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My biggest pet peeve in the grocery store?aside from pre-packaged produce, which I loathe?are those plastic produce bags. While many stores have banned plastic carrier bags, flimsy plastic bags are still a staple for fruits and veggies. I've long shunned the bag for larger items like broccoli and bell peppers and even apples, but it's a little more difficult when it comes to smaller items, particularly if you need a lot?think string beans and Brussels sprouts.

So I started trying to think of ways I can give the bag the boot. Whatever I used would have to stand up to water-misted veggies but be lightweight enough to keep me from paying for the weight of the container at the checkout. It seemed daunting at first, but it was surprisingly easy to come up with several great ideas.

Whether you hop on board with one of these five fantastic options or drum up your own alternative, don't let those flimsy bags lure you back?they're no good for the environment, and actually make your food spoil faster too!

Berry Good

Reuse the plastic quarts from berries. Just remove all labels and you have the perfect lightweight container for small items. Use them for string beans, baby potatoes, Brussels sprouts and cherries.

Flower Power

Have a bunch of small plastic flowerpots hanging around? Use them for string beans, peas, mushrooms and bean sprouts.


A small fabric bag is another great way to get your wee fruits and veggies from the supermarket to your home. You can sew one from lightweight cotton or reuse an old nylon lunch bag.

Take Away Do you ever get those Chinese food take-away boxes as gift boxes? If you aren't reusing them for gifts, why not use them for produce? They weight just about nothing and if they're the real deal, they have a moisture-resistant coating. Because they're larger, they're perfect for all your smaller produce and even for mid-sized items, like kiwi. Re-Packaging Unavoidable packaging is a fantastic source of lightweight containers. Despise that hard plastic clamshell packaging that brutalizes our scissors and hands? Once you get it open you have two great containers. And don't be so quick to toss the packaging your new cell phone comes in?it's also a decent size and super light. Bonus tip: If you live in Canada or the UK, milk bags are another fantastic option. Cara Smusiak writes on behalf of Naturally about how to live a more natural, organic and green lifestyle.