If you want to get a little more eco-friendly with your grocery shopping, one way to do so is to invest in a variety pack of reusable produce bags. These are just as useful (if not more) as the thin plastic bags provided at grocery stores and one of the easiest zero waste replacements around. “Using reusable produce bags cuts down on plastic waste and reduces one-time-use products such as the film plastic bags you find in the produce department,” says Jill Troderman, a holistic nutritionist at Healthy Food Tree and the former owner of Blue Lotus Sustainable Goods, which manufactures reusable produce bags.
“Another benefit is that cotton bags are breathable so your veggies won’t get mushy and will last longer, saving you money and food waste,” she adds noting that, if you opt for a cotton produce bag, you can also compost it at the end of its life cycle for added eco-friendly benefits.
But all bags are not created equal. Material, size, durability, and design can make or break (literally) your bag. With that in mind, we sought out to find the best reusable produce bags. Find out more about why these are a grocery must-have, plus our other top picks for the best reusable produce bags.
Purifyou Reusable Cotton Mesh Bags (9-Piece Set)
Comes in a set of nine with multiple sizes
Designed for transporting groceries home as well as storing
Durable enough to use for kids’ toy storage and other organizational needs
Mesh material isn’t ideal for all bulk grocery items
The Purifyou Premium Organic Cotton Storage Produce Bags is our top pick for the best reusable produce bags, because they boast lots of versatility, value, and are ultra-durable. We love that the convenient mesh grocery bags come in a set of nine, which includes two small, five large, and two extra-large bags that fit everything from cucumbers and celery to apples and bananas.
The bags are constructed from a sturdy cotton material that is versatile enough to carry and store your groceries and can also be used to store objects like kids' toys. They’ve been praised for their functional drawstring closures and how well they keep produce when used for storage.
Price at time of publish: $23
Size: 12 x 8 inches (small), 12 x 14 inches (large), 12 x 17 inches (extra large) | Material: Cotton | Color: Cream | How to Clean: Not listed
Ecowaare Zero-Waste Produce Mesh Bags (Set of 15)
Colorful drawstrings that indicate size
Can hold up to 10 pounds
Available in three sizes
Made from polyester
Excellent for shopping but not storage
In the long run, reusable products end up paying for themselves, even though they can be an investment upfront. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly reusable produce bag, order the Ecowaare Set of 15 Reusable Mesh Produce Bags.
At full price, these bags cost $16, which comes out to just over $1 per bag. While they aren’t made from cotton material like other popular options, the polyester produce bags are incredibly durable and can hold up to 10 pounds each, making them a great choice for heavy produce items such as apples and avocados. The set of 15 comes in three different sizes with different-colored drawstrings, making it easier to determine the sizes while shopping. It’s no secret that these are a top choice with shoppers, too. We definitely think these bags are a great value.
Price at time of publish: $16
Size: 12 x 8 inches (small), 12 x 14 inches (medium), 12 x 17 inches (large) | Material: Polyester | Color: White | How to Clean: Rinse by hand or machine wash
Best Variety Pack
Qinline Reusable Produce Bags
Available in a variety of sizes, plus a net grocery bag for bigger items
Made from durable cotton muslin
Pouches come in both solid and mesh styles
Drawstring is snug and not as easy to pull tight
Most reusable produce bags come in a variety pack of sizes, but this one ups the ante with both mesh and solid pouches as well as a net grocery bag for larger items, such as produce or boxes of cereal. That means this set has you totally covered for your shopping needs.
This variety pack is an excellent option for those who are looking for convenience in addition to eco-friendly shopping. Plus, they're great for anyone wanting to store produce and bulk items in the pantry or fridge because they keep groceries fresh. The pack of seven also boasts lots of value and often goes on sale. They’re constructed from non-toxic and natural cotton material, which is an added eco-friendly benefit.
The grocery bags are risk-free because the company has a satisfaction guarantee and lifetime warranty that allows you to exchange or return them if you’re not satisfied.
Price at time of publish: $27
Size: 12 x 8, 12 x 14, 12 x 17 inches (muslin bulk food bags), 18 x 17 inches (net reusable grocery bag) | Material: Muslin | Color: Cream | How to Clean: Rinse by hand or machine wash
Net Zero Co. Cotton Muslin Reusable Produce Bags
Solid cotton bags designed for both produce and bulk items
Easy-to-use drawstring closures
Shipped with plastic-free packaging for an added eco-friendly perk
Material is GOTS-certified organic cotton
Can shrink by 10 percent when washing
For the best durable reusable produce bags, we love the Net Zero Co. Cotton Muslin Reusable Produce Bags, which are constructed from a Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)-certified organic cotton and feature a solid design versus the typical mesh, which can rip or get holes in it.
This pack of reusable produce bags comes in five different sizes, allowing for more versatility when packaging produce and transporting it home. And because they are made from a solid material, they work really well for bulk items, such as rice and beans in addition to produce. The bags come in a 10 pack and have durable construction, quality, and eco-friendly packaging, which can add to your zero-waste efforts.
