Just Say No To Plastic — These Reusable Produce Bags Can Help Save The Planet

by Katherine Gaffney

Trying to reduce waste intensifies the hunt for green solutions, and that includes replacing plastic produce bags. Finding the best reusable produce bags will make a trip to the grocery store not just greener, but easier. Your main choice will be between bag materials.

As far as material options, you'll have to make a decision that meets your eco-sustainability requirements, while still offering the convenience you need. Our picks for best produce bags are broken down by material, so here are the perks and limitations of each:

  • The most environmentally-conscious option on this list, reusable cotton produce bags are sturdy, renewable, and biodegradable. They're machine-washable, but unless chemically treated — they're not moisture-resistant. That means you can't use them for rinsing produce, even if they're mesh.
  • Nylon produce bags are lightweight, durable, and water-resistant — great for washing and keeping produce fresh longer. However, nylon is made from petroleum, a fossil fuel, and is also slow to decompose.
  • Polyester, or polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is mold-, mildew-, and water-resistant, so it's great for rinsing and storage. And while it's recyclable, polyester is a form of plastic that's not biodegradable, so if you're trying to cut down on all plastic consumption, this may not be the right option.

Without further ado, here are the best reusable produce bags to help you on your next trip to the grocery store or farmers market.

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The Best Cotton Bags

These reusable produce bags are made from organic cotton that meets the global organic textile standard (GOTS). Cotton is fairly breathable, and so the bags can be used for storing produce in the fridge. This versatile option goes beyond produce shopping; the bags can be used as bread bags, sachets for cooking with spices and herbs, and strainers for coffee, tea, yogurt, juice, and nut milk. But keep in mind — since they're not see-through, checkout can take a bit longer. Each set comes with six bags.

  • Sizes: extra-small (6x9 inches), small (8x10 inches), medium (10x12 inches), large (12x15 inches), and extra-large (14x18 inches)


The Best Cotton Mesh Bags

These mesh reusable produce bags made from unbleached cotton offer superior breathability and shopping convenience, as the checker can see exactly what's inside the bags. They're on the pricier side, but come with a lifetime guarantee from the manufacturer, so they're a wise investment. This set includes nine double-stitched bags capable of holding up to 11 pounds.

  • Sizes: two small (8x12 inches), five medium (12x14 inches), and two large (12x17 inches)


The Best Nylon Bags

With over 1,600 reviews and a 4.8-star rating, these nylon reusable produce bags are a solid pick. The colorful hems bring style to grocery shopping, and the see-through mesh makes for easy produce identification. Additionally, the premium pop-lock makes securing produce for travel or storage a breeze. All five bags in this set are the same size, which means less tailoring to what produce you’re buying, but they're roomy enough to accommodate larger produce, like carrots, bananas, and lettuce.

  • Sizes: One size (12x14 inches)


The Best Polyester Bags

The most bang for your buck, this set of polyester reusable produce bags comes with 15 bags at a wallet-friendly price. With 2,600 reviews and a 4.8-star rating, the durable, double-stitched bags can hold an impressive 11 pounds. They're see-through for fast check-out, but — unlike the other bags on this list — the manufacturer recommends hand-washing for longevity. The set includes bags in three different sizes.

  • Sizes: three small (8x12 inches), nine medium (14x12 inches), three large (17x12 inches)