As Scarlett (the three year old) played at daycare, and Ruby (the 4 month old) slept soundly in her swing, I set out into the yard with a camera hanging from my neck and a bag full of bags in hand. This is the life of a blogger - while the kids are occupied, we set out to take pictures of what many on-lookers would consider to be fairly insane.
Today I felt particularly nuts, and smiled at the thought of what my neighbours would think it they peered through the hedges and saw me photographing old, mesh produce bags, which to them, is most likely garbage - but not to me!
To me, and my even more so waste-less mother, these mesh produce bags serve many unique purposes!
Generally, I try to avoid buying anything that comes in packaging that isn't recyclable, but there are a few unavoidable cases. For example, if I want organic avocados, lemons and sweet potatos, then I'm often stuck buying them in the plastic, mesh bags because that's usually the only way they're sold (in my grocery store, at least.)
But fuelled by our desire to live waste-free lives, my mom and I have come up with 3 awesome ways to re-purpose mesh produce bags, thus saving them from a lifetime in the land-fill.
I have become a bit of a mesh-produce-bag collector and connoisseur. There are different types of these bags - hard plastic, soft plastic, big holes, small holes etc., and I use the various types for different purposes. By now, I'm sure you're on the edge of your seat. Please, remain calm and read on...
3 Awesome Ways to Re-purpose Mesh Produce Bags
#1 - Make Garden Rope
Right before your eyes, you can transform a mesh produce bag into a durable, yet soft, garden rope which is absolutely IDEAL for tying back tomatoes, flowers and fruit trees because the softness of the "rope" doesn't cut into the plant. I also use the rope for tying together bean poles and making a trellis, but go ahead and get creative - sky's the limit!
The best kind of produce bag to use here is the "soft" ones that avocados come in. Simply cut the end off, and stretch width-wise to make a big circle. Voila - rope. Make the rope as long as you wish by looping one through the other (pictured below).
#2 - Use to Dry Flowers and Herbs
Produce bags are perfect for drying herbs and flowers. Air flows freely through the holes which are small enough that pieces don't fall out. I like to clothes-pin them to a drying rack and leave them to dry in full sun, which only takes about a day or two in the summer.
The best types of produce bags for the job, I find, are the the larger bags that yams and potatoes come in, which don't convert to a "ropes". Also, produce bags with huge stickers are good too (like citrus bags) because the sticker will just destroy the bag if you try to take it off - so just leave it on.
#3 - Great for Straining, Soaking and Sprouting
If you soak or sprout your seeds and nuts, then you probably use a cheese cloth to strain them. But do you know what's better then a cheesecloth? You guessed it! A Mesh Freakin' Produce Bag!!!
Hard plastic produce bags with small holes are ideal. You can also double up the bag for straining smaller seeds/nuts.