Sometimes produce is packaged in mesh bags, such as the bag of oranges shown below.

What are these bags made of, and can they be recycled? If they cannot be recycled, can we do something else with them other than throwing them in the waste bin?

oranges in a red mesh produce bag

2 Answers 2


Some areas might have a local soft plastic recycler, like RedCycle in Australia (which lists them as "Netting produce bags (any metal clips removed)").

I can see them as being reused as a carry bag, if several are somehow attached together, but again, it depends on how durable the material is, and I suspect it vastly differs depending on the type of plastic used. A big sturdy one, however, might only need a handle and could live for a while. Smaller ones can be used to put one type of produce in at the (super)markets before getting weighed, instead of requesting new paper/plastic bags.

Someone I know has used it to put woodchips in and place in a slopey garden to prevent erosion, but I would not recommend it (or any use of it in the environment, like for bird feeders) as it can break down in small pieces after being exposed to the sun, or kill wildlife that gets entangled in it.

Here are some of my favourite ideas, gathered from the links @salt provided and other websites:

  • Hanging bath toys so they drip dry;
  • Storing little bits of leftover soap to still be able to use them;
  • Gathering small items to be placed in the dishwasher;
  • Create a non-scratch dish scrubber - sew/rubber band a couple of tough ones together (or around an old cloth);
  • Storing anything that needs to breathe, really;
  • Placing at the bottom of a flower pot to keep the dirt in.
  • 2
    +1 for non-scratch dish scrubber. I spent some time in El Salvador, and in the countryside this was the only type of dish scrubber available -- either made from mesh produce bags, or woven plastic rice bags.
    – LShaver
    May 18, 2018 at 14:10

Various people already have made their thoughts about it. Except depositing it in the waste there are two general applications. Using them as storage for other items or simply to create some kind of decoration out of it.

I used a (stronger) mesh, combined with a doormat for further stabilization, to wash out gravel, but could be done by multiple layer of other meshes as well.

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