What Are Produce Bags Made Of? Plus Sustainable Alternatives

As someone who is interested in reducing my environmental impact, I wanted to learn more about produce bags and what they are made of. After some research, I discovered that produce bags come in a variety of materials, including plastic, mesh, and cotton.

How are plastic bags bad for the environment?

First off, let’s discuss plastic produce bags. These bags are often made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and are designed to be lightweight, durable, and inexpensive. While they may seem convenient for transporting fruits and vegetables, plastic bags have a significant impact on the environment. Plastic bags can take thousands of years to decompose, and they often end up in landfills or oceans, harming wildlife and ecosystems.

Mesh Produce Bags: A More Sustainable Alternative

On the other hand, mesh produce bags are a popular alternative to plastic bags. These bags are typically made from polyester or nylon and are designed to be reusable. While mesh bags are not biodegradable, they can be reused multiple times, reducing the amount of waste generated. Additionally, some mesh bags are made from organic cotton, which is a more sustainable and eco-friendly option.

Other Sustainable Alternatives to Produce Bags

Another sustainable alternative to plastic produce bags is the use of silicone bags or beeswax wraps. These options are more durable and can be used repeatedly. Silicone bags are particularly versatile, as they can be used for a variety of purposes beyond storing produce.

Plastic Bag Bans and the Use of Reusable Bags

It’s worth noting that some countries and cities have banned the use of plastic bags, including produce bags. Kenya was one of the first countries to implement a strict ban on plastic bags in 2017, and many other countries have followed suit. While some states and cities in the United States have banned single-use plastic bags, produce bags are usually exempt from these bans. However, some grocery stores and retailers have taken it upon themselves to reduce plastic waste by offering reusable bags or encouraging customers to bring their own bags, including produce bags.


In conclusion, it’s important to consider the environmental impact of the materials we use for produce bags. While plastic bags are convenient, they contribute to a significant amount of waste and harm to the environment. Instead, we can choose more sustainable alternatives like mesh produce bags, silicone bags, or beeswax wraps that can be reused multiple times. Additionally, we can support the efforts of cities and retailers who are taking steps to reduce plastic waste by offering reusable bags. By making conscious choices when it comes to produce bags, we can all do our part in creating a more sustainable future.