Being able to reuse the bags we store food and other items in is an ideal way to reduce our overall waste and environmental footprint. Many people who are trying to move away from using plastic to store food items are looking for reusable food storage bags.
Luckily, materials like silicone, PEVA and even cotton wrapped in beeswax are available to replace disposable plastic bags. These alternatives are great for liquids, solids, for putting in the fridge or freezer, and some even work in the microwave and can be cleaned in the dishwasher.
With the increased demand for reusable food storage bags has come a proliferation of options – sizes, colors, designs, patterns, advantages, disadvantages – a veritable jungle of choices.
Well, we’re here to help you forage through that jungle. Read on to discover our top picks to find the reusable storage bags that best suit your needs.
1.Top Pick: SPLF 12 Pack Dishwasher Safe Reusable Storage Bags
We start our list with a 12-pack of reusable storage bags from Simple Life (SPLF) because if you live in a family, you’re going to need a variety of sizes to meet your needs.
These reusable storage bags are made from food-grade PEVA (a lead- phtalate- chlorine- and BPA-free material). Whether you are using the bags to store food or other items such as cosmetics, pet food or to organize your kitchen drawers, PEVA a healthy alternative for your family and for the earth.
The bags have a double zipper that locks in the contents of the bag, creating a leakproof seal. The zipper has a non-slip design, which makes it easier for children to open and close. You can use the bags to store and freeze a variety of foods including meat, chicken, fish, fruit and vegetables.
And when the bag is empty, cleaning it is vital to avoid bacterial contamination. These double thick bags are dishwasher safe under 140-degrees Fahrenheit, although for longer-lasting use, it is recommended to hand wash the bags in water and air dry.
This set comes with five reusable sandwich bags measuring 8.5 inches by 7.5 inches; five snack sized bags measuring 8.5 inches by 5.25 inches; and two-gallon sized bags measuring 11 inches by 11 inches.
- Set of 12, three sizes
- Double sealed closure
- Freezer safe
- Avoid storing hot food
- Not microwave friendly
2. Runner Up: IDEATECH Reusable Storage Bags
If you have a large family, then you probably need lots of reusable storage bags to accommodate all the food and other products you want to store. We included these reusable storage bags from Ideatech because you get 20 reusable storage bags of different sizes. This means you have a large selection to accommodate all of your storage needs.
Made of food-grade PEVA, the bags are PVC- lead- chloride- and BPA free, eco-friendly and recyclable. These storage bags are heat and cold resistant and can withstand temperatures from minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. They have a double zip locking closure that keeps liquids from leaking out.
The set includes eight large gallon bags measuring 10.2 inches by 7.8 inches; six medium sandwich bags measuring 8.5 inches by 7.1 inches; and six small snack bags measuring 8.5 inches by 4.7 inches.
The bags are easy to clean by hand washing in cold or tepid water and then air drying. The makers of these bags do not recommend putting them in the dishwasher.
- Double zip locking closure
- 20 reusable bags of different sizes
- Made of food-grade PEVA
- Not dishwasher safe
- Do not use in the microwave
3. Best Stand-Up Bags: Ehoyal Reusable Stand Up Food Storage Bags
Many reusable storage bags are flat and expand as you fill them with food or other items. But no matter what you fill them with, they do not stand up, which makes it tricky to pour liquids like soup. We like these reusable storage bags from Ehoyal because they are three-dimensional — they stand up, making them easy to fill and to store.
These bags are made of BPA-free reusable plastic that is ideal to use in the freezer. There are eight in this pack: four large bags that measure 10.7 inches by 6.2 inches and four medium sized bags that measure 8 inches by 6.2 inches. The double seal closure seals in freshness and the transparent stand-up bags can withstand temperatures of between minus 122 Fahrenheit to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
It’s best to clean these reusable bags by hand in cold or warm soapy water. Do not put them in the dishwasher as it will damage the seal.
