In many grocery stores, the largest section is taken up by produce. Fruits and veggies consume more space in an average store than canned or boxed goods. This is because the produce section is more focused on displaying a wide variety of fresh options in a way that allows them to be kept cool or moist as needed while also preventing bruising. The special care shown to fresh produce does not end at the display. There are also several ways grocers allow for fresh goods to be bagged, bought, and carried home. Typically, these options come in three types: plastic bags, paper bags, or net bags. The good news is, no matter what you choose, there are simple ways to buy produce bags in bulk
Plastic bags are a grocery store staple. They are very common because they are affordable to keep in stock, handle moisture well, and are easy to ship or dispense in store. Many stores have circular dispensers where a single plastic bag can be peeled off and torn along the perforation to dispense single-use items for customers. Despite affordability and ease of use, this option does use the most plastic, which is seen as a drawback to many customers. Also, plastic does not breathe, which traps air and moisture and speeds up rot for some produce if left in the bag in a customer’s fridge
Paper bags are common in health stores and more eco-friendly chains because, unlike plastic, they are biodegradable. They are also seen as more environmentally friendly to produce and are recyclable. Paper bags allow air and moisture to pass through, which can increase how long the produce lasts. However, that moisture can weaken the paper bag, because they are biodegradable, and moisture speeds this up. This can lead to breakage and produce spills both in the store and while unloading groceries at home.
Net or mesh produce bags have many benefits. They consume less plastic than full plastic bags while standing up to moisture well. They also have given and flexibility something neither paper nor traditional plastic bags can say. This allows the shopper to fit more items in smaller bags. Mesh bags are affordable, sturdy, and allow air and moisture to pass through without leading to breakage and spills as can happen with paper bags. They are made from plastic, which is not seen as ideal to some shoppers, but have numerous ways they can be reused around the home to reduce the ecological impact.
Some Final Thoughts
Grocery stores are both customer and profit-focused places. They want to provide the most useful solution to a problem at the lowest possible cost. All three of these options for produce bags address vital issues: cost, usability, environmental friendliness, and ability to keep produce safe and fresh. Plastic bags boast low cost and ease of use in stores, paper bags are environmentally friendly and recyclable, and net bags sit somewhere in between the two and can be repurposed. All are excellent solutions in different scenarios.