If you are looking to reduce waste in your shopping habits, you may already be accustomed to carrying around reusable produce bags to hold your fruits and vegetables. At the grocery store, however, some bulk quantities of produce — like onions, potatoes and citrus — are sold in mesh bags. Instead of tossing the disposable bags after you eat their tasty contents, you can reuse mesh produce bags in a variety of ways.
Of course, the simplest upcycling method for the bags is to reuse them to hold loose produce when you go shopping, especially if you have not yet purchased your own reusable produce bags. As in the plastic versus reusable bag debate, sometimes the most sustainable choice is to reuse a disposable object for its intended purpose several times instead of buying new products to replace them.
If the bags are still piling up, there are other ways to creatively repurpose them. Here are 8 ways to reuse mesh produce bags, from crafty upcycling DIYs to simple strategic repurposing.
Looking to green your kitchen? Follow these easy, no-sew instructions on how to make a pot scrubber from a pile of discarded mesh produce bags from Bangor Metro Magazine.
Take your sustainable seashell collecting to the next level by gathering your beachcombing treasures in upcycled mesh produce bags. The netting will filter sand and other loose grit out while keeping all your sustainably-sourced seaside souvenirs in one place.
Are birds picking on your plants? Tie a mesh produce bag loosely around your fruits and vegetables to discourage birds from pecking through to the soft, tasty flesh.
Your kids may love to play with rubber ducks or plastic boats in the bath (or maybe you do — we’re not judging!). Use two suction cup hooks on the wall of the bathtub to hang a mesh produce bag to store wet toys after bathtime.
Fill old produce bags with a handful of potpourri (you can even make your own with cut flowers and essential oils using these instructions from Fifty Flowers). Tie securely and place around stinky spaces throughout your home for a fresh scent.
One way to reduce holiday waste is by upcycling gift wrap. Aside from wrapping your presents in upcycled newspaper and paper, you can also bunch and knot produce bags together to use as a decorative bow.
One of the keys for successful container gardening is proper drainage, but adequately sized openings will sometimes allow potting soil to seep out along with water. Line the bottom of your containers with mesh produce bags to keep soil from escaping from drainage holes.
Trellising is a lovely way to save space in your garden while adding extra aesthetic flair. If you trellis heavy vining fruits and vegetables, like melons or gourds, they may weigh down or break the rest of your trellis structure. Tie a produce mesh bag to the trellis around heavy produce to protect and support them as they ripen.
Do you have any favorite ways to reuse mesh produce bags? Add them to the comments below.