Reusable produce bags are becoming an essential shopping accessory. Just as reusable food storage bags provide a green alternative to plastic sandwich bags, reusable produce bags offer an eco-friendly and convenient replacement for single-use plastic produce bags.
The best reusable produce bags are high-capacity, lightweight, and strong, allowing you to bag produce and carry it home easily. Many reusable produce bags are also designed so barcodes can be scanned through their transparent material or fine mesh. This list of top picks is a good place to start your search for the best reusable produce bags for your shopping cart.
- BEST OVERALL: Earthwise Reusable Mesh Produce Bags Set of 9
- RUNNER-UP: Planet E Reusable Foldable Grocery Bags
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Ecowaare Set of 15 Reusable Mesh Produce Bags
- BEST RECYCLED: flip & tumble Reusable Produce Bags Washable Mesh
- BEST INSULATED: VENO 3 Pack Insulated Reusable Grocery Bag
- BEST LARGE-CAPACITY: All Cotton and Linen Produce Bags – Cotton Mesh
- BEST VARIETY: Simple Ecology Muslin Reusable Produce Storage Bags
- HONORABLE MENTION: Naturally Sensible Reusable Produce Bags
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Reusable Produce Bags
There are many kinds of reusable grocery bags on the market. Before committing to one product, it is important to consider the bag’s material, size, capacity, and versatility. Here are the top shopping considerations for choosing the best reusable produce bag.
There are many different types and features of reusable produce bags. Some are better suited to keep produce together in one neat storage bag, while others can also haul groceries home from the store. When choosing the right produce bag, it is essential to consider these types:
- Mesh bags are standard produce bags that often have a drawstring enclosure, sometimes with a toggle button. Many mesh bags are transparent for easy scanning and have tare weight labels that display the bag’s weight to subtract when weighing produce.
- Canvas bags are another popular style made with a tightly woven material, often with drawstrings and tare weight labels.
- Totes are reusable bags that are often large and sewn with long handles; they may double as insulated grocery bags to keep food cold or hot.
- Box bags are reusable bags made with rigid, nonwoven material that keeps the bags open and upright. Box bags may also be insulated.
Reusable shopping bags come in a variety of materials. Each material has pros and cons related to durability, environmental impact, and practical usage. Here is a rundown of the different materials to choose from and their benefits:
- Cotton is an all-natural material that is biodegradable, strong, durable, and machine washable. If certified organic, the cotton was typically grown without pesticides. However, cotton is not moisture resistant and can shrink in the wash.
- Polyester bags are made with a synthetic PET material that is water and mold resistant and can compact easily. A significant disadvantage of polyester is that it is a form of plastic and does not break down easily in the environment.
- Nylon is another synthetic polymer material that is strong, lightweight, and compact. Because it requires the use of petroleum during production, its eco-friendly properties are reduced.
- Nonwoven polypropylene is a plastic-based material that is usually low-cost and relatively durable. While this material is generally recyclable, it is a type of plastic and requires the use of nonrenewable resources and cannot be machine-washed.
- Hemp is one of the strongest natural fibers, being three times stronger than cotton. It requires little water or resources to grow, meaning its production has a smaller environmental impact.
Size and Capacity
Reusable produce bags are often available in a scale of sizes to best accommodate capacity needs. Smaller produce bags may be sized to fit only a handful of apples, limes, and lemons, whereas extra-large produce bags can often carry 20 or more apples for a weight capacity of 10 pounds.
Many sets of produce bags come in different sizes for convenience. A small produce bag may measure 8 by 10 inches, whereas a large produce bag can measure up to 18 by 14 inches or bigger.
Comfort and Convenience
When searching for the best reusable produce bag, choosing a product that offers comfort and convenience is important. Bags come in all different shapes, with a variety of closures and methods for storage. Some reusable grocery bags have handles for comfortable carrying, while others do not have handles but only drawstring loops.
Some bags fold down completely flat for cabinet storage, while others have hanging loops that can be hung by the front door. Most reusable bags are lightweight to avoid adding extra ounces when checking out or unnecessary strain when carrying the bags to and fro.
Ease of Cleaning
Another vital shopping consideration when choosing a reusable produce bag is how easy it is to clean. Fortunately, most produce bags are durable enough to be washed in a laundry machine, but it does depend on the material. Produce bags made with cotton, nylon, and polyester are usually safe to machine-wash but should be washed on a cold and gentle cycle.
When washing a produce bag, it is essential to use all-natural laundry detergent to avoid unintentionally soaking the material with harmful chemicals. To maintain durability and shape, always air- or hang-dry. Some bags may recommend only hand-washing to reduce wear and tear, so always consult the laundry instructions directly from the manufacturer.
While reusable produce bags are often used to carry fruits and veggies home from the supermarket, many can be used for a wide variety of kitchen tasks. Some bags are made with a fine mesh that can be used to make nut milk, carry bulk grains or spices, or transport snacks. Bags with a broader mesh can be used for laundry, travel, or as a general tote bag for everyday activities. Reusable bags are an eco-friendly way to store produce and carry or store other household items and goods.
Our Top Picks
The top picks below have been selected based on the essential shopping considerations discussed above. These bags are made from the best materials, such as BPA-free and food-safe polyester, and are an ideal size for carrying and storing produce. These produce bags are some of the best on the market and offer a convenient and eco-friendly way to shop.
The Earthwise Reusable Mesh Produce Bags eliminate single-use plastic in the produce aisle. Made with 100 percent BPA-free and tear-proof polyester, these fine-mesh bags are strong enough to carry about eight large apples and are transparent enough to scan at checkout.