Price at Time of Publish: $25
Size: 6 x 9, 8 x 10, 10 x 12, 12 x 15, 14 x 18 inches | Material: Cotton | Color: Cream | How to Clean: Machine wash on cold
Lucky Family Green Compost Bags
Can be reused in compost bins or small trash cans after shopping (or storing)
Durable and water-resistant
Technically trash bags, which might not be ideal for everyone
No built-in closures
If you want to purchase biodegradable produce bags, our biggest grocery hack is to order a pack of small compost bags, which work well for produce shopping and storage and can also be reused to line small trash cans and compost bins.
Lucky Family Green Compost Bags are our top pick for their value and durability. Despite being made from corn starch—yes, corn starch!—the bags can hold up to 11 pounds, are leak-proof and water-resistant, and can be reused multiple times.
It’s a good budget-friendly option, too, as the cost per bag for a pack of 50 comes out to around $0.18 each. While they don’t have built-in closures like cloth produce bags, these can be tied in a knot (similar to traditional produce bags) and easily untied for re-opening.
Price at Time of Publish: $10
Size: 1.3, 2.6, 13 gallons | Material: Corn starch | Color: Green | How to Clean: N/A
Best for Leafy Greens
Vejibag Fresh Vegetable Crisper Bags
Designed to prevent wilting
Made from 100 percent organic cotton
Available in variety pack or single sizes
Aren’t ideal for shopping
Reusable produce bags can be tricky when it comes to keeping leafy greens crispy and good as new. If you have a hard time keeping your greens fresh, consider the Vejibag Fresh Vegetable Storage Bags.
These bags are constructed from 100 percent organic French terry cotton and designed to keep leafy greens crisp by utilizing moisture. All you have to do is dampen the bags, fill them with your produce, and place them in the fridge, and they will stay fresh for a week or longer.
We love these bags because they are also handmade, giving them an added layer of durability, and while they aren’t ideal for shopping, they are some of the best reusable produce bags we’ve ever tried.
Price at Time of Publish: $40+
Size: 11 x 12 inches (standard), 11 x 17 inches (large), 14 x 17 inches (extra large) | Material: French terry cotton | Color: White | How to Clean: Machine wash
Best for Fruit
Earthwise Reusable Produce Bags Premium Mesh Set of 9
Barcodes can scan right through the bags
Fruits and veggies washable while still inside the bags
Tear-resistant and super-durable
Made from polyester, which might not be ideal for everyone
The best reusable produce bags are the Earthwise Reusable Mesh Produce Bags. Despite being lightweight and nearly see-through, these are constructed from a highly durable and tear-proof polyester material, which is ideal for carrying around heavy fruits.
In addition to their durability, the translucent bags make it easier at checkout, because barcodes scan right through the bags, so you don’t have to take everything out. You can even wash your fruits while still inside the bag once you get home. Although the bags are made from polyester—which might not be a first-choice for everyone—they are one of the more durable options on our list, which is necessary as fruit tends to be heavy.
Price at Time of Publish: $28
Size: 11 x 13.5 inches | Material: Polyester | Color: White | How to Clean: Rinse by hand
Five Two Organic Cotton Reusable Produce Bags (Set of 8)
Feature a chic dark gray color (which is created from organic dye)
Come in a package with both mesh and solid options
Easy-to-use drawstring closures
Can dampen them with water for fresher food storage
Dark color won't show dirt as much
Tall vegetables—like carrots—might stick out
Most reusable product bags are available in white or cream colors with rainbow drawstrings or tags to indicate size. However, if you’re looking for something that is functional with an elevated feel, the Five Two Organic Cotton Reusable Produce Bags, which are gray, are our top pick. These stylish produce bags come in a pack of eight, in three different sizes. Best of all, we think they look elegant and won't show as much dirt.
We love them because, in addition to their chic dark gray color, the package has both mesh and solid drawstring bags for a variety of grocery uses, not just produce. The reusable produce bags are also constructed from a durable organic cotton material with easy-to-use drawstring closures. Once home from the store, the bags can be sprayed with water to keep produce fresher for longer.
Price at Time of Publish: $29
Size: 11 x 8 inches (small), 13 x 11 inches (medium), 17 x 11 inches (large) | Material: Cotton | Color: Dark gray | How to Clean: Machine wash on cold
The Purifyou Premium Organic Cotton Storage Produce Bags are our top pick for the best reusable produce bags, because it comes in a set of nine with multiple sizes, depending on your produce needs. Additionally, these work really well for shopping and carrying groceries home, as well as storing produce in the fridge, which helps to keep veggies and fruit fresh for longer. For a more budget-friendly option, we turn to Ecowaare Set of 15 Reusable Mesh Produce Bags, which comes out to just over $1 per bag at full price. Aside from price, these bags are highly durable and can hold up to 10 pounds, and they feature different colored drawstrings that help indicate their size for easy shopping and storing.
