Gear: Mesh produce bag from Sobeys/Safeway

Mesh produce bags from Safeway

What’s the best part of to-do lists? Easy. The simple items designed to be crossed off as complete with basically no effort. 

And don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about, pal. We all add them to our lists to make us feel like we’re making some progress so we’re not stuck forever looking at a daunting list of 10 things with zero items completed. A good to-do list should have at least a few gimmies mixed in with things that are genuinely more difficult to do. “Water the plants” or “take out the recycling” are far easier than, say, “clean the bathroom.”

I’m here to offer you a to-do list gimmie to tack on to the (possibly languishing) new year’s resolutions you made nearly two months ago. Here you go: “Cut down on the number of single-use plastic bags I use.” Easy. With a couple of quick purchases, you’ll be scratching that puppy off in no time. 

Big bags, little bags

The easy part of this is keeping a reusable shopping bag around. For maximum style points, look for tough, lightweight, easy-to-pack reusable bags from companies like Baggu (indigo affiliate linksupport the site, friend!). I have one with bunnies on it, and it turns heads everywhere I go. (Possibly because I’m a burly dude with a bunny-covered shopping bag, but whatevs. It’s 2020.) 

Too fancy-pants? You can get cheap reusable bags at nearly every grocery store these days, but think about how you’ll pack them (do they fold into a small pouch, and can you tuck it into a purse or messenger bag?) and if they’ll actually last more than a few trips to the store. The best reusable bag is the one you have with you when you need it. 

The next step isn’t much tougher. And since you’re already bringing a plastic bag, all you have to do is add another super light mesh produce bag or two into your reusable shopping bag. 

Mesh produce bags from Safeway

It used to be a lot harder to find reusable mesh produce bags a few years ago – the organic grocery store may have had them, and they may have been made of organic artisanal hemp fibre and cost $20. Thanks to public pressure and a changing general sentiment around plastic waste, they’ve gone mainstream. 

You may even find them for sale in the production section of your supermarket, as I did with these beauties from Safeway/Sobeys here in Canada. Four lightweight mesh bags for only $5.99 is impulse-buy cheap, and you should get lots of use out of them. Are they great for the bunch of wet lettuce or cilantro? Nope. But they’re perfect for grabbing a handful of limes, some onions or a few apples. 

Don’t be discouraged if you can’t get rid of all the plastic bags in your life. The important part is reducing the number you use, and being mindful of the plastic waste you’re generating. Every time you use your mesh bag, that’s one more bag you don’t have to toss. 

The Details

Price: $5.99 for a four-pack of bags at Safeway in Edmonton.

Value for Money: Just fine.

Availability: The produce sections of Sobeys and Safeway grocery stores.

Nutrition: Eat the fruit, not the bag.

Verdict: Easy to pack and lightweight, these are plenty practical and plenty cheap.

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