The Best Ziploc Bag Alternatives

Best Eco-Friendly Plastic Bags and More

One family of four can easily use hundreds, if not thousands, of plastic sandwich bags every year. While plastic bags like Ziplocs are convenient, they have a large impact on the environment. Not only is the plastic derived from crude oil and natural gas mining, but most Ziplocs aren’t recycled and end up sitting in landfills for years.

Many people are turning to Ziploc bag alternatives, like reusable sandwich bags made from non-plastic materials. But with so many brands claiming to be the most durable, sustainable reusable bag on the market, it can be difficult to understand which are truly the best for your needs. We’ve done the research to help you find the perfect Ziploc bag alternative for you.

Learn how we did our research or jump straight to our picks for the best reusable sandwich bags.

Background Information: Advantages of Using Eco-Friendly Bags

Our Methodology for Choosing the Best Ziploc Bag Alternatives

There are a few factors we looked at to determine the best eco-friendly reusable sandwich bags:

Sustainability

The three main factors of sustainability we reviewed are materials, the production process, and disposal.

First, the materials of these bags must be more sustainable than single-use plastic. We’ve prioritized bags made from natural materials like organic cotton, plant-based plastics, and more. Unlike plastic, these materials are not derived from fossil fuels. However, they still require energy to produce, so in order to actually become more sustainable than single-use plastics, you need to reuse these bags around 100 times. 

Second, when information was available, we reviewed the production process of the bag. We chose companies that take steps to make their production more eco-friendly, such as relying on renewable energy or obtaining third-party sustainability certifications.

Third, we prioritized Ziploc bag alternatives that can be recycled or composted when they wear out, rather than being sent to landfills. For bags that can’t be recycled or composted, we ensured that they’re strong enough to be reused for years.

Quality

We’ve chosen bags that are durable and well-made. After all, the more times you can use a bag, the more sustainable it becomes. 

We’ve also reviewed the functionality of each bag to ensure that it actually provides a usable replacement for plastic bags that is just as convenient as Ziplocs, if not more so.

Ethical Labor

Finally, our top Ziploc bag alternative recommendations are produced by companies with that adhere to stringent standards of ethical labor. This includes ensuring employees receive a livable wage and are provided with safe working conditions.

The Best Reusable Sandwich Bags

1. Best beeswax bags: White Ladle Beeswax Produce Bags

white ladle beeswax best reusable sandwich bags
Source: White Ladle
  • Material: Organic cotton, beeswax
  • Current price: $19.99 (3 pack)
  • Size: 8 x 7 inches
  • Phthalate and BPA-free
  • Leak-proof? No
  • Get these bags: Amazon

These reusable sandwich bags are made from organic cotton, meaning it was grown without any pesticides that harm human health or the environment. These bags are also GOTS-certified, meaning they’re colored using safe, low impact dyes. Mix that cotton with sustainably-sourced beeswax, and you have a stiff, bendable bag that you can simply fold over the top to close. The beeswax also provides these bags with a waterproof layer to help make cleaning a little easier.

Pros:

  • Made using GOTS-certified organic cotton.
  • All beeswax is sourced from sustainable, independent beekeepers.
  • Made using non-toxic, natural ingredients including organic cotton, beeswax, jojoba oil, and pine tree resin. 
  • White Ladle donates 5% of all profits from their sustainable kitchen goods to The Nature Conservancy.
  • White Ladle holds a number of certifications demonstrating their commitment to ethical labor standards in all their factors, non-toxic production, and sustainable practices. You can read more about their certifications and factories on their site.

Cons:

  • These bags don’t seal completely, as they’re just a fold-over top.
  • These may only last around 1-2 years of regular use before the beeswax coating begins to degrade and lose its “sticking power.” This can make it more difficult to fold and seal.

You can also shop for these Ziploc bag alternatives on the White Ladle website.

2. Easiest to clean: Urban Green Cloth Sandwich Bags

urban green cloth - best reusable sandwich bags
Source: Amazon/A. Lee
  • Material: Canvas exterior, PEVA interior
  • Current price: $19.99 (3 pack)
  • Size: 8 x 7 inches
  • Phthalate and BPA-free
  • Leak-proof? No
  • Get these bags: Amazon

These Ziploc bag alternatives are made from canvas! While cloth bags may sound like a bad idea for food, these bags feature a moisture-resistant interior. Better yet, you don’t need to clean these by hand. Simply throw them in the washing machine for a quick and easy clean.

It’s important to note that canvas, a fabric made from cotton, still takes a lot of water and energy to produce. In order for these bags to truly be more sustainable than a plastic Ziploc bag, it’s important to use them as many times as possible.

Pros:

  • Comes in a variety of patterns and colors.
  • Insulated, so it will keep your food cold with an ice pack inside.
  • Machine-washable and dishwasher safe.
  • Easy zip-to-close design makes it easier for small children to close. The zipper seal also helps you keep food inside the bag rather than spilled inside your backpack or lunch box.

Cons:

  • Not great for super liquidy foods – these are definitely not leak-proof.
  • We noticed that these can take a long time to dry. Luckily, the set comes with multiple bags so you’ll always have one on hand that’s dry.
  • Interior is made from PEVA, a type of plastic that gives the bag its water-resistant qualities. While PEVA is highly recyclable, it’s not compostable.

You can also find these bags on the Urban Green website.

