Do you ever find yourself tossing out a bunch of plastic bags at the end of your grocery trip, despite your best efforts? Not only the plastic bags carrying your groceries, but also the plastic produce bags keeping your fruits and veggies organized? I have a few simple solutions to help you!

At some point a few years ago, I began to notice that excess waste of plastic bags was a major concern. In fact, according to One Green Planet, there are over 100 Billion plastic bags that go into the ocean each and every year! With over 4-5 trillion plastic bags produced in America each year, over 1 Billion are simply thrown away as trash. Plastic bags can be recycled, of course, but the convenience they provide in the short term to transport your groceries home is hardly similar to the effort it takes to find a proper recycling method for them near you. Try a few of these simple solutions:

Keep Reusable Grocery Bags In Accessible Locations

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I have an excess of reusable canvas bags everywhere I look in my house. If I had to guess, I probably have upwards of 20 reusable bags! Sound like you? I feel ya. While some were purchased for a dollar or so due to their cuteness, others just seem to have appeared in my life through random events over the years through promotional giveaways. Instead of having these little guys decorated all over my house and car like sprinkles in ice cream, try to strategically place your bags in the places that will help you remember them. Obviously, keeping several in the car is a great idea, but also a few by the door on your way out is a great plan too. Keep an eye on the inside of them though. They might be reusable, but over time (as cited by USA Today), if they are not washed regularly or if food particles are left in them, they can mold.

Always Choose Paper Bags Instead Of Plastic Bags When Possible

It is much easier to recycle paper bags than plastic bags, so in the off chance that you forget, no problem! Ask for paper instead of plastic and then repurpose them as a place to drop your other recyclables (bottles, cans, plastic boxes). When it fills up, simply drop the bag with all the recyclables in your larger recycling bin and you are good to go! Do you have kids in your life? Reuse the paper bags as a wonderful paper canvas for the kids to make their own special mini recycling bins for the week with crayons! Have them personalize it and write words that are happy to associate recycling with positivity to help create your very own green helper!

The Real Deal On Reusable Produce Bags

Now that you’re shopping with reusable bags, why stop there? Plastic produce bags (you know those little green bags next to your apples) definitely contribute to the 4-5 trillion plastic bags produced annually, but did you know that the right type of produce bag can slightly increase the life of your produce? It’s true! A quick search on Amazon helped me find these beauties that claim to extend the life of your produce by helping to cut down on the ethylene gas production, which causes fruits to age/ripen. These produce bags only cost $7.99 and will last a really long time. With the convenience of being able to wash your fruits and veggies while they are in the bag enables you to wash and store them right away, simplifying your grocery trip and getting you back to what matters most in your life!

Often times, my bags help me stay within budget. If I have three reusable grocery bags with me, I make it my goal to ensure that all of my purchases fit in those three bags. There are so many ways to be sustainable while grocery shopping, but don’t let your reusable bag usage be limited to just groceries. Use your bags in department stores, craft stores, or anywhere you may encounter plastic bags at the checkout area. A tiny bit of preparation can really go a long way to help save our planet!

Catie Pires-Fernandes

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