Reusable produce bags to limit even more bag waste


I had the same thought, too—but I wonder if it could affect their inventory-tracking and re-ordering system? Because it would tell the system that they’re selling more food than they actually are. It might seem like a negligible amount to the customer, but if lots of people do it, and over time, it might throw things off for the store. They could wind up ordering produce that would sit and rot (because they’ve ordered too much); sure, it’s already been paid for by the customers who brought their own “heavy” produce bags, but it would add costs for the store in terms of labor to handle the goods, plus costs of disposal, increased paperwork, etc., etc. Small costs add up quickly. And storage space for inventory, especially refrigerated, may be tight. I’m not a grocer, but I know the margin on groceries is very small and the business is very competitive. IIRC everything is tracked, even the waste and trimmings from produce get weighed and accounted for.

I think it’s also possible that the cashiers genuinely care that the customer is paying for more than they’re getting!

Maybe someone in the grocery business can weigh in here and fill out the picture for us.

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Nice !
Synthetic fibbers are sadly a big source or micro-plastic.

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Here in Spain, the plastic bags for fruits and vegetables are supposed to be required for everything.
Hell, there are even signs telling me to use disposable plastic gloves (available next to the bags) to even handle the fruits and vegetables.

I flat out refuse the gloves (some old ladies give me looks, but I will walk out of any store that forces me to wear gloves to handle some carrots that grow in the fucking ground), and use the minimum number of bags (at most stores, I need to weigh produce myself and affix a sticker. I put that right on the bunch of bananas or single red pepper, but no such luck for a bag of apples or head of lettuce).

The resulting number of bags still drives me crazy, especially as they’re not a good size/thickness to use for much anything else.

So, I bought a cheap set of these and will give them a go. Thanks!



I tend to get 10-12 apples at a time, so I would find putting them in the cart without a bag unmanageable. These seem like a good replacement for plastic bags.

I usually get the carrots that come in their own bags.

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We’ve been using them for almost 6 months, and I think the local grocery has FINALLY gotten used to them to the point where they don’t grab our unused produce bags from our bag-of-bags to put cereal in anymore.



I’m 50/50 on the produce bags, all depends on the item. I do however use bags for meat, at least for prepackaged items. If I get it from the case it is usually wax/plastic and paper wrapped.



To be clear—and lest my post above be misconstrued—I wasn’t defending unnecessary use of plastic bags, or contradicting Jason’s post in any way! I use cloth shopping bags myself, and generally take my produce without bagging it in plastic. I just seem to have a brain that automatically looks at things from various angles, whether I may ultimately agree with those angles or not. It’s just me unconsciously applying Miller’s Law, I think:

To understand what another person is saying, you must assume that it is true and try to imagine what it could be true of.
— George Miller

It instructs us to suspend judgment about what someone is saying so that we can first understand them without imbuing their message with our own personal interpretations.

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Since most produce gets weighed, and price is determined by the item weight.
It seems like adding un-necessary string closures to the bag would end up costing you at least for some produce.



If you’re willing to spend money to replace something that the grocery store gives away for free, then the small tare levy that the reusable bags have is probably inconsequential.

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Just heard a radio story about a whale who died with forty kilos of plastic in its stomach (about 88 lbs.). Mostly plastic bags.



Not sure I get it. Why does produce have to be weighed in the buyer’s bag?
In the street markets I go to (UK, France) greengrocers (esp in France) expect you to have a bag - in UK they tend to use paper bags. They both typically weigh on scales that have a bowl-shaped thing on top not a flat thing (like we see in supermarkets) so goods are typically weighed loose, anyway, if not in a paper bag.
In supermarkets it is pretty much self-weigh for all loose items, so you can weigh them loose or, if that is really not practical, use one of the supermarket’s plastic bags to weigh and then decant into your own bag.



Typically in a US grocery store, you’ll pick out your produce and bag it in the produce section, and while there’s a scale there, it’s just a scale, it won’t print a tag. It also won’t be checked by weights and measures. Then when you get to the check out line, they’ll weigh it on the certified scale attached to the register, already bagged.
So, apples, carrots, onions and the like won’t have much effect. But don’t buy your saffron in one of them.
If you’re at all concerned about the weight of the container you can ask for a tare when you walk in.
My experiences when I started using them were in line with @Ratel’s. Now they’re not even commented on while we ask after kids/grandkids.



We are luckier is France, most plastic bags have been banned. Let’s hope the rest of Europe catch up soon.



Ah - it’s been so long since almost ANY supermarket in UK had scales at the checkout … I guess I subconsciously assumed the US was similarly advanced. Of course I also overlooked that the UK supermarket market is daminated by half a dozen or so players whereas the US market is almost certainly much more fragmented.

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That’s fallout from Brexit I presume.

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Oops - but a nearly apposite typo, so I’ll leave it even though my inner OCD pedant is screaming at me. :wink:



A - in the us they view weighing your own vegetables as demeaning.

B - us :us:grocery options: Jeff Bezos, Sam Walton, Aldi or they are being forced out of business.



For what it’s worth, here on the east coast, a grocery store chain called Wegmans has fully functioning scales with pricing sticker mechanisms in the produce and bulk food sections to allow customers to weigjh and price on their own. Not sure why all grocery stores aren’t like this.

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Aldi in USA, eh? Interesting. They (and Lidl) have dramatically ‘upset’ the cosy UK supermarket ‘cartel’ with their no-nonsense, cheap and plain approach. I can’t imagine they would allow their cashiers to waste time weighing stuff at the checkout. Their modus operandi is to make the customer do it. Do they have self-weighing of loose fruit and veg in their US stores too?


…seems a bit odd seeing as (as someone else said) they already have scales so you can check how much you’ve selected, anyway. Printing a price label for customers to stick on their bag is hardly demeaning. Given that in UK I not only always do self-weighing but pretty much always do self-scanning (i.e. self checkout - have not seen a cashier in years) either at the end, or as I go round in places that have hand-held scanners, I guess I am truly demeaned. :wink:

They will be. When they figure out

  • you need fewer scales if you put them in the veg section for customers to do the work (= less cost per checkout station)
  • it speeds up checkouts and reduces queueing
  • its time to refit the checkouts in each store
    Plus you will have self-scanning soon enough, too!


Trader Joe’s.

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