Better late than never: reusable shopping bags

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Here is that rarest of things, a shopping topic I have yet to address, probably because although I have the best of intentions when it comes to bringing my own bag to the grocery store or greenmarket, I often fall short on this count. But in my ongoing endeavor to become a better and more responsible person with good habits, I am resolved to improve in this respect.  I like the idea of a bag I can fold up