3. Most sustainable: Juniperseed Mercantile Snack + Sandwich Cotton Bags

  • Material: Organic cotton
  • Current price: $19.99 (3 pack)
  • Size: Sandwich Bags: 7 x 7 inches, Snack Bags: 5 x 4 inches
  • Phthalate and BPA-free
  • Leak-proof? No
  • Get these bags: Earth Hero

Because of their simplicity – these are made from organic cotton alone – we’ve ranked these reusable sandwich bags as the most sustainable option. These reusable sandwich bags are made entirely from 100% organic unbleached cotton. Organic cotton is one of the most sustainable fabric options, as it is grown with far less water and with fewer carbon emissions than conventional cotton. Use these bags fewer than 100 times and you’ll break even with a plastic bag.

These simple bags feature a fold over closure just like traditional sandwich bags, helping keep them secure. You can store almost anything in these, although they’re not waterproof, so wet foods may be a no-go.

Pros:

  • Made from GOTS-certified food-safe organic cotton, so you can be sure these have a low environmental impact and won’t affect your health.
  • Easy to clean by simply throwing in the washing machine.
  • These bags are fully compostable at the end of their life.
  • You can choose from two size options, larger bags for sandwiches or smaller snack-sized bags.
  • All Juniperseed Mercantile items are shipped plastic-free in recyclable or compostable packaging.
  • Every product is handmade in their production studio in Littleton, Colorado, which is open to the public to promote ethical labor and transparency.

Cons:

  • Not leak-proof.

You can also buy these reusable sandwich bags on the Juniperseed Mercantile website.

4. Closest to a Ziploc bag: BioBag Compostable & Resealable Sandwich Bags 

biobag resealable sandwich bags - Ziploc bag alternative
Source: What’s Good
  • Material: Mater-Bi (bioplastic)
  • Current price: $7.99 (25 pack)
  • Size: 6.5 x 6.7 inches
  • Phthalate and BPA-free
  • Leak-proof? Yes
  • Get these bags: Amazon

These bags are as close as you can get to a regular Ziploc bag while still reducing your plastic use. BioBag’s sandwich bags are made from Mater-Bi, a family of bioplastics made from plant starch, vegetable oil, and other compostable materials. As a result, these bags are fully compostable and biodegradable (although they should be composted in a commercial composting system, not at home!).

These plant-based Ziploc bag alternatives keep your food fresh due to their resealable closure. They’re also waterproof and leak-proof, making them a great fit for any liquidy foods like fruit and veggies. That said, the bioplastic material is still breathable, so you may not want to use these for long-term food storage or for storing pure liquids like soup stocks.

Pros:

  • Fully resealable and leak-proof.
  • Made from a resin made from GMO-free plant crops.
  • These bags have been certified compostable by the Biodegradable Products Institute and regulatory standard ASTM D6400 (meaning they’re guaranteed to compost quickly and safely).
  • Ships in plastic-free, recyclable packaging
  • These bags are affordable and are only slightly more expensive than Ziploc counterparts.

Cons:

  • These bags are still single-use, so even if they’re more sustainable to dispose of than plastic, they’re likely less sustainable than buying reusable bags you use over and over again.
  • We noticed that these bags are somewhat delicate and rip easily. Handle them carefully for best results.
  • These bags are not recommended for use in the freezer and should be stored away from heat. When exposed to extreme temperatures, we’ve noticed these bags start to break down.

You can also buy these reusable sandwich bags on EarthHero or the BioBag website.

5. Most versatile: Stasher Starter Kit

stasher starter kit - Ziploc bag alternative
Source: Amazon/AmartiO
  • Material: Silicone
  • Current price: $65.09 (7-pack)
  • Size: Variety
  • Phthalate and BPA-free
  • Leak-proof? Yes
  • Get these bags: Stasherbag.com

These compact food storage bags are made from food-safe silicone, which provides them with their extreme flexibility and durability. These bags can do it all. Not only are these bags microwave and freezer-safe, but they can go in the oven up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Silicone is nonporous, making them easy to clean, even in the dishwasher. Finally, these bags are thick enough that you can use them over and over again without fear of breakage.

The 7-Pack Starter Kit comes with a variety of shapes and sizes, from a small “Pocket Stasher” (4fl oz volume) to a half-gallon bag. You’ll be able to store everything you need and more! You can also buy sandwich bags individually or check out their Storage 4-Pack, which features four larger bags.

The main sustainability benefit of these bags is that they reduce your plastic waste; Stasher estimates that buying the seven-pack replaces around 1,820 plastic bags every year. However, it’s important to note that silicone isn’t the most eco-friendly material. While silicone is mainly made from silica, a substance found in sand, its production still requires petroleum. It’s also difficult to recycle. However, silicone is non-toxic, and lasts much longer than plastic. By buying high-quality silicone products like Stasher bags that can last for ten years, you still help reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in landfills. You just need to make sure you actually use them frequently.

Pros:

  • Fully resealable and leak-proof.
  • Extremely durable.
  • Silicone bags don’t store odors.
  • Comes in a huge variety of colors, shapes, and sizes.
  • Ships in boxes or envelopes made from recycled content that are 100% recyclable.
  • Stasher is a Certified B Corporation and a member of 1% For the Planet, so you can feel good supporting a company that takes ethical and sustainable practices seriously. They’re also a California Certified Green Business.
  • Stasher’s manufacturing facilities are SA8000 certified, meaning they undergo regular social audits to ensure safe and fair working conditions.

Cons:

  • These bags are made from silicone, so they’re not biodegradable and are hard to recycle.
  • Unlike some silicone bags, these are made without sealants. While this helps protect your health, it also means that the bags may stain with certain food types. To get rid of stains, rinse the bag with baking soda and vinegar.
  • These bags are pricey, but last a long time.

You can also buy these reusable sandwich bags on EarthHero or Amazon.

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