The best bags for fruit and vegetables and how you can get a FREE reusuable shopping bag for, erm, free because we're going green

Okay, here's the revelation for me. Did you know that you don't have to use plastic to hold your fruits and vegetables? Did you know there is an alternative? That's just as handy? And nearly as cheap? And is a whole lot better for you and the environment?

I didn't.

So here's the scoop. Like everyone else, I have long since jumped aboard the tote train. I have a New York Public Library tote I use when we walk to the farmer's market. I have a Dean & Deluca tote in the car for other last minute shops. And I used to happily stuff my environmentally-smart totes to the brim with fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables that were crammed into individual plastic bags. Oh dear.

Then I found this site.

Has anyone ever been to reusablebags.com? I tripped across it purely by accident and that's where the revelation hit ... produce bags made out of fabric! Fabric that could be washed and reused and washed and reused and ... so on. Fabric bags that were a whole lot more attractive than plastic. Fabric bags that breathed. Fabric bags that were incredibly cheap. And fabric bags that were not, of course, plastic.

Pretty good, eh?

What I'm talking about here are the Ecobags. They are 100% cotton, come in a bunch of different sizes, have handy drawstring closures, and cost two or three dollars a piece.

And, hey, beyond produce, they'd also make great sandwich bags, lunch bags, and what have you. With the new school year coming up, these could be good to have (you just have to make sure your kids remember to bring them home and not throw them out!).

So we're going green, big time.

And more ... !
While I was on the site, I decided to look around and see what else they had. Here are a few other tempting goodies I found:
  • Gecko Traders - Recycled Wave Tote ($35.95). These brightly colored, roomy totes (big enough for a nice trip to the market) are made from 100% recycled Asian rice and feed bags by a fully certified Fair Trade Co-op in Cambodia (which means none of them have big, splashy logos promoting, oh, Whole Foods, say, or Trader Joe's).
  • Basura Bags - Large Tote / Grocery Bag ($23.95). Just as bright as the other tote (in other words, don't bring either to a secret rendezvous), these bags are made from recycled juice packs by a women's co-op in the Philippines. The way it works is, kids collect the juice containers and sell them to the cop-op. The co-op, then, sanitizes the containers and the women sew them into these neat bags. Good for them; Good for us.
  • Ecobag Milano Cotton String Shopping Bag ($7.95), Acme Workhorse ($9.95), and ChicoBag ($5.95). I liked these because, hey, you never know when you are going to trip across a fruit stand or a garage sale and they are small enough to fit into my knapsack so I'm always equipped. The string bag is, you know, a string bag (although the wider shoulder strap should make it more comfy than most of the string bags I've seen). The Acme is pretty ugly, but it folds to a tiny size and weights practically nothing, so you just can't beat it for practicality (and, on a side note, I used it to shlep something like five books home from the library, so it's a sturdy little puppy). And the ChicoBag, which comes in all sorts of colors, looks sorta like a plastic bag, so it will help if you are suffering from withdrawal symptoms!
So did you guys know about these Ecobag produce bags? Or was I the only almost vegetarian running around stuffing fruit and vegetables into plastic? Sheesh!?

(FREEBIE! Oh, hey, sorry, I forgot all about the free offer. Here it is. If you order $25 or more, type Free Acme Bag in the comments box during checkout and they'll send you a free bag. Pretty good.)