Many of us are in the habit of bringing our own reusable bags to the grocery store. Hooray! Unfortunately, not so many of us have significantly reduced our use of plastic produce bags. And especially during this season of abundant fruits and vegetables, these filmy polyethylene produce bags are rapidly spinning oﬀ their rollers. Resist!
Now these bags, like all plastic bags made from sheets of polymer film, can be recycled into new materials. For this to happen, they must be stuﬀed into a plastic bag collection box located in the front of many retailers or taken to Recycle Utah. This collection system and the processing equipment required to recycle plastic bags is diﬀerent from that provided by curbside programs. So—plastic bags should never go in our bins!
Considering these points will help you decide not to grab a plastic produce bag for your next purchase of fruits and vegetables.
*All plastic bags can be used again and again. Use your produce bags repeatedly. Just place them in the bottom of your grocery bags.
*Go bagless with produce that has a rind or inedible skin, like bananas, citrus, avocados, corn.
*Forego taking a bag for single produce items, like broccoli or peppers. Putting them in a bag may reduce bacteria in a few steps along the way, but it does not eliminate germs. That’s why we wash produce before eating it.
*Purchase your own produce bags made of washable, biodegradable fibers like cotton, hemp and jute fabric or mesh.
By Bev Harrison