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 eliminate single-use plastics from your home, you can repurpose them and extend their life a little longer. For example, put those mesh bags to good use and make a scrubbie out of them!

How to Make a Scrubbie at Home

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.

  • Roll the messiest bag into a tight ball. This will be the center of your scrubbie.
  • Insert the balled mesh bag into another mesh bag. Roll it up to make it secure.
  • Repeat with another mesh bag.
  • Roll the mesh ball into your finest mesh bag. If this bag has a metal piece, turn it inside out first to prevent scratching.
  • 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—for a 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.

Reusable Products You’ll Love

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Organic Reusable Beeswax Wrap

Saran Wrap and other plastic cling wraps are single-use products that use harmful chemicals like PVC and BPA, which have been linked to skin diseases and cancer. Swap these out for reusable wraps made from cotton and beeswax. These Beeswax wraps (3 for $16) use 100 percent organic, biodegradable ingredients, without any harmful chemicals. You’ll protect your health and reduce waste. If you want to live more sustainably, check out these items you should and shouldn’t recycle.

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Reusable Silicone Food Storage Bags

These eco-friendly reusable bags (6 for $21) are leak-proof and feature airtight seals to keep your food fresh and safe. They’re a wonderful alternative to the waste of disposable plastic zip-top bags. The silicone bags are microwavable and dishwasher- and refrigerator-safe. Did you know you can get reusable baby food pouches?

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Stainless Steel Straws

Straws are undoubtedly a luxury, and by no means a necessity. Swap out harmful plastic straws for reusable stainless steel straws, which won’t become soggy like some other eco-friendly alternatives on the market. These straws (8 for $5) are heavy-metal free and 100 percent food contact safe. They can even keep your drinks cold for a longer time! Up your sustainability game with these ways to recycle bottles and jars.

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Unpaper Towels

Paper towels are one of the most overused and wasteful products for cleaning. Avoid purchasing them altogether and opt for these unpaper towels (20 for $15), good for wiping up spills to drying hands to cleaning. They’re also machine washable! If you’re inspired by an eco-friendly lifestyle, you’ll love these ways green living can make you healthier.

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Natural Pot Scrubbers

Sponges are one of the germiest items in the kitchen! They also need to be replaced often. Avoid the waste of throw-away sponges by switching to these reusable scrubbers (2 for $7) made from cotton and non-toxic hardener. If you love to clean, check out these quick cleaning tips to help you clean your house fast.

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Faucet Water Filter

Avoid buying drinking water in plastic bottles, which are terrible for the environment. Instead, purchase an on-faucet water filter ($42) that won’t bulk up your refrigerator like filtered pitchers. You can also install a refrigerator water filter.

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Stainless Steel Water Bottle

Fill up a reusable water bottle before you leave the house for the day, then refill it later at water fountains, soda fountains in restaurants or the water filter at your office. This tumbler ($30) will save you money and leave fewer disposable plastic water bottles in circulation, which protects the environment. YETI is a reputable brand that keeps your drinks as cold or hot as science allows. Think it’s okay to leave a plastic water bottle in your car? Well, it’s not! Here’s why.

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Rechargeable Crank Flashlight

Keep batteries out of landfills by switching to a rechargeable flashlight ($18). It’s powered by a hand crank; one minute of cranking produces eight minutes of lighting. It’s also solar-powered, which let’s you avoid plug-in charging.

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Reusable Shopping Bags

Plastic shopping bags from the grocery store are so wasteful they’re banned in some places. Dumped into oceans, fish and other marine life often mistake the bags for prey. The plastic clogs their stomach or digestive tracts, leading to malnutrition and starvation. Avoid harming the planet by choosing a reusable shopping bag (3 for $25) to carry your groceries and other items. Here’s how to clean your reusable grocery bags.

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Reusable Compost Bagsvia

Reusable Compost Bags

If you’re composting, you’re already living a life of less waste. Take your green game to the next level by investing in these reusable compost bags (3 for $19) made from a quality outdoor fabric designed to withstand the harsh conditions of inclement weather and changing seasons. The fabric mesh is breathable, which ensures no vinegar or rotten egg smell. Next, read about how to start composting at home.

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