Stop Throwing Away Your Mesh Orange Bags and Do This Instead

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Now you can finally put those mesh fruit bags to good use

Food packaging is not exactly sustainable. After unloading your groceries, you’ve probably accumulated lots of plastic bags and stuck them inside another plastic bag. Until stores offer more sustainable packaging, the best thing we can do is cut down on single-use plastics as much as possible.

While it may not be possible to make the switch overnight to living life without plastic and eliminating single-use plastics from your home, you can repurpose them and extend their life a little longer. For example, put those orange-holding mesh bags to good use and make a scrubbie out of them!

How to make a scrubbie at home

For this kitchen hack, you’ll need four empty mesh bags to make your own scrubbie. Make your scrubbie after you’ve unloaded all your groceries, or save mesh bags over time until you have enough. It’s totally OK if one of the mesh bags is stringy or broken—just use that bag for the center. Make sure to save your finest mesh piece for the outer layer.

Step 1: Roll the messiest bag into a tight ball. This will be the center of your scrubbie.

Step 2: Insert the balled-up mesh bag into another mesh bag. Roll it up to make it secure.

Step 3: Repeat with another mesh bag.

Step 4: Roll the mesh ball into your finest mesh bag. If this bag has a metal piece, turn it inside out first to prevent scratching.

Step 5: Secure and use your scrubbie until it accumulates too much gunk.

What can I use this DIY scrubbie for?

Use your “new” scrubbie anywhere you’d use a store-bought one. It’s especially helpful for scrubbing food residue out of dishes that can’t go in your dishwasher. Fun fact: Your dishwasher is actually better for the environment than washing dishes by hand.

When it gets dirty, simply soap it up and rinse it out—or for an even more sustainable approach, use a homemade cleaner or white vinegar.

While this trick helps you get a little more life out of your mesh fruit bags, there are far better ways to reduce your plastic use. If you can, shop with reusable items like cotton produce bags.

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Sarra Sedghi
Sarra Sedghi is a Birmingham-based writer and editor specializing in food, travel, and history. Her work has appeared in Allrecipes, Atlas Obscura, Eater, MyRecipes, Polygon, and Tasting Table. She excels at narrative writing, and received her MFA in Narrative Nonfiction from the University of Georgia in 2017.