Plastic Free July - Day 01: How to ditch single-use plastic produce bags and start using cloth produce bags

Let’s begin the path to becoming plastic free this July with something simple. Cloth produce bags are one of the easiest changes you can make to your grocery shopping that will immediately guide you on your journey to becoming plastic-free.

plastic free july | day 1 | cloth produce bags

First and foremost, let’s talk about how fruits and vegetables have their own compostable outer layer. Hello - why are putting these things in plastic?! It’s nonsense. And one way to really get around this is to buy from the farmers market. The best thing we can all do together is to stop buying things that are sold in plastic, then manufacturers will stop doing it.

For the fruits and vegetables not wrapped in anything, at the grocery store, you don’t HAVE to put them in any kind of bag. I don’t. But if you feel like the cart is dirty and/or you are just so accustomed to having your avocados and apples in separate bags, then get these cloth produce bags.

plastic free july | day 1 | cloth produce bags

For the farmer’s markets in LA, I had the hardest time stopping the vendors from immediately reaching for a plastic bag to shove my produce in. So I would usually bring my produce up to the checkout with it already inside the cloth bag and immediately say “I don’t need a bag” This worked! And if you are a regular, they will remember you. At the famers markets in Boston, no one has yet to try to give me a plastic bag of any sort - way to go Boston!

plastic free july | day 1 | cloth produce bags

For loose lettuce, kale, and chards, I prefer the mesh style bags. I like to use a large dishcloth to wrap my bread (yes, your bread needn’t be wrapped in plastic either!) And it is a helpful tool for drying my lettuce and storing it in the fridge as well.

On a final note about produce bags, Trader Joes (at least in Boston) now gives compostable produce bags. This is great, but please reuse them to store your composting scraps! (they really break down fast and feel so funny, so you know that are legit. Wait to go TJ’s!) Because, as I will point out more than once this Plastic Free July, biodegradable and compostable plastics only break down if you actual compost them properly. If you throw them away and they make it to a landfill, that bag ain’t breaking down, possibly ever.