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Another alternative at the grocery store

Your Earth Day 2019 might have been filled with quizzes, deals, or scary articles, but I maintain that making one small change in your regular habits is the best way to “celebrate” Earth Day. Your one small modification (using a shampoo bar, bringing your own takeout containers, etc.) might not seem like much when faced with monumental challenges our environment faces, but every (seemingly) minor action can add up to positive change that really can make a difference.

One such action can occur in the grocery store. In keeping with the bag theme of the last post, this post is centered around produce bags. At our house, we have a lot of fruits and vegetables in our diet, and we used to take store-provided plastic produce bags for each item we purchased. One for apples, one for broccoli, and so on. After we brought our groceries home and ate the food that was stored in the plastic bags, we would then recycle the bags.

At some point, we learned that there were reusable mesh bags you could use instead of plastic produce bags. If you search for “reusable produce bags,” you will find all kinds of environmentally-friendly options. They are washable, too, in case they ever get too dirty. Some even come with tags or stamps of the “tare weight”—the weight of a container when it is empty. If cashiers know the tare weight, they will deduct it from the total weight so that you are not paying for the weight of the bag, just of the produce. Getting see-through mesh (like the one pictured above) is important so that cashiers can see the produce and read the labels on them.

In addition to using the mesh bags, we also started doing something that we probably should have done years ago—REUSING the plastic produce bags. I honestly don’t know why I did not consider it before, but now after the food is used from the bag at home, I put the plastic bag back with my reusable shopping bags. If the plastic gets a little dirty from the produce, I just give it a quick rinse and let it dry before putting it back with the rest of my bags. 

Just like creating a new habit with shopping bags, it’s easy to keep a bunch of produce bags in the car or wherever you store your other bags for grocery shopping.

Consider buying a few reusable produce bags to see how they work for you, or at the very least, try reusing the ones from the market. This small but important step can have a large impact over time.


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Apr 23, 2019

Hi Andrew, the shampoo bar: where do you get it and what do you use? I have a little convincing to do at home. The family members with hair are pickier than me! Thanks.

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