- Eight reusable bags in the pack
- Three-dimensional structure
- Freezer safe
- Made from recycled plastic
- Not microwave, oven or dishwasher safe
4. Best Splurge Buy: Pyrex Reusable Platinum Grade Silicone Food Storage Bag, Disney Mickey Mouse
Kids just want to have fun – even when it comes to reusable storage bags. We included these reusable storage bags from Pyrex – famous for its glass bakeware – because they come in two fun Disney designs: Mickey Mouse and Star Wars. But cute designs are not the only reason these bags made our recommendation list.
The bags – you receive four reusable storage bags in a pack – are made from platinum food-grade silicone, which means they are safe for food and are odorless, non-toxic and BPA, latex and lead-free. You receive two sandwich-sized and two half-gallon sized bags. Because they are made from durable silicone, you can wash these bags on the top rack of the dishwasher and they are safe to use in the microwave.
The closure on these bags has an easy-to-grip tab and when pulled shut, creates an airtight and leakproof seal. If your child is a Mickey Mouse or Star Wars fan, they’re going to love taking their lunch, snack or anything else in these cool-looking bags. However, these reusable storage bags are more expensive than other brands, so be prepared to pay a little more to make your little ones happy.
- Made from platinum silicone
- Cute design of Mickey Mouse or Star Wars characters
- Dishwasher, microwave and freezer safe
5. Best Kit: Ceephouge Reusable Storage Bags
No matter how many reusable storage bags you have, they all need to be properly cleaned and dried after each use. With some bags this is as easy as putting them in the top rack of the dishwasher. Others, however, must be hand washed and air dried. Sometimes it’s difficult to clean deep into the corners of the bags and when it comes to air drying, well, you must prop the bags up on a mug or other container in the hope the air circulates thoroughly to dry the interior.
We’ve included these reusable storage bags on our recommendation list because the kit contains 21 pieces, including two cleaning brushes and a drying rack. The brushes will help you scrub out all the tiny corners of the bags to remove rogue liquid, food specks or other tiny particles and when you’re done with the washing, the bags can be hung on the drying rack.
When it comes to the reusable storage bags, you will find two-gallon sized bags (10.6 inches by 11.02 inches), four Ziplock bags (10.2 inches by 7.9 inches), six sandwich size bags (8.7 inches by 7.7 inches) and six snack-sized bags (8.7 inches by 5.3 inches). The reusable storage bags are made of third-party certified silicone and PEVA food grade material that is free of PVC, BPA and other harmful substances.
- Made of silicone and PEVA
- Double zip closures
- Includes two cleaning brushes and drying rack
- Not safe for the oven, microwave or dishwasher
6. Best Versatile: Natissy Reusable Silicone Bags
This set of reusable storage bags from Natissy is not just about the bags — this pack contains eight reusable silicone bags plus a slew of accessories that you never knew you needed until now.
These non-coated 100 percent food-grade silicone bags are transparent and have a wide base so they will stand upright and remain open while you fill them. The great advantage of silicone is its high resistance to heat and cold. That means you can freeze food in these bags and then put them directly into the microwave to defrost or cook and then you can eat the food right from the bag!
These silicone storage bags can withstand temperatures between minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 450 degrees Fahrenheit, making them completely safe to put in a freezer, fridge or sous vide cooker. The bags are reversible so you can turn them inside out to wash them by hand with the included sponge or throw them into the dishwasher.
This kit includes eight silicone bags of different shapes and sizes (including cup and bowl shapes), eight sealing clips that help prevent leaking, one silicone cleaning sponge, a silicone straw, a wheat straw spoon and fork in a box, a silicone rope and an organic cotton bread bag.
- Made from 100 percent silicone
- Dishwasher, microwave and freezer safe
- Includes accessories like a cotton bread bag
- The bags are on the small size
7. Best Budget Buy: ZIIVARD 40Pcs Mason Jar Reusable Plastic Bags
If you have a large family and money is tight, then you need an affordable option for reusable storage bags. We recommend this 40-piece set for a number of reasons, including its cute, printed design that when the bag is filled, makes it look like a mason jar with lid.
