How can I reuse or recycle … onion or orange nets?

Onions in a netWe tend to buy 1kg or 2kg nets of onions – plastic nets, with 1cmx1cm ish holes – but can’t think what to do with them once we’ve finished the pack. The same goes for the rare occasions when we buy big packs of oranges or lemons.

We use smaller nets – the type that garlic comes in at the supermarket – to make little bird feeders to hang in trees but the nuts and seeds mix we use falls out of the bigger holes in the onion/orange/lemon nets.

Any suggestions how we can use them again?

(Photo by upn)

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32 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle … onion or orange nets?”

  1. Hi,

    I know these nets are great for making dish scrubbies, you just bunch them all up and srub away… they can also be used for bagging up bath toys or beach toys and then just washing them with a hose or in the sink.

    • ANNE says:

      Ya, well what do you do with them when they are gross? The only option is to NOT buy them at all. EVER. Do you know how much marine life gets caught with these damn bags? A LOT.

  2. dancing girl says:

    I have used them for protecting strawberries from hungry birds. Just prop them up on short sticks.

  3. Amanda Kerik says:

    Depending on the size of the hole you cut, these are great in the shower to hold bits and pieces that tend to disappear.

    I double them up and stretch them over sponges for scrubbing (dishes or skin)

    You can probably use them in the wash for delicates, depending on the quality.

    Use them as a giant sieve – to allow liquids to drip out of mini composts (if you’re into that kind of thing)

  4. Heather says:

    I use the fine net ones (from garlic) for beach combing, as it holds tiny shells…and then you just rinse the whole bag under water to get rid of sand.

    The larger orange net bags I use under the sink to stuff plastic bags in.

    Orange net bags are also handy when camping for all sorts of things…. collecting stuff, organizing, and as recyclabling bags.

  5. Leah says:

    At the nature center we tape them to pieces of cardboard, then use it to make rubbings with paper and a crayon. Looks just like snake skin!

  6. renee says:

    You can make groovy shopping bags out of the huge orange bags. I also sew/weave wool through them to make warm winter cushions and funky handbags.

    • Denise says:

      hi. just saw your post. could you show me what you do please,? I have quite a few net bags from the logs and keep them as i know i can use them somehow- but how? i was also thinking of kintting the to make a kind of wind break to attach to my gate!!!!

      • Denise says:


      • Dianne Guyot says:

        Denise, the url you provided just brings us back to the post on “How Can I Recycle This”…I just know that I can make something out of these; using them for suggested utility bags or scrubbers just isn’t enough for me, and your weaving idea is very intriguing !

    • Jessica says:

      Hi there!!

      I am very intrigued by these ideas you posted about! I would love to see some examples of what you mean by the shopping bags, wool woven cushions and funky hand bags.

      I would love to learn more!

      Thank you so much for the post!

  7. Desi says:

    Mushroom collectors use them so that the spores drop back onto the ground and reseed.

  8. ron says:

    I fill them up with the stuff you get out of the vacum cleaner and the fluff collected in the tumble drier and hang it up for the birds to use as nesting material

    • Liz says:

      I used to put out the drier fluff as well, but stopped as I heard that the chemicals from dryer sheets that end up in it isn’t good for the birds.

      • Leon says:

        You can dispense with dryer sheets by using aluminum foil rolled into a ball. Make an aluminum ball the size of your fist & throw it in the dryer instead of the sheets. It gets rid of the static and is good for many cycles. When the ball compacts, rebulk it with more sheets, new or cleaned, used ones.
        Haven’t used cleaner sheets for over a year.
        Good luck.

      • Anonymous says:

        Use white vinegar instead. Works great and is safe. If it is not good for birds it is not good for you.

  9. Gulia says:

    Wrap couple of them around the head of a sunflower, when it developed seeds, so birds don’t get them.

  10. Bad Monkey says:

    Get some old bacon fat/strips of bacon and tie it up, then use it on your crab line instead of hooks, took my kids crab fishing off harbour wall and this was great bait, didn`t need hooks, and didn`t need to keep rebaiting. Or use it as a bird feeder with melted fat/seeds/scraps in the garden.

  11. Michele says:

    I use them for washing baby bottle nipple and rings in the dishwasher. It keeps them from falling thru.
    I also use them as recycled produce bags along with my reusable shopping bags. They don’t weigh anymore than the plastic produce bags and you can reuse them!

  12. I am hoping to use these in a class at Fact in Liverpool to make Fascinators with sequins made from toothpast tubes but got to experiment yet!

  13. Emily says:

    Hadn’t thought of using them for protecting plants from the birds. I shall have to save them and see what I can do with them.

  14. Petra says:

    I use the tiny one from garlic to fill with little pieces of soap, so you can use these to the end.

  15. Yvonne says:

    1)After collected many of them, I tied them all up to make a ring. Kids in kindergarten like to keep themselves in the circle.

    2) I rolled it up layer by layer until the end and make it into an apple or bell pepper. Nice for decoration.

  16. Alicia says:

    Glad to see this post and the usefulness of the onion net.
    I can see that it could be very beneficial in the garden to protects from birds especially Strawberry and Bell peppers !

  17. Anastasia says:

    I have made yarn from fruit and onion nets and crocheted baskets, scrubs etc

    • Jessica says:

      I’m wondering if you have a pattern? or could make a DIY video to email me? I crochet, but don’t know how to read the patterns very well. I’d love to make a scrubbie though! And I am intrigued by the basket!! Do you have a picture you can send??

  18. ANNE says:

    DON’T BUY THE IN THE FIRST PLACE. PERIOD. These things are teh bane of sea life. They go into the trash, end up on the ocean and strangle whales, fish, dolphins, turtles, you name it. They are awful and should be outlawed. We’ve eliminated (not entirely) those awful plastic shopping bags, this netting needs to be next.

  19. Anon says:

    These bags shouldn’t be anywhere near wildlife – as Anne says they choke/strangle sealife and the same goes for birds and other small creatures. Whatever these things are reused for they ultimately end up in the trash. If you absolutely have to buy them, cut them up into tiny pieces before trashing them – time consuming – but so much better than wildlife suffering. Can be quite theraputic at the end of a bad day or done whilst watching TV but for the sake of our environment – don’t buy them in the first place.

  20. Dawn Mitchell says:

    I am saving the netting bags and intend to make them into Christmas stockings. I know they aren’t big enough, but if I cut the end or both ends, I can sew them or tie them with cotton, then fill them with treats. Many nets are in various pretty colours, which is ideal for a Christmas stocking. It’s also a good idea because, apart from reusing something that is very bad for wildlife, the homemade stockings can be filled with better treats, like fruit and healthy snack bars.
    I would like to see them being recycled on a large scale: Perhaps they could be melted and the plastic then made into something else. At least it’s better than dumping them into landfill.

  21. Marie says:

    I’d just like to say to the people who, seemingly angrily, posted that they refuse to buy products with netting that unless they’re actively moving to ban netted packaging, they’re not contributing to the solution, whatsoever. By choosing to remain silent and leave those products in the grocery store, more people who don’t care about the death and destruction these plastic nets cause to the environment and wildlife. I hate these nets, but I’m afraid to buy them because I know that I’ll do my part by shredding them to pieces. If I was creative, I might use the piles of netting to stuff pillows or maybe mix in with wax to make decorative candles. No matter what, I’m not going to pass up the the money saving bargains I get by buying onions and oranges in these stupid nets, they are a lot cheaper in bulk, and I’m going to do my part by taking a few minutes of time to mindfully dispose of these troublesome nets. I’d like to think that that’s what most people do…


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