We all know this problem too well: we do our weekly grocery and end up with a lot of plastic shopping bags. The solution to this is to have a dedicated reusable bag! You can always use the same plastic bag over and over again to achieve a zero-waste lifestyle.
If you have not heard of it yet, reusable produce bags are becoming a staple among households now. It is an excellent alternative to plastic grocery bags for everyone. Are you interested in switching to reusable produce bags? Read on!
A reusable produce bags is any bag that is designed to reuse every time you shop. It is the most environmentally friendly packaging option because it is not a single-use bag. Unlike paper bags which is often touted as the best eco-friendly option, once you buy a set of your green bags, you can use it for a long time, not like single-use plastic and paper bags.
Note that produce bags do not have handles. They are better as a packing option of your goods, which will be put inside another bigger reusable bag.
Common Types of Reusable Bags
As said earlier, reusable produce bags come in different types depending on how you will use it. Here are the most common types of reusable produce bags.
The mesh material is similar to a small and more exceptional net. The advantage of a bag with this material is it is more light and compact (not that the weight difference is significant) since less textile is used.
If you buy a lot of items like fruits and vegetables and want to see everything immediately to avoid confusion, this is an excellent choice. Muslin, or cotton muslin, is a material that is like a combination of mesh and regular cloth bag.
Cloth bags have more structure than mesh bags since they use more cloth. They are typically more tear-resistant than mesh bags.
This type of bag is divided into different types depending on the material. You have polyester that is mostly plastic; you have the organic textile which can be made from hemp or another plant-based textile, and the regular cloth bag which can be nylon or cotton.
Thicker and more durable than your average plastic bag, these bags can be used on and on without deteriorating quickly. Think of Ziploc bags, but bigger and beefier. This plastic bag is a good option for packed food during travels to avoid spillage and spoilage.
Top 8 Reusable Produce Bags in the Market
1. Simple Ecology Cloth Bags
We talked about the muslin fabric earlier and how it is like a hybrid combination of mesh and cloth. It is a semi-transparent fabric that is made of cotton in plain weave style, which is why it looks “loose” compared to our cotton t-shirts.
The Simple Ecology Produce Bags set comes with six bags with two bags per size (small to large). This product is good for the average shopper, which buys items in a variety of sizes. The bags have a basic cloth drawstring which can be used to close the bag partially and avoid things from falling out.
This product is easy to wash (preferably not with a machine along with your jeans) which makes it have a longer lifespan. You can also use it to store vegetables in the refrigerator. Just make the bag damp so that the vegetables inside is always in contact with water.
2. Earth Junky 6-Pack Mesh Bags
Mixing mesh and muslin bags, the Earth Junky 6-Pack Mesh Bags is a versatile set for most purposes. The bag set is like the Simple Ecology bag set, but for each size, you have a mesh and muslin bag.
You can use the mesh bags for large items like bananas or fish (which should be wrapped in plastic first unless you will dedicate a single reusable bags for seafood) while the muslin bags are for smaller items like string beans which can fall out of a mesh bag.
3. IKEA KUNGSFORS Net Bags
A more premium offering from IKEA is the KUNGSFORS Net Produce Bags which are as stylish as it is useful. They can be a standalone bag meaning you can chuck every produce you bought (as long as the softer ones are on top) without bringing more storage bags for each type of item. It looks like a bag with a mesh material but bigger.
It is large, has a larger bottom, and a sturdy handle which is attached to a thicker fabric at the mouth of the bag. You can put heavy and bulky items and hang the bag on a hook without worrying it will tear.
4. Rezip 3-Piece Stand-Up Leakproof Bag
Unlike vegetables and premium reusable bags, the Rezip 3-Piece Stand-Up Leakproof Reusable Storage Bag is intended for storing cooked food. Lunch boxes and plastic wares can be bulky inside your bag. These bags will use less space and will be flat after you eat your food.
It is made from FDA-grade PEVA material so no need to worry for chemicals contaminating your food. It will also keep your food fresh since it has an airtight zipper seal. The bottom is expandable too for larger items.
This product will not be as spacious and flexible than other bags in this list, but none will be a better choice for keeping your food fresh than this.
5. Bekith Pack-of-15 Premium Produce Bags
For the home cooks and food-business owners, the Bekith Premium Reusable Produce Bags comes in 15 pieces of different sizes. This bag is an excellent choice if you buy your goods in bulk.
The bags are color-coded too. You can assign a fixed color for a type of good like the purple bag for eggplants and the yellow for banana. They are made from washable polyester mesh, which has the transparency of mesh and the durability of polyester.
6. Naturally Conscious Washable and Reusable Bags
When we have a regular grocery routine, we buy the same goods which require the same type of bag all the time. The pack-of-5 Washable and Reusable Produce Bags By Naturally Conscious are reusable produce mesh bags which differ from other mesh bags.
Why? It is made of nylon and not cotton. It dries faster and is generally more durable since it is a synthetic fiber. The set comes in the same sizes, so this is good if you buy the same items in large quantity regularly.
7. NZ Home 6-Pack Mixed Bags
A good quality bag mixes the best aspects of each material. This is the NZ Home 6-Pack Mixed Bags. It has a muslin bottom so that smaller items won’t fall out, but the rest of the bag meshes for transparency.
Having this feature makes the bag a bit pricier than the others. You are paying for convenience and versatility, after all. The cotton rope drawstring feels robust, too, and cinches the bag tightly.
8. ChicoBag Starter Kit
Want to reduce the plastic waste on our planet? The ChicoBag Reusable Produce Bag Starter Kit is made from rePETe (repeat + PET bottle), a fabric made of 99% recycled water bottles. Not that you will reduce your waste with plastic bags, you will also give new life to plastic bottles.
The three bags can be stored in a separate bag before and after using. After prolonged usage, wash it and hang dry. The size too is similar to everyday grocery bags in most stores.
Among the best reusable produce bags out there, the best one is the one you own already. However, if you are still starting with the zero-waste lifestyle and want a robust set of bags to (re)use for a long time, these eight choices will cover a lot of purposes. The main reason why people use reusable produce bags is that they want to reduce their waste. It is the best way to avoid accumulating a lot of plastic bags.
Lastly, if you also want to pledge to a more eco-friendly lifestyle, buying your own reusable produce bags is one step ahead!