These bags are made of durable PE plastic that is odorless and non-toxic. The set includes 10 each of four different sizes: tall bags that measure 12.5 inches by 4.1 inches; large bags measuring 9.6 inches by 6.2 inches); medium bags measuring 7.6 inches by 5.1 inches); and small bags measuring 5.9 inches by 4.3 inches. You can store everything from soup to nuts in these reusable bags, and they are leakproof and portable to take with you on the go.
Since the bags lay flat when empty, they are easy to store and won’t take up much space. When it’s time to clean them, just hand wash with a brush and air dry.
- Cut mason jar print design
- Four different sizes
- Not recommended for the microwave or oven
- Narrow opening on some of the bags
8. Honorable Mention: Alpacasso Beeswax Wrap & Silicone Food Storage Bags
This last recommendation is an assortment of reusable storage options that include bags, lids and food wrap to replace disposable plastic wrap. It’s a great choice for anyone looking for a variety of eco-friendly food storage and wrapping solutions.
The six reusable bags are made from 100 percent food grade silicone and come in two sizes: two large and four medium sized. You also receive three different sized beeswax food wraps – 7, 10 and 13 inches.
The beeswax wraps are made from organic cotton, beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin, making them odor-free and an all-natural way to wrap leftover food. Finally, this set includes six different sized reusable silicone lids. These are great to stretch over any bowl, pot, cup or container that you want to store in the fridge or freezer.
The lids and bags can be used in the fridge, freezer, microwave and even for sous vide cooking, and can withstand a temperature range of between minus 58 Fahrenheit to 392 degrees Fahrenheit. When it comes to the beeswax wraps, just warm them with the heat of your hands and place over a bowl or the food you want to preserve. As the wrap cools, it will create a seal.
- Six reusable silicone bags
- Includes silicone lids and beeswax food wraps
- Bags and lids are microwave safe
- Do not use hot water on beeswax wraps or put in the microwave
Things to consider before purchasing reusable storage bags:
Using reusable storage bags is an effective way to be kinder to the environment while still meeting your storage needs. Of course, there are reusable containers, but they can be chunky and take up space whether they are empty or full. Reusable storage bags fold up into almost nothing when they are not being used and once filled, are more space-saving and flexible than solid containers. That being said, there are a lot of reusable food storage bags out there are similar to each other, so it can be a bit of a maze to get through it all and come out the other end with a clear understanding of what you need and want. We’ve narrowed down some of the factors to consider that will hopefully make that process easier for you so that you make a successful and long-term purchase.
Material: This is probably one of the most important factors to consider, especially if you will be storing food in the reusable storage bags that you choose. If this is the case, look for food-grade material, such as PEVA (polyethylene vinyl acetate) or silicone, both of which are non-toxic. However, if you want to be able to use the bags for more applications such as freezing food and then defrosting or heating it up in the bag in the microwave or in boiling water, then you’re best off choosing premium silicone over PEVA. Silicone has high heat and cold resistant so you can put it into the microwave, the dishwasher and in some cases, the oven. Not so with PEVA which should not be put in the dishwasher, oven or microwave. Also, silicone is biodegradable while PEVA, which is derived from plastic (but does not contain chorine), is not.
Finally, it’s best to stay away from plastic or at least to make sure that if you do choose plastic that is it BPA and toxin-free.
Size: After choosing your preferred material, which should depend on what you will be storing in the bags, size is the next factor to consider. Reusable storage bags come in a variety of sizes from one-gallon capacities to sandwich and snack size. Luckily, many brands offer a large selection for a reasonable price, so you are able to get a variety of sizes and shapes to meet your needs.
Details: Some of the other details to look at are the closure method. A double zip closure method is more likely to be spill proof than a single closure. Some products come with extra clips to keep the bags more securely closed during transport. Also, some bags have square bottoms, so they stand on their own. These can be a real boon if you want to store liquids like soup in the bags because they stand on their own and are super easy to fill.
Photo credit: Ashley-Belle Burns/Shutterstock