It is important to reduce our waste and although we are lucky enough to live in a city that allows us to recycle our plastic bags we cannot rely only on recycling. The resources that go into manufacturing and shipping produce bags also weigh in on the impact to the environment.We are filling the oceans with plastics and according to the David Suzuki Foundation “Humans depend on healthy oceans for food, water, air, recreation and transportation. Oceans contain more than 97 per cent of the planet’s water and produce more than half the oxygen we breathe. They also absorb carbon — important to reducing global warming. Half the world’s people live in coastal zones, and ocean-based businesses contribute more than $500 billion a year to the global economy.”
“On average for every pound of plastic packaging you avoid using or reuse you save over a pound and a half of climate pollution from getting into the air.”- Plastic Pollution Coalition
So that is why you should reduce your produce bag use; here is how.
Start with vegetable and fruit that grow their own protective cases. Bananas, melons, pineapple, oranges, and anything else you cut the skin off to eat.You can also incorporate mesh produce bags into your reusable bag stash and use them for things like green beans or multiples. I use a ‘bra bag’.
This is my grocery cart when I shop...I don’t even use bags for kale or lettuce. I do not feel the need to have multiples like tomatoes in a bag together- I just put them right in the cart. I know this is scary for some, what about the germs? But I have been shopping this way for the past five years and although I have had the flu/cold twice, which may or may not be from this, I have never been poisoned or sick from shopping this way. Only once have I had to ask the cashier to wipe off the belt; I usually pile my leafy greens on top of another product that is less likely to absorb anything gross like greens would.
Now I don’t expect you to go full out on this, it was a gradual transition for me. Stay in your comfort level and just give it a try. You have been doing so well with reusable cloth bags I know that you can change this small wasteful habit and help save the world!
The other day I saw a man put a pineapple in a plastic produce bag! Do I think that he thought that it was important to do that, NO! It is just a habit, because that is what we have always done, but as we realize that every little thing we do has implications on our environment and in turn our health, we need to change these habits.