If you're concerned about the negative effects of plastic, you might want to consider buying some Ecobags. Made of regular, organic or recycled cotton, these lightweight bags allow you to avoid nasty plastic bags when you're picking up a few apples or even buying a week's worth of groceries.
I recently ordered some Ecobags online and was excited when they arrived in the mail after just a few days wait. Now I'm all ready to take my handy new produce bags and go to the Home Economist, a Chicago-area food store that sells a variety of foods from bulk bins. I have to say, I can't wait to buy things like pasta, granola, and coffee in bulk and not have to worry about taking home tons of plastic packaging.
Also available through Ecobags are a wide variety of net and canvas bags. The net bags are perfect for bringing home things like green beans, and the canvas ones are obviously a great replacement for your standard plastic grocery bag. Oh, and don't forget to check out their Classic String Bag. It's very cute.