Plastic Free July – Part 6: Mesh Bag

Mesh Produce Bags

One of the things that really started bugging me when I wanted to try and go more plastic free was the fact that I couldn’t get most any fresh fruit or vegetables without them either already being in plastic or having to put them in plastic after making my choices. The produce section isn’t the only place you have those rolls of bags for customers, but it is the one I tended to need the most, so of course I went looking for alternatives.

There are lots of choices when it comes to mesh bags, but my goal was to try to find the most ecologically friendly ones I could. That meant natural fibers and no plastic parts, which was actually kind of hard to find. I did find some and they have been working wonderfully. They are all cotton and have a metal locking mechanism for the draw string.

Mesh Produce Bags - Color Coded Tare Tags
Mesh Produce Bags – Color Coded Tare Tags

I was concerned about the difference these would make to things that get weighed at checkout since they are heavier than the bags you would use in the store. These DO have tare weights printed on brightly colored tags, so this shouldn’t be an issue, but it does require that the person checking you out actually take the time to look for this and make that adjustment (so far, they haven’t taken that time with mine).

Those colored tags also help you to see right away the size bag you are getting as these are all slightly different sizes.

Plastic Alternative/Replacement:
Plastic produce bags used in grocery stores.

Pros:

  • No need for store provided plastic bag for produce
  • Reusable
  • Washable
  • Ecologically friendly materials

Cons:

  • Issues with tare weights when checking out
  • Not a tight mesh so can’t use for very small things like spices or grains
  • Looser mesh weave makes putting odd, spiky shapes (pointy carrots) interesting and is a bit of a learning curve
  • A little difficult to see through so may be annoying to cashiers that have to open to hunt for tags or stickers
  • Cost

I’ve really loved these so far. My kids got a kick out of laughing at me trying to put carrots in one the first time, but otherwise, these have been wonderful to use. I just keep them with my normal grocery bags in the back of my car so I don’t forget to take them with me when I go to the store.

I love the size ranges this set came in. Some are long with the drawstring on a narrow end and others are smaller with the drawstring on the wider side, so you have bags to fit just about anything. These would work for all kinds of things that weren’t produce as long as it wasn’t too small (seeds and grains), but that’s all I’ve tried them on so far.

Author: TJ Fox

I am a slightly sane artist, amateur photographer, book addict, wife, mom and raging introvert. I have more hobbies than I can count, so it is beyond shocking that I manage to find time to do any of them, let alone most of them and still have time to do anything else. Of all the talents I claim, writing wasn’t one of them until my muse dropped the idea for a book on my head.

4 thoughts on “Plastic Free July – Part 6: Mesh Bag”

  1. I have this type too, organic cotton. I love them, I have no trouble with cashiers opening to find the sticker, they are pretty easy going. I know that if I start buying other things in bulk such as grains or nuts I will have to get something different. It also depends on whether or not the store will let you use your own containers. I don’t bother with the tare weight as the price difference is very small.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t worried too much about the weights so far because most of what we’ve gotten hasn’t been a big deal. It is more the issue of needing to see the number on the stickers to ring the items up.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I just try very hard not to use any produce bags when I shop and so far that works well about 95% of the time. I also group my items by type when I place them on the check out line and so (unless I’m bagging myself) the checkers typically get all the produce in one of my reusable bags.
    I am starting to bag more myself because then I can pack my bags my own way. Doing that, if available where you are, might help with the confusion of the weights and digging into your mesh bags for scanning stickers! I like the mesh idea though and if doing self-check out you could always put items into the mesh after you’ve weighed them as well so even less issue with extra weight 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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