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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Reusable Produce Bags

My new empty homemade produce bag!

In an effort to reduce consumption, I decided to make some of my own produce bags to take shopping. Whenever we are at the store, in the checkout lane, I look at these plastic bags of produce or bulk items and wonder why am I filling my cloth shopping bags with lots of little throw away plastic bags. At least the plastic grocery bags I do re-use for kitty litter changes, but these produce bags are so flimsy, they cannot be re-used (at least not in my house for anything I have thought to re-use). I bought a bag from, but it was a little pricey for as much produce as I buy, and it seems to be a little burdensome to the cashiers when they have to open the bag to see what the item is so they can ring it up. I have tried training the cashiers that you can see the numbers on the stickers through the bag, but this is just more work than I want for a grocery store trip. So I decided to make my own bag. I can make several for a low cost, I can pick the fabric, and it is a great sewing project for someone needing some practice since I am a newbie at this sewing thing. My favorite color is purple, so I decided to buy some bright purple nylon mesh - very transparent, and quite sturdy. The drawstring is not so pretty, but it is simple unbleached cording. No need for a closure because friction keeps the bag secure.

No pattern needed - just pick the size of bag you want, cut, sew edges, then sew in a hem line so you can insert a drawstring. Tie a knot in the end of the drawstring and you are done. Simple project - pretty bags! My large bag can hold about 4 lbs of apples (pears, peaches, whatever really). And I have made some smaller bags to hold nuts, seeds and legumes. The holes in the netting are small enough that the things I buy do not fall through. I will probably also make a couple out of cheesecloth so I can put things like millet, quinoa, and rice in them too.

You may ask if this is much heavier than the plastic from the stores - I don't know the exact weight difference, but I do now that none of my bags weighs more than 0.1 oz. My calculations for average produce at about $2 per pound means that this bag costs me about one penny on the scale. If I go to Whole Foods, they give me a dime for re-usable bags, so I actually make $0.09 on each bag that I use. Not a bad buy really. I made 7 bags total from 1 yard of fabric which I bought on sale for $0.99. I spent about $2 on the drawstring, and I had the purple thread. This $3 investment will pay for itself within about 30 uses of the bags.

My new produce bag filled with 4 pounds of pink ladies!


sweetdaisydreams said...

wow what a great idea,.we should all do our bit,.love Glenda

Lori said...

This is an awesome idea. I already only use eco-friendly reusable grocery bags, this is a perfect addition. Must make some of these.

katielyn said...

Wow! Great idea!

xo.sorcha.ox said...

Omg, what a fantastic idea! I am always cursing the supermarkets for insisting on keeping the small, freezer-style plastic bags for fresh produce. They've already banned the plastic grocery bags, how hard would it be to go that one step further?
But this little creation solves my problem. That's it: I'm learning to sew! I have a real reason to now. :)

P.S. Thank you for visiting my blog. I love yours. You're a new favourite. :)

No Mother Left Behind