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San Diego company works for a zero-waste shopping experience by creating single-use produce bags

On average, a family uses 1,500 produce bags a year, and their actual time in use lasts an average of only 15 minutes.

SAN DIEGO — The way we grocery shop will change in the next couple years with a bill that recently passed in California. Starting January 1, 2025 you will not be able to use the single-use produce bags that you see in stores currently. Instead, stores are required to provide bags that are: reusable, compostable, or paper.

The plastic produce bags are not recyclable, they’re weak and tear apart and not to mention… they pollute the planet. That’s why in a matter of years they won’t be allowed in California. 

 For Jennifer Duval and her husband Farzan Dehmoubed, this is the policy change they’ve been waiting for because they’ve been trying to get rid of their own plastic produce bag problem. Dehmoubed says, “We wanted to solve our own plastic waste problems. We had all this plastic waste in our cupboards and pantry.” 

They say the produce bags were one of their most frustrating sights to see on their many outdoor adventures, “These plastic produce bags are actually worse for the environment, they have a higher chance of going in the ocean and they look like jellyfish. They get ingested by all sorts of animals in our waters and its terrible for them.”

Duval says, “Farzan’s a surfer, I’m a hiker. We see it (plastic) everywhere.” Determined to try to get rid of the bags, they started their own business five years ago to reduce waste when shopping. 

Their business is called Lotus Sustainables

Dehmoubed says, “The average grocery store gives out over 2.2 million produce bags a year, so a chain like Kroger uses over 5.5 billion plastic produce bags.”

That’s because on average, a family uses 1,500 produce bags a year, and their actual time in use lasts an average of only 15 minutes.

However, the Lotus Sustainables produce bags can last you a lifetime. Duval says, “These are our favorite, they’re 100% raw, organic cotton and they’re washable and reusable hundreds of times.” 

This San Diego small business now offers the first and only reusable produce bags you’ll see on display right by your fruits and vegetables at Albertsons, Vons, and Pavilions. That includes more than 330 stores across Southern California. 

Dehmoubed explains, “The bigger they (the grocery chains) are, the harder it is to get to the right people. At the core they care about sustainability and they want to make an impact and if you provide an easy alternative to give to their consumers they’re all about it.” 

Along with Albertson, Vons, and Pavilions, you’ll also find them in most Ralphs, Gelson’s, and Baron’s. A 3-pack of mesh bags cost $6.99, and a 3-pack of 100% organic cotton bags costs $12.99. 

A husband-and-wife team who live in China manufacture the bags because they’re in line with Jennifer and Farzan’s environmental and fair wage practices. Duval says, “We’re so grateful! We never would’ve imagined it would’ve taken off the way it did.”

Now when their crew of about a dozen employees gets together for their beach clean-ups around San Diego, they hope to see far fewer plastic bags. “I would love to have a zero-waste shopping experience for customers,” says Duval.

Even though the plastic produce bag ban won’t take effect until January 1, 2025 you’ll already see these alternatives at most local grocery stores.

WATCH RELATED: Earth 8: Living a plastic-free lifestyle 

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