As a farmer’s market frequenter and shopper for a household of four, I made the executive decision to attempt the switch to reusable grocery bags. The disturbingly large, and ever growing, stash of used plastic bags in my home was becoming overwhelming and unmanageable. My household alone was doing enough damage to our environment simply with the amount of trash generated from these bags. Preventative and countermeasures were needed.
There is a wide arrangement of options for a set of reusable produce bags, ranging from 100% natural cotton to muslin, to synthetic materials. My trial pick is a pack of seven machine washable natural cotton and muslin bags with wooden closures by True Natured Co. It includes one net grocery bag, three mesh and three bulk produce bags. Initially, I was hesitant about the net grocery bag as it was not as flexible when first unboxed, but once I actually adventured to my local Farmers Market, I was pleasantly surprised by it’s durability and size.
The first trip was definitely a haul. Prepping for a large cookout with extended family requires an equally large amount of produce. A basket of strawberries, twelve ears of corn, seven cucumbers, six squash, six zucchini, seven tomatoes, and two cantaloupes later… And the bags held up wonderfully! I had to split the corn between the two longer bags, but everything else fit perfectly. The cantaloupes and tomatoes managed to end up in the grocery bag, getting rid of my fear about the flexibility of the netting. For average grocery shopping, this one still comes in handy. Since I do a majority of my produce shopping at the Farmers Market during the Summer, I only need a small bag to carry everything. The netted grocery bag works well for holding spices, out of season fruits, oatmeal, and other pre-packaged items. The handles are just thick enough to prevent hurting your shoulder.
After filling each bag to the brim, the final challenge for the bags to undergo was the laundry machine. Although most things say machine washable, some do not quite live up to the statement and fall apart after one or two washes. The first thing I did once the bags arrived in the mail was place them into the washing machine and hang dry. Following the trip to the market and the grocery store, it was time for a second wash. This time, I tried drying on low heat. Both times the bags came out fresh and clean without any shrinkage or damage. I did tie the drawstrings and tuck them into the bags to prevent any tangling between them all.
Overall the bags were just what my household needed, or more so what I needed. A second set may be necessary to keep up with my ever-growing family, but for now the seven work just right. It is a great relief to discover a set of reusable bags to replace the non-biodegradable, annoying plastic bags that have overtaken my house and are piling in the environment.