Bananas really don’t need a plastic bag. Giveaway!

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Until about a year ago when grocery shopping I would take a separate plastic bag for my apples, bananas, carrots, and all other types of fruits and veggies. I would come home with a dozen plastic bags, more than I could ever use for collecting garbage or other reuse purposes. When I started my plasticminimalism project I documented the plastic waste in our household on a weekly basis. I was shocked to find that a large share of our plastic footprint consisted of exactly those plastic produce bags that you get when buying fruit and veggies. I immediately started to work on this problem. I found that it is actually very easy to avoid this kind of plastic consumption. Read here how I got rid of plastic around my fruit and veggies. And then share this article and win a set of reusable Re-Sack produce bags!

Refuse
First of all, ask yourself whether the product you are buying really needs a plastic bag. The most obvious example are bananas. This delicious fruit comes in perfectly designed packaging. The banana peel protects a banana against dirt. Also, bananas come in convenient bunches, they stick together naturally, so there is no need for a bag to keep them together as there would for example be in the case of mushrooms. So next time you find yourself in the produce corner of your supermarket, think twice before you let your bananas suffocate in a plastic bag. This also goes for other veggies that are easy to handle without a bag, such as pumpkin, squash and (red) cabbage. Just put the price tag on the product itself. A bag is really not necessary.

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Just put the price tags on the products. No need for a plastic bag!

Reduce
Sometimes you find yourself in a situation where you really want to buy those mushrooms, cherry tomatoes or strawberries but you did not bring your reusable bag. Or you are decided to do grocery shopping in a (Chinese) supermarket where they won’t let you buy fruit and veggies without putting them in a plastic bag. In such cases, try to reduce plastic as much as you can. The easiest way to do so is to put more than one product in each bag and let the shop attendant put all the price tags on that one bag. Also, check whether the store offers paper bags instead of plastic bags. Although there are debates about the sustainability of paper bags versus plastic bags, we can be sure that paper bags decompose much faster and cause less harm in nature than plastic bags.

Multiple kinds of veggies and fruit in just a few plastic bags.

Multiple kinds of veggies and fruit in just a few plastic bags

Reuse
Besides not putting your bananas in a plastic bag and having multiple products in one plastic bag, another very easy and effective way to produce less plastic waste is to reuse. If you do take plastic bags in the supermarket, save them and take them with you on your next shopping occasion. This also goes for paper bags. Ideally, in order to get rid of plastic altogether, use reusable plastic-free bags. When I set out on my plastic-free journey I got myself a set of Re-Sacks. These organic cotton bags are fair-trade made in India. I use them for anything that needs a bag: strawberries, cherry tomatoes, beans, nuts, oats, bread, you name it. Sure I felt a little weird when using them for the first time. However, very soon I realized that everyone loves them (“beautiful material”, “so convenient!”, “where did you get them?”) and also that my reusable bags started many conversations in supermarkets and other places about the adverse effect of plastic and what we can do to reduce our plastic footprint.

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Strawberries in a Re-Sack

Recycle
If you do reuse the plastic or paper produce bags that you get in the store make sure to reuse as many times as possible. Finally, make sure you dispose of it properly. There are big differences in waste management among countries and cities around the world. For example, in Beijing (where I am living at the moment) households don’t seem to separate waste into plastic, paper, glass at all. In my district there is no formal waste separation. However, entrepreneurs with cargo bicycles search for plastic bottles and other kinds of waste materials, organize and sell it. It’s an informal way of waste management. In my hometown in the Netherlands, on the contrary, the municipality provides households with large plastic garbage bags to collect their plastic waste. Yet in The Hague (the city we lived in before moving to China) and (parts of) Amsterdam, you have to ride your bike to a plastic waste recycling point that are distributed around the city. Make sure to check with your municipality how to recycle your plastic.

WIN!
Now you have a chance to start using reusable bags too, because Re-Sack kindly donated two sets of Re-Sacks! Each sets consists of a Re-Sack Net, a Re-Sack Small, and a Re-Sack Voile. Because sending Re-Sacks across the planet would not really be a sustainable act, only those living in Europe can take part in the giveaway.

This is how you enter the drawing:

Leave a comment below in which you let us know how you would use a Re-Sack bag on Plastic-Free Tuesday. And a way to get in touch with you.

We will choose a winner by the end of July, so there is plenty of time to share this giveaway with your friends and family.

Update: We have two winners! You can no longer enter the drawing. Check whether you have won here.

