12 surprising ways to use one of our favorite reusable produce bags

If you want to live more sustainably, eliminating single-use plastic helps. But to achieve that, you need to invest in quality items that you can reuse over and over again. From water bottles and steel straws to reusable shopping bags and silicone food bags, Wirecutter recommends many items to use again and again. But there is one choice in particular that particularly impressed us: the Junes Carry-All bags. We recommend these mesh bags as produce bags, but you can use them in a variety of ways around your home and outdoors.

Junes Tote

The nylon mesh drawstring bags in this set are well made and sturdy enough to carry produce or other items. They are also extremely versatile and can be used beyond the grocery store.

“The uses for Carry-All bags are endless,” Janean Mann, founder of Junes, said in an interview. “That was the whole concept behind the business – every product was going to be reusable in every sense of the word.”

Mann founded the Texas-based company in 2014 with sustainability in mind. People were moving away from single-use plastic by carrying reusable canvas tote bags, but Mann wanted to create something that wouldn’t mold when wet. She started experimenting with coarse knit fabrics and that’s when she realized she was onto something. Now, she works with an all-female sewing cooperative and a women-owned factory in Juarez, Mexico to make these durable bags.

Junes considers the bio-knit Carry-All bags to be fully biodegradable and offers them in sets of three for $18. Made from recycled plastic bottles, bio-knit mesh fabric eventually decomposes the same way as wool and cotton, so within 60 days in a landfill, a discarded Carry-All bag will begin to decompose and it will fully biodegrade within three to five years. The original Carry-All bags, which come in a set of three for $14, are made from standard mesh, so they won’t break down if thrown in a landfill. But as part of its #TradeUpJunes recycling program, the company collects old bags and recycles them into new yarn and offers an additional 20% off your next order when you send in yours.

“These are not fancy bags,” Mann said. “They are meant to be stylish, minimalist and elegant, but above all they are functional.”

There are many ways to use a Carry-All bag outside of the supermarket. Mann offered many suggestions for alternative uses, and we also consulted dozens of customer reviews to understand how other people use their Carry-Alls. Here’s what we found.

1. Wash your delicate clothes

An orange Junes Carry-All mesh bag that is filled with clothes and sits inside a washing machine alongside other loose clothing.
Photo: Elissa Sanci

Put bras, underwear, and tights in a tote bag before tossing them in your washing machine to prevent vaporous fabrics from snagging and tearing. Because the bio-knit fabric is biodegradable, fibers that come loose from the bag itself during the wash cycle won’t live forever in the oceans (but keep in mind that the clothes themselves can still come loose) . Junes then recommends hanging her bags rather than running them through the dryer.

2. Clean and hang your products

After you return from the supermarket, you can place the Carry-All bags filled with fruits and vegetables directly in the sink for a rinse. You don’t even have to remove the products from the bags. Once you’ve washed your produce, use the drawstrings to hang the bags up so your vegetables can dry (preferably with a folded tea towel underneath to catch any water droplets).

3. Middle schoolers, ditch your plastic shower caddies

An orange Junes Carry-All mesh bag that has been hung around the neck of a showerhead and is filled with shampoo bottles.
Photo: Elissa Sanci

Instead, carry your bathroom essentials to your dorm in a tote. The larger bag, about the size of a small shopping bag, can easily hold shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and anything else you might need. Then use the drawstring to hang the bag somewhere it can dry.

4. Use it as a gift bag

Instead of picking up a paper gift bag, wrap your gift and place it in a tote. Not only will you save money on unnecessary items, but you’ll also give your gift something else to use when it’s all said and done.

5. Prepare your lunch

Carry-All bags can easily double as lunch bags in no time. Just be sure to put all perishable foods in the refrigerator once you arrive at your destination.

6. Tidy up cords and cables

A yellow Junes Carry-All bag filled with cables and adapter wires.
Photo: Elissa Sanci

Organize the clutter of cables you hide in your desk drawers by keeping them rolled up together in one bag, and slipping headphones and their corresponding chargers into another. Because the bags are transparent, you will be able to quickly find what you are looking for.

7. Keep a purse tidy

Handbags can easily become bottomless black holes if you’re not careful. If you carry a lot in a handbag, use these mesh bags to organize your belongings inside. They can be used as cosmetic bags, pencil cases and first aid kits. And because they’re mesh, you’ll have an easier time identifying what you need by sight.

8. Put the children’s toys away

Keep your favorite toys together in a tote bag rather than scattered at the bottom of a diaper bag. If the toys are sticky or dirty after the little ones are done playing, you can easily rinse them off without taking them out of the bag. This is especially useful if you’re hauling toys to the beach – you can walk them right into the ocean or lake for a rinse.

9. Put away a wet bathing suit

These mesh bags are perfect for storing wet swimsuits after a day at the pool or beach. Wring out the wetsuit before putting it on, then hang the bag to dry the rest of the way.

10. Organize your luggage

Three Junes Carry-All mesh bags, filled with clothes and other items, stored in an open travel bag above a bed.
Photo: Elissa Sanci

Carry-All bags can easily be used as packing cubes. For example, you can use the smaller bag for toiletries, the medium bag for socks and underwear, and the larger bag for t-shirts.

11. Pack your shoes

To avoid getting the rest of your things dirty, put your shoes in a tote bag before putting them in your luggage. This is especially useful if you take your shoes on trails, hikes, or anywhere else they will get dirty.

12. Keep your dirty clothes away

For travel, turn one of your mesh bags into a dedicated laundry bag. Breathable totes will also air out any smelly clothes, so you won’t be greeted with an awful smell when you get home.

This piece was edited by Treye Green and Annemarie Conte.