February 23, 2021|
4 mins read
Tackling single-use plastic means you have to turn your attention to what you put your produce in when you are shopping for groceries. Instead of reaching for single-use bags for loose and individual items of fruit and veg, try using reusable produce bags.
Are produce bags recyclable?
You can be forgiven for thinking that plastic produce bags are recyclable. However, those very thin single-use bags for fruit and veg are notoriously difficult to recycle. You’ll also know from your own experience that they are very difficult to reuse. Lastly, any walk in the countryside, or along a beach, will show you just how often they end up as litter.
We tend to think of plastic bags being troublesome only in terms of the larger and thicker carriers that we use to bring our shopping home. But we need to think about produce bags too. Given these little bags need to be hard-wearing, the right size, and make grocery shopping easy, we thought we’d share our pick of the best reusable produce bags.
Choosing produce bags
When you start looking, you may feel a little overwhelmed. There is actually a lot of choice. So, let’s delve into what you need to know.
Make yourself or buy?
Realistically, produce bags are simple but they need to be tough and hard-wearing, and come in multiple sizes. We’re yet to find someone who has found it cost-effective to make their own when they can be bought for as little as £3 each. But if you’re a sewing whizz and confident that you can create strong seams and smooth drawstrings, then we’re all for a bit of DIY!
What kind of fabric?
The best fabric for produce bags is machine-washable. You want it to be lightweight, especially if you don’t have an option to weigh your bag separately when shopping. This makes mesh produce bags highly favourable. They also have the benefit of being see-through, making your shopping experience at the till considerably easier!
Whilst excellent for fruit and veg, mesh produce bags aren’t always suitable. Cotton cloth, whilst slightly heavier, can be a better option for some items, such as bread. Linen makes excellent produce bags which are capable of even holding items like flour. Of course, cotton bags are great because at the end of their life, they biodegrade and can even be composted.
Whilst you can find recycled PET plastic produce bags, we personally think the best bags are plastic-free produce bags. They last a long time, are easy to clean, and help you uphold your plastic-free values.
Best reusable produce bags
Here are our 5 best eco-friendly produce bags:
1. Linen Reusable Produce Bags by Tabitha Eve
This set of 3 produce bags by Tabitha Eve are an absolute must-have for all shopping trips. They are made from linen and bring a touch of luxury to your everyday purchases. Made in the UK, these are one of our recommended reusable produce bags because they come in three useful sizes and are super-strong. We’ve used them for grains, pasta, bread and even flour and they really do the job brilliantly.
They wash well and fold up small. Tabitha Eve also sustainably sources the materials they use before making the bags by hand, and we love that.
2. Mesh Produce Bags by Tabitha Eve
Tabitha Eve also makes three different size low-cost mesh produce bags. These are undoubtedly some of the best reusable mesh produce bags as far as we are concerned. They are made from 100% organic cotton, are lightweight, sturdy and dry really quickly after washing.
What’s great about these zero-waste bags is that even the largest, at 38cm x 28cm, folds up really small. You can always have them on-hand for impromptu shopping trips.
Handmade in England, they are perfect for fruit and veg.
3. Natural Cotton
Grocery/Produce Bags by Agnes LDN
If you’re anything like us and leave your fruit and veg in their bags until you need them, you’ll love that these organic cotton produce bags by Agnes LDN can be labelled or personalised!
Cotton or linen bags mean you can’t see what’s inside, so being able to have a bag labelled ‘onions’ or ‘lemons’ makes life a lot easier when you’re delving through your larder!
These drawstring bags are available in a range of sizes. There’s even an extra-small size which is perfect for having a small stash of snacks or nuts in your handbag.
Again, these bags are handmade in the UK.
4. Cotton Mesh Produce Bags by Green Island
The set of 3 cotton mesh produce bags by Green Island are made from GOTS certified organic cotton and will really help you on your way to a zero-waste lifestyle. We love the ethics of this eco-friendly brand, centring on fair prices for high-quality. They also plant a tree through One Tree Planted for every £10+ order placed.
These mesh bags are perfect for keeping loose fruit and veg together, and the drawstrings are brilliantly secure. Being mesh produce bags, they are very lightweight. You can pop them in a 30 degree wash and they will line dry quickly.
5. Tabitha Eve Zero Waste Kitchen – Starter Kit
Within this fabulous Zero Waste Kitchen Starter Kit, you get two made-to-last cotton produce bags alongside a heavy duty None Sponge and two standard None Sponges (made from cotton and organic bamboo). This is a perfect opportunity to test out the quality and versatility of the Tabitha Eve produce bags for yourself if you’re a newbie to using reusable bags for individual items.
Tips for shopping with reusable produce bags
If you’re doing your main shop, we recommend using a selection of cotton and mesh produce bags in a variety of sizes. This way you’ll have exactly the right bag for what you need. Pop all your reusable produce bags inside your cotton tote, so that you have them all on hand. We find it’s helpful to have two sets of what we need to make it easier for storing, washing and shopping.