The bags measure 11 inches by 13.5 inches and weigh less than 0.333 of an ounce, so they do not noticeably affect the price when weighing items at the till. The bags have a drawstring closure to keep everything secure and are also machine washable. It is also possible to use these bags to store toys, wash delicates, or transport snacks.
This set of three reusable bags by Planet E offers a convenient way to transport groceries from the store to the kitchen. These tote bags have a removable reinforced bottom that secures the bag’s contents to prevent shifting when moving. They can carry heavy loads up to 30 pounds.
The bags measure 13 inches by 11 inches by 10 inches and are made of rigid polyester that stands open for easy loading and unloading. The bags have longer handles to accommodate taller items and are foldable for convenient storage when not in use. They are made from polyester material and are not machine washable.
Ecowaare’s set of 15 reusable mesh produce bags has great value at a reasonable price. Each bag has a drawstring closure with a toggle button for a tight seal. There are three bag sizes of large, medium, and small; each is marked with a different color. The large is red and measures 17 inches by 12 inches, the medium is green and measures 14 inches tall, and the small is yellow and measures 8 inches tall. The three sizes can hold approximately 24, 12, or 8 apples, respectively.
The bags are made with a fine polyester that is both food-safe and see-through enough to scan barcodes at the store. It is possible to carry fruits and veggies in these bags as well as bulk grains, wholesale coffee beans, and even snacks or toys. To prolong the life of bags, hand-wash or machine-wash on a gentle cycle with cold water and the drawstrings tightened.
The woman-owned flip & tumble company is dedicated to producing ethically made, eco-friendly products that reduce single-use plastic—and their 100 percent polyester produce bags do just that. This set comes with five bags, each of which measures 12 inches by 14 inches and weighs less than 0.4 ounces, an ideal size for storing produce.
The bags are machine washable, have a convenient drawstring closure, and come stitched with color tags for different organizational uses. These fine-mesh bags can also be used as nut milk bags, toy organizers, travel bags, or laundry bags, adding convenience and versatility. They can hold approximately 8 to 10 apples.
Veno’s insulated grocery tote bags are heavy-duty and made with recycled nonwoven polypropylene material that is BPA-free. They are designed to stand upright and carry heavy loads up to 30 pounds. This set comes with three bags, each of which measures 15.8 inches by 8.7 inches by 13 inches and can collapse flat for easy storage.
The handles wrap around the bag and are securely stitched to prevent tearing. These reusable grocery bags have an insulated interior designed to keep food fresh and at the right temperature during your drive home. They are versatile enough to carry heavy produce items or be used for car trunk organization, picnics, and so on.
Made with 100 percent organic, double-stitched cotton, these reusable mesh produce bags, by the All Cotton and Linen Store, have a large capacity that can hold approximately 10 pounds. This set of six comes in three different sizes: medium, which measures 12 inches by 10 inches; large, measuring 15 inches by 12 inches; and an extra-large size, which measures 18 inches by 14 inches.
The bags are machine washable and designed to be durable. A long drawstring enclosure tightens the bag and can be used to hang easily when not in use. Each bag has a tare weight tag stitched into the side that lists the bag weight for easy subtraction at checkout, ensuring you don’t spend more money than necessary.
Based in the U.S., Simple Ecology is a company that specializes in reusable produce bags. This particular set comes with six fine-mesh bags in three different sizes of small, medium, and large. There are various sizes, including 8 inches by 10 inches, 10 inches by 12 inches, and 12 inches by 15 inches. The large bag can hold up to 10 pounds of potatoes or 16 large apples.
The bags are made with an organic muslin that is breathable and food-safe. The body of the bags is constructed with double-stitched overlocking seams to prevent ripping. A tare weight tag is stitched into the seams to subtract the bag weight from the total produce weight. These bags have a drawstring closure and can be used for bulk grains, nut milk making, and more.
Naturally Sensible’s five-piece set of reusable produce bags is made with a durable nylon mesh. The bags have a drawstring opening stitched with a colorful band of fabric that can be tightened with a pop-lock toggle button. These bags measure 12 inches by 14 inches and can fold down easily to fit in a purse or glove box.
Each bag weighs about 0.9 ounces and features a tare weight tag that lists the weight in ounces, pounds, and grams. It is also possible to use these mesh bags for travel, laundry, and other grocery store items. These eco-friendly bags are washable but should be hand-washed and hung to dry.
FAQs About Reusable Produce Bags
After learning about these top picks for the best reusable produce bags, you may still need further information. Below are answers to some common questions about choosing and maintaining produce bags.
Q. Do reusable bags help keep produce fresh?
Reusable produce bags may help keep produce fresher for a longer time. As fruits and veggies age, they release ethylene gas, which quickens the rotting process. Plastic bags trap this gas inside, but breathable produce bags allow the gas to escape, potentially prolonging the life of produce.
Q. Do reusable produce bags weigh more?
Reusable produce bags typically weigh more than plastic, but the difference is often only 3 to 4 grams or 0.1 to 0.2 ounces. This weight difference should not significantly affect the price of produce at check out. Some heavier bags have tare weight labels to identify the bag’s weight and to notify the cashier to subtract it from the total weight of produce.
Q. How do I wash my reusable produce bags?
Most reusable produce bags are safe to throw in the washing machine and should be washed on a gentle, cold cycle with an all-natural detergent that is food safe. However, it is always best to read the manufacturer’s wash recommendations.
Q. How do you store reusable grocery bags?
Reusable grocery bags are often designed to fold or scrunch down to a smaller size for easy storage. A dedicated drawer or cabinet can offer a good storage solution for reusable grocery bags.