Over one billion single-use plastic bags get handed out every day in the U.S. Costing retailers an average of $4 billion annually, these bags are made from petroleum and toxic chemicals that create pollution and greenhouse gases. Hundreds of thousands of sea and land-based creatures mistake them for food and often end up dying an agonizing death. With a large majority of these bags ending up in landfills, these bags pose a serious environmental problem.
The good news is while some communities are beginning to ban the use of these bags, Americans are slowly shifting to using reusable bags instead. One of the leading makers of reusable bags is ChicoBag.
“Our mission,” said ChicoBag’s Marketing Manager Sierra Norton, “is to help humanity kick the single use habit.”
Since introducing their original white reusable bag on Earth Day, 2005, Chico Bags has continued to expand their product line. This past spring they introduced their Produce Stand Collection.
The collection is made up of three different bags, each made from a different fabric and with its own specific purpose.
“Each bag’s designed to optimize freshness when paired with the right produce,” said Norton.
The hemp-cotton blend bag – a 70/30 hemp to cotton blend – is designed to absorb excess moisture and restrict air flow. That makes it perfect to hold things like leafy greens and green beans. The rePETeTM bag restricts airflow and locks in moisture, a good fit for broccoli, squash, carrots and celery.
The rePETeTM Mesh bags are designed to allow ethylene gas – which causes fruits and veggies to ripen – to escape. That makes it a good match for apples, oranges, onions and potatoes. This bag’s design will likely help you keep your fruits and veggies longer too.
rePETeTM, bags are made from 99 percent recycled materials. The fabric, carbiner and the cord on these two Chico Bags come from recycled plastic water bottles.
The hemp-cotton bag isn’t made from recycled materials but it’s made from a sustainable fabric.
As with all ChicoBag, these produce bags fold up into a convenient pouch, this one shaped like a red apple.
These bags have another feature unique to reusables – they can go from the grocery to the refrigerator to store the produce you’ve bought.
And, when you’re done, said Norton, just throw the bag in the washing machine. Wash them in cold water, then hang to dry.
These bags are great alternatives to those in-store clear plastic bags.
“We (thought) it was silly to be loading up ChicoBags at the checkout with (those) other plastic bags,” Norton said. “(They’re) detrimental to the environment. We came up with a solution.”
You can buy a three-pack of all the different bags or of any one. Or opt for the starter kit, which has one of each type of bag plus the apple pouch.
All of them are reasonably priced – $11.99 for a three-pack or $14.49 for the starter kit. A wide variety of stores carry ChicoBag, though not all of them yet have the new Produce Bags. But you can ask your favorite store to carry them. You will find them online at www.ChicoBag.com.