I did. There are many different bags on the market right now that are specifically for produce!

Of course you can use a reusable bag that you already own, but I find that it’s better to have smaller bags specifically designated for my produce.


When Life Gives You Lemons…

lemons on white background

…put them in a reusable bag!

But, seriously.

There are a couple different produce bags that I highly recommend. One of the most common ones are the reusable mesh produce bags that have a drawstring at the top.

These are the kind of bags that I currently own. They’re great because it prevents your fruits and veggies from falling out and doesn’t expose the produce to any outside surfaces.

They also come in a pack of all different sizes so they can fit small and large items. I particularly like these bags because they can be used to buy bulk items like granola, rice, and nuts!

Plus, you can just throw them in the washing machine if they ever get dirty!

These bags are good for things like:

  • Tomatoes
  • Granola
  • Bulk rice
  • Asparagus
  • Mushrooms
  • Grapes
  • Leeks

Or any other foods that you wouldn’t want slipping through holes or being smashed by other things.

I also really like these reusable cotton bags because I like handles, but also because they are beachy and chic looking and can be used to carry a wide variety of things.

These bags are good for:

  • Lemons
  • Potatoes
  • Bell peppers
  • Oranges
  • and many more…

In general, the mesh drawstring bags are great for shopping at a grocery store and/or buying items in bulk and the cotton reusable bags are really great for going to the farmer’s markets!

In fact, my friend just used her reusable net bag at our local farmers market and it worked so great. They expand to fit in tons of different produce and reduces the plastic waste that would normally be given out!


Switching over to reusable bags is super easy and convenient! I always leave them in my car so that I don’t forget them when I decide to go grocery shopping.

These produce bags are especially convenient when shopping at a farmer’s market! You can keep a handful of these on hand with you and use them for various fresh fruits and vegetables, and then place all the little bags into one big reusable bag of your choosing so that they are easier to carry around!

You will make a huge difference on the environment when switching over to reusable bags.

Your local farmer, grocery store clerk, and the environment will thank you!

produce in a grocery store

2 thoughts on “Zero Waste Produce Bags & Why You Should Have Them”

  • Hi Ashley. Great topic. It is good to see that some state governments are taking the initiative and banning single-use plastic bags. But as you point out, there is still a lot more progress to be made! I also carry around reusable bags in my car and do not accept single-use bags anymore. I think if more people knew that the average bag is only used for 12 minutes and then takes up to 500 years to degrade they would be more conscious about accepting them from the retailers.
    Food bags are only part of the story. What about all of the layers of unnecessary packaging that are used to present almost anything else we buy from the shops these days?
    I wish you good luck in getting this message out to many, many, many people 🙂

    • Hi Andrew! That’s great to hear that you also carry reusable bags with you! And I totally agree about the plastic packaging in grocery stores… I have become more and more interested in learning about zero waste grocery stores and “naked” produce, which completely eliminates the use of plastic. Hopefully they become more common in the near future!

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