Peanuts in a Re-Sack voile

Fresh peanuts in a Re-Sack voile

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About Author

Annemieke

In 2013, after reading yet another article about plastic soup, Annemieke started her Dutch blog Plasticminimalism where she documented her small steps towards life with less plastic. To create more awareness about the adverse impacts of our plastic consumption, she launched Plastic-Free Tuesday in spring 2014. She strongly believes that building a better world starts by changing our own behavior. Annemieke is an environmental scientist by training. She alternates living in the Netherlands, Sweden, the US, and China.

17 Comments

  1. Is this where I can say how i would use the re-sacks on plastic-free tuesday? I would use them to go to our local market and buy tomatoes, potatoes and other vedgies. I’d love to get started

    • Annemieke

      Yes it is! Please let us know how you would use the Re-Sacks on a Plastic-Free Tuesday. Afterwards, please share this article on your Facebook wall or other social media to help spread the movement.

    • Annemieke

      Congratulations Marijke! You have won a set of Re-Sack bags! Please let us know your details by sending us a message at info at plasticfreetuesday dot com with your address so that Re-Sack can send you the bags asap.

  2. Omdat ik al gebruik maak van herbruikbare groenten- en fruittassen zou ik deze set weggeven aan een vriendin die ze ook graag wil gebruiken, maar niet de tijd heeft om ze zelf te maken.

  3. I would love to really get used to using this kind of bags so it becomes an automatism to take them to the store. And then I would write about it on my blog (www.econologist.be) to inspire others to do the same.

    • Annemieke

      Congratulations Steven! You have won a set of Re-Sack bags! Please let us know your details by sending us a message at info at plasticfreetuesday dot com with your address so that Re-Sack can send you the bags asap.

  4. I would use them to contain my weekly supply of organic Fuji apples and whatever other produce I would buy that week. I happen to do my farmer’s market produce shopping on Tuesdays and a set of bags would be great to have so I can continue staying plastic free and have more options to carry my produce in. Plus I think it would set a good example to others at the market to start refusing and finding alternatives to plastic themselves.

  5. I would give them to my mum to encourage to think about her plastic bag use – she will get extras ‘just in case’!

  6. I hit ‘post’ too quickly! I would give them to my mum to encourage her to think about and reduce her plastic bag use – she always gets extra bags ‘just in case’! Or perhaps my sister, she seems intrigued by the idea of so many items being available in a more environmentally friendly design that will save money too.

  7. I would bring them to the Farmers market with me. I am convinced that the staff ppl would totally fall in love with them! Perfect place really do some product placement as for advertising

  8. Monica Mandeville on

    I would use the netted bag for my larger fruits and veggies, the smaller Re-Sack for when I only need something small like a lemon or a bulk bar of soap, and the Re-Sack Voile is perfect for grains like oats or quinoa. 🙂 Thanks for the giveaway!

  9. I will use them in the Turkish Supermarket or Indonesian toko’s to pack my veggies. Currently I’m reusing paper bags so re-sacks are most likely welcome. The regular supermarkets sell lots of fruit and vegetables with plastic packages so they don’t give me no choice 🙁

  10. I would use the Re-sack for bread and grain and fruits, I always run out of my reused brown bags at the farmers market because I want to bring home so many fruits!

  11. When I first gave up plastic two years ago, I decided it was better to keep the plastic bags I already had and re-use them, which I did until they all got holes in them. Plastic may last forever but it doesn’t stay useful forever! I also read that paper bags take 3x the energy of plastic bags to manufacture, so I never take new paper bags and reuse and reuse the old ones. Needless to say, I’m down to my last few grotty paper bags now (ps I use these for grains/pulses/stuff that i’m gonna cook thoroughly!). I have a couple of cloth bags but I’m not at the stage where I need to invest in some more…and these would be perfect! I only shop in bulk produce stores so these would be useful for EVERYTHING! : )

  12. Wow! these sounds great. I would use them at the markets and bulk food shops (it would be nice to not have mushrooms and tomatoes rolling around the place)! If I could bring myself to part with one I would give one to my sister to encourage her to use less plastic and see how easy it can be! : )

  13. Cynthia Gonzalez on

    So I live in the US and therefore won’t take part in the giveway but I wanted to mention instead of the sticker on the fruit, one of the things I do is write the item number on my phone (app called sticky note). I’ve also reused old stickers or tags. I just scratch off the previous item number and put the new number.

    I don’t have this particular brand but I recently bought reusable grocery bags and they are awesome! I use them for bulk, to put fruits like oranges, apples, apricots, and for bread. I also use them as my lunch bag.

    • Annemieke

      Your way around the sticker on the fruit is very creative! Does this work in grocery stores too? Many of them have scales that print the price and a scan code on a sticker. I don’t think stores would allow me to write down the price instead. Is this what you do? Would be brilliant if it works!
      Where did you get your reusable grocery bags?

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