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Best Reusable Produce Bags: All You Need to Know

Lidia Bertesteanu |

If you feel you consume way too much plastic, you probably are. Every trip to the grocery store or supermarket generates many plastic bags, containers, and wrappers for your fresh foods, vegetables, nuts, and legumes. While the world speaks at high volumes about replacing plastic shopping bags with reusable cotton/canvas shopping tote bags, many people seem to forget about reusable produce bags. They have been here for quite some time. The eco-friendly consumers also use them to store some produce in the fridge and some dry foods in the pantry. If you want to make even more lifestyle changes and get rid of even more plastic, let’s talk about the best reusable produce bags, how to use them, and how to get them!

Best Reusable Produce Bags: Homemade, Recycled, or Store-Bought?

Homemade reusable produce bags are cheaper than all the other versions, but you would need materials, a sewing machine, and some skills to make your own at home. It is an option for people who do have the time and handiness to create objects from textiles. Just as you repurpose old fabrics to make face masks, you can also transform other items into reusable produce bags.

Recycled produce bags can refer to two different sub-categories of produce bags.

1. Recycled cotton produce bags

We have talked about recycled cotton before, considering, together with other specialists, that recycled cotton could and should change the future of fashion with an enormous beneficial environmental impact. However, when people consider recycled cotton, they mostly factor in clothes. However, as we discussed, recycled cotton tote bags are the go-to choice for shopping and carrying fresh fruit and vegetables.

When you buy a recycled cotton & canvas tote bag for produce, you help the planet (and your budget) in two ways: ditch all the plastic bags are given at the grocery store and support those who recycle cotton.

2. Repurposed old shopping tote bags for produce only

While the term recycling is not technically correct in this context, we use it to signify that we attribute a single purpose to an item that we used before for various tasks. In short, you do not need to look further than your storage cabinet for the best reusable produce bags. You probably already have a couple of older shopping canvas tote bags you can use solely to buy, carry, and store produces.

Before you use these bags, nevertheless, you should wash them carefully and use them correctly. Since you will carry produce in these bags, you need to make sure they are always clean and safe from bacterial transfers, contamination, mold, mildew, etc. Check out this guide on how to clean a canvas bag if you want to repurpose it or store it until the next time you use it. You will learn many useful things about preparing canvas bags for heavy use.

When it comes to cleaning and maintaining a produce bag (either repurposed or new), make sure you machine-wash it often. The contamination risks are high, especially in these troubled times, so it is best to stay on the safe side.

When it comes to store-bought reusable produce bags, you have plenty of options. Depending on their fabrics or features, you can decide what the best reusable produce bags are for your needs! Let’s see some of these choices!

Best Reusable Produce Bags: Fabrics and Features

The most popular choice these days are mesh reusable produce bags. You can buy them in bulk, even in supermarkets or from online stores. Most of them are plastic mesh bags you can reuse as many times as you want as long as you clean them in cold water and dish soap as often as possible. On the other hand, those who want to stay away from plastic for good have the option of fabric mesh bags. They look rustic and come in various sizes and shapes.

Nevertheless, here are three more options we think you will enjoy!

1. Mesh Reusable Shopping Tote Bags

Suppose you are the type that shops large quantities of fresh fruit and vegetables for your family. In that case, you might need a durable mesh shopping tote to replace all plastic bags and serve your shopping needs with lightweight materials and spacious compartments. You can get a couple of them at a wholesale price and rotate them weekly. More extensive than the usual veggie bags you can get in a supermarket, these tote bags come with the double function of produce bags and shopping bags.

2. Burlap Reusable Produce Bags

Jute/burlap bags and pouches are the best reusable produce bags for people considering sustainability on all levels. First, jute is an eco-friendly fabric in and out of itself. Secondly, jute/burlap is an excellent material (durable, sturdy, yet breathable) to carry and store fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, coffee, and so on. In this category of burlap tote bags, you have at least two outstanding options!

  • A jute shopping tote bag to use exclusively for fresh produce. Take the burlap tote bag to the grocery store, fill it with your favorite fruits and veggies, and come back home. It is that easy!

  • A handful of burlap pouches for individually packed fresh fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts, beans, coffee, and all other foods you want to buy in bulk from the grocery store or the farmers’ market. The burlap pouches have double-knotted jute drawstring closures to keep your items safe from spilling.

Just like canvas tote bags and muslin produce bags, burlap bags of all sizes and purposes need thorough cleaning and maintenance. Check out this guide on how to keep all your jute bags in tip-top shape!

3. Cooler Reusable Produce Bags

What do you do in the summer when you go to the farmers’ market and have a few more errands to run before going home? You take a cooler reusable shopping bag and use it as a produce bag! As we all know, some fruits, greens, and veggies need cold to preserve their healthiness, look, and freshness. For this reason, a cooler bag is a precious option, especially since cool lunch bags are all the rage right now for busy people!

Bottom Line

Do you use produce bags when you shop? Which are the best reusable produce bags, in your opinion? Do you have other preferences regarding buying and carrying fresh fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts, or legumes from the market? Let us know in the comment section below!