Produce bags are reusable bags that (as the name suggests), you put your loose produce in. It means you don’t have to use those nasty flimsy plastic bags they dish out in shops.
I have been using mine for years now – in supermarkets and local shops, for everythingthing from green beans to bread. (you can check out a range of loose food here).
I cannot say how many flimsy plastic produce bags I have saved from landfill but it has to be thousands. From that point alone I am extremely pleased with them.
There are two kinds of bag available on the market – cotton and polyester mesh.
I prefer the cotton as they are biodegradable, last much longer and can be repaired. But the mesh bags have the advantage of being see through, are lighter.
The weight of the bag will make a difference at checkout in the price per weight. Some shops subtract the tare weight but other don’t. The tare weight is the weight of the empty container.
My first produce bags were from eco bags. This American company supply unbleached cotton bags made in India using fair wage fair trade.
Available in Large (43cm D x 33cmW) or Medium (25cm D x 20cm W)
I have also bought cotton bags from Reusable Bags made from fair trade, organic, cotton using fair wage labour; the company is reliable and the bags are reasonably priced.
Be aware import duty, customs charges and handling fees are payable on all goods purchased from America – last month I was summoned to the post office to pay £16.00 charges on a parcel worth £45.00. Do bear it in mind.
Cofo A Spain based company do a lovely range of organic cotton bags. they come in the following sizes. they are much thicker than the American bags and some have metal closures
you can read more about the bags and the company here.
Polyester Mesh Bags ( available in the UK)
Onya Bags www.onyabags.co.uk a UK based company. They sell a nylon mesh produce drawstring under the name Onya Weigh. They are the lightest produce bag ever and scrunch up really small. They are sold in packs of 5 complete with their own nifty little carry bag. The whole package is the size of a peach and has a clip so you can attach it to your child, husband or bag strap. At nine pounds for 5 they are a bargain.
Flip & Tumble
More recently I came across these flip & tumble Reusable Produce Bags- 5-Pack. I have not tried them myself having more than enough produce bags but they have a good review on Amazon. Rather more expensive at 13.13 pounds for 5.
Find other plastic free packaging here.
Loose Food A to Z
Find out if a shop near you sells bulk food loose. This is stuff that that normally comes plastic packaged ie rice, pasta and salt. And yes these shops do exist in the U.K. There’s just not many of them. Heres a list of towns with shops selling loose food, organised alphabetically.