Tip of the Day – Use Reusable Produce Bags

Posted on July 29, 2008 by Allie


Brenda writes:


Hi Allie–

I recently moved to another state and discovered they have Wegman’s here, which I am overjoyed about!  When I went today, I brought along my reusable grocery bags BUT soon realized that this Wegman’s likes for the customer to weigh their own produce and stick a price label on it…many items required me to put them in a plastic produce bag in order to get the price sticker on there.  I thought it was such a waste of plastic (not to mention the materials for the extra large price sticker that gets printed).  Do you have any suggestions on what I can use to hold my produce in at the grocery store?  I need something that I can easily attach and remove a price sticker.




Here’s what I suggest.

When possible, avoid using a bag completely.  With items like a bunch of bananas or carrots, a single avocado or grapefruit, or a watermelon, you can stick the label right on the produce.

For items that require bagging, check out Organic Needle’s reusable produce bags.

From the product description:

These reusable produce bags are made of natural 100% organic cotton mesh. The mesh allows ethylene gas to escape, meaning you can leave the fruits and veggies right in the bag in your fridge. The bags can also be moistened to keep hydrophilic veggies happy. These bags can also be used for bulk bin items such as grains, beans, and pastas. The cording is also made from 100% organic cotton.

The bags should also allow for a label to be stuck on lightly and removed several times over.

(And while we’re talking about Organic Needle, I was lucky enough to be a tester for her new organic cotton tea bags.  Check out the reviews here.)

Another option is to avoid bagging and labeling your produce all together.  The checker will have to weigh it when you check out, and may not be too happy about it, but doing things this way won’t create any additional waste.

You can also check LocalHarvest.org for farmers’ markets and CSA programs that will make it easy to get bag-free produce.

Thanks, Brenda!

If you have a green question for me, drop me an e-mail me at AlliesAnswers at gmail dot com.


No Comments +

  1. I love my reusable produce bags! It always annoyed me that I’d bring my own bags grocery shopping but still have to use plastic for any produce I don’t want rolling around in my cart.

    The cotton ones you linked to look handy, but I like my mesh ones, because you can see through them. If you don’t mind my hijacking your post with another suggestion, here they are!


    July 29th, 2008 at 6:51 pm
    Comment by Stefanie
  2. Great timing on your post…I just did a very similar one in light of today’s announcement that Seattle is now going to charge for disposable grocery bags! Thanks Allie!

    July 29th, 2008 at 6:56 pm
    Comment by Jill
  3. I just tie the bag closed (I bring my own plastic ones) with a loose knot, and attach the label to the edge of the bag, so I can remove it easily. Just fold it so no stickiness remains, making sure the UPC code is intact.

    July 29th, 2008 at 9:32 pm
    Comment by Kim
  4. Just had to respond to this one!
    I don’t shop at Wegmans if I can get everything at my local co-op, but I have discovered something: You don’t need to bag any of your produce or bother with ANY stickers at Wegmans. Why? Because there’s no rule. I just dump any of the produce I buy there into my cart and keep on going. Then, when I get to the checkout, I just line it all up and tell the cashier that I’ll pack my own reusable bag if it helps things move faster, since I didn’t bag or label anything. Most of the time, the cashier knows some of the codes for the simple produce I buy anyway, and when they don’t know, they just put it on the scale and look it up on their screens. Sure, it’s more work for them, and tacks on 2-3 minutes to your check-out time, but I think it’s totally worth it. The more people who resist unnecessary bagging and labeling, the better–maybe Wegmans will begin to realize that paying their cashiers to use the computer system to look up a few codes on produce is worth it compared to the waste of extra materials.

    So, feel free to join me: I never bag or label and not once have I had a single cashier question it or give me a hard time! And if someone did, I’d just take it to the managers and explain my logic. I actually do the same at my local co-op. I write down the codes of the bulk grains, etc., I buy so I won’t waste more of those twist-tie things and then just read them to the cashier. Again, I’ve never been questioned for it–maybe I’m not the only one doing this!

    July 29th, 2008 at 10:16 pm
    Comment by Rachel
  5. I reuse the plastic bags from the store by sticking them back in my totes when I unpack my groceries. It works pretty well when you’re cheap like me and don’t want to spring for reusable produce bags. The only hitch is that I shop at two different grocery stores, so sometimes I get a funny look from the Adam’s people when they see a Stop & Shop produce bag. But I can live with that.

    July 30th, 2008 at 1:42 am
    Comment by Noelle
  6. If we don’t bring our mesh ones, we just bring an old plastic one that we have used many, many times now. As we are shopping, we just throw all the fruits and veggies in the cart loose, and only use the 1 bag on the way to the car. There really is no need for everything to be in it’s own bag!

    July 31st, 2008 at 4:03 am
    Comment by David
  7. yeah — i know for a fact that wegmans doesn’t care if you weigh or not. i used to just stick the sticker right on the fruit if it was exotic enough.

    July 31st, 2008 at 5:20 pm
    Comment by kir

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If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It


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