What to Look for in Reusable Produce Bags
The first things to consider when shopping for reusable produce bags are the capacity and overall size of the bags and how they stack up to your needs. For the most part, you can find reusable products bags in variety packages with small, medium, and large sizes to choose from. If you know that you need mostly medium or large bags, you can also buy packages of the same size. While small produce bags are useful, they’re not often needed, because they can hold only a few lemons or limes and aren’t big enough for stalks of leafy greens, celery, or green onions. We recommend choosing a variety pack with just a few small options and more medium, large, and even extra-large options.
If this is your first time purchasing reusable produce bags, look for variety packs with the option to purchase a few more of the same size to add to your collection. For example, our best overall pick, the Purifyou Premium Organic Cotton Storage Produce Bags, comes with two small, five medium, and two large bags, but you can also purchase them in a set of three large bags.
Shape and Style
While size is most important, style can also matter. Most reusable produce bags are made from a breathable material, and many even include a mesh design. These are excellent for produce, but if you want to also use reusable produce bags for bulk items, such as rice and beans, you'll want to make sure you purchase ones that feature a solid material versus mesh so that everything stays inside the bag. In addition to material design, it helps to look at the closures. Reusable produce bags lean toward drawstring closures, which are easy to use and can keep everything safe and secure. You might also find options like the Vejibag Fresh Vegetable Storage Bags, which has a fold-over top and isn’t really designed for shopping and transportation, but more for storing in a vegetable drawer in your fridge.
Produce bags, in general, are rectangular-shaped, either vertically or horizontally, which provide enough space for storing vegetables and fruits. You might find some alternative options, like the included net grocery bag in the Qinline Reusable Produce Bags variety pack, which resemble more of a tote bag and are designed for larger produce (think: bananas, grapefruits, and potatoes) and other groceries.
“Natural materials, like cotton, are the best for storing produce,” says Jill Troderman, a holistic nutritionist at Healthy Food Tree. “You can wash cotton bags a thousand times, making them durable and long-lasting,” she adds, noting that they are also biodegradable, so you can toss them in your compost bin at the end of their life.
In general, Rod Kennedy, a store director at the Grand Rapids Fresh Thyme Market, says that materials that can easily breathe are the best, because they provide produce with proper air ventilation. (These include cotton as well as some polyester, so long as they have a mesh design.) “Additionally, bags that are BPA-free are a good choice—they’re typically made from cotton, hemp, or polyester and are machine-washable, biodegradable, or compostable,” Kennedy notes.
Many produce bags come with a tag attached that notes the tare weight, which is essentially the weight of the produce bag that the cashier can subtract from the weight of your produce at checkout. “Tare weights work well so you don’t have to pay for the weight of the bag,” says Troderman.
What is the ideal way to store your produce?
Produce storage is very dependent on the type of fruits and veggies, says Kennedy. “For example, the majority of fruits and vegetables should remain refrigerated while produce such as potatoes, bananas, tomatoes, basil, onions, squash, and garlic should be kept at room temperature,” he explains. When storing potatoes, A.J. Reist, the produce buyer and manager at Jungle Jim's International Market, says they “should be stored unsealed in colder areas such as a garage or basement.” Other room temperature produce can live on your countertop.
If you are storing your fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator, Troderman says the best way to do so is to start by dampening a cotton bag. “Next, put your vegetables into the bag, and place them in the crisper bin of your fridge,” she says. “Vegetables like carrots or broccoli will wick the moisture from the bag, keeping produce fresh and crunchy.”
What is the best material for reusable produce bags?
Reist, Troderman, and Kennedy say that the best material for reusable produce bags are made from cotton, muslin, hemp, or polyester. You can also find bags like Lucky Family Green Compost Bags made from corn starch, which is an excellent biodegradable material.
How often should you wash reusable produce bags?
The beauty of reusable produce bags is that they are washable, so you don’t have to worry about them getting gross between uses. While Kennedy says there is no set cleaning recommendation for reusable produce bags and tends to wash his on an as-needed basis, Troderman and Reist recommend washing produce bags after each use to prevent mold or stains.
Produce bags can be washed in the kitchen sink by hand and typically tend to dry quickly, due to their material. You can also just as easily throw most of them in the washing machine with dish towels or other laundry for an easy cleanse.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Contributing writer Jessie Quinn covers everything from organizing solutions to home essentials for The Spruce. When researching the best reusable produce bags, Quinn looked at everything from size and shape to capacity to material to durability to determine which ones are the best. She also considered price and overall value to find options for every budget.
In addition to these key factors, she reached out to grocery experts A.J. Reist and Rod Kennedy, as well as Jill Troderman, who has reusable produce bag manufacturing experience, to learn more about what makes reusable produce bags the best and what to look for when shopping for a pack.