I’ve been buying Debbie Meyer GreenBags (Formerly EvertFresh) and really love them, but is the claim that produce can last 10 times longer if stored in these bags true? How? And should I worry that the bags are made of plastic? –Lauren, NJ
GreenBags and other similar products contain a form of zeolite, a hydrated aluminosilicate mineral that absorbs and neutralizes ethylene gas that is released by the food. The bags are a polyethylene plastic, considered one of the safer plastics because it doesn’t have Bisphyenol A, but a plastic nonetheless. (Never microwave these bags.)
The theory is that if you put totally dry produce in the bags the produce will last a long time (10 times longer) because the ethylene gas that causes produce to spoil is removed as it is emitted.
The design of the bags is a mimic of a successful natural food storage method used by the Japanese where produce is put in dark, cool, and dry caves made of this form of zeolite. I know about zeolite and feel fine about its safety for this purpose, and think that if you use baggies anyway, e.g. plastic storage, these bags will be a decent choice (although much more ideal once they make a biodegradable plastic). You can reuse the bags around 10 times.
A plastic-free alternative is to buy special disks to put into your crisper drawer. They also absorb and neutralizes ethylene gas and this technique has been used for years by florists as well as produce distributors.
Don’t confuse GreenBags and their counterparts with Rubbermaid and Tupperware products that are designed to circulate air in a way that extends the shelf-life of produce.