Friday, May 21, 2010

Product Review: ChicoBag Produce Stand Collection

We're attempting to be more environmentally conscious in our household. We purchased a new Energy Star High Efficiency washer and dryer, we recycle whenever possible (I'm sure I even try to recycle items that aren't recyclable), and I've replaced my disposable nursing pads with reusable ones.  I also do my best to remember to take reusable tote bags to the grocery store.

According to ChicoBag™, the average number of plastic bags used yearly by Americans is 500.  I moved out of my parents house when I was 18, so let's assume I started doing the majority of my grocery shopping at that time.  Since then, this would mean I've used approximately 7,000 plastic bags (I'm going to assume this also includes retail shopping bags).  Either way ...


Please stop doing the math to try and figure out how old I am.

When it comes to grocery shopping, while I do actually get a few extra uses out of typical single-use plastic bags (bathroom garbage can liners, recyclable rounder-upper, husband smotherer), eventually they wind up in the landfill. The thin, flimsy produce bags, however, don't have much of an afterlife and typically go straight to the trashcan. Mungee's Pa suggests not to use them at all, but I don't want an army of apples rolling around or a head of broccoli getting decapitated in the cart. Luckily, I recently had the chance to put the ChicoBag™ Produce Stand Collection to the test.

Image courtesy of ChicoBag™ 

This collection features three reusable bags, each constructed from a different fabric designed to maintain freshness.  The bags fold compactly, are secured with an attached elastic strap, and can be stored in the included apple pouch, so they're easy to tote around.  The apple pouch features a drawstring and a clip, so you can attach it to your purse, belt loop, or even the grocery cart. I wish the drawstring would close a little tighter around the bags, as I was worried they might slip out.

The generously-sized (16” x 12.5”ish) bags are designed to be paired with specific produce.   I think it would be helpful if the ideal type of produce for each bag was listed on the care label or at least pictured so I would know that I was making the best match, because I certainly didn't remember when I was at the store. I'm sure the proper pairing would become a habit with repeated use.  I bought bananas, avocados, squash, zucchini, onions and peppers and there was more than enough room for everything.

Aside from the mesh bag, the other two bags are not transparent so the produce needs to go on the conveyor belt and scale apart from them, which is a bit inconvenient and begs the question: do I leave it loose in the cart after all or put it in the bag and take it back out when I'm waiting in line?

Overall, I am happy to have found an alternative for those pesky flimsy, landfill-clogging single-use produce bags.  The next time the cashier asks "Paper or plastic?", I'll proudly exclaim "Neither" as I hold up my ChicoBags with a smile.

Win your own Produce Stand Collection by ChicoBag™!
ChicoBag™ is hosting a Produce Stand giveaway and will be selecting 10 winners to receive the new Produce Stand Collection. Please visit ChicoBag's Blog, Bag Monster, to enter. The contest ends
June 4, 2010 at noon PST.

Disclosure: ChicoBag™ provided me with the Produce Stand Collection for this review. All opinions expressed are my own. I have received no monetary compensation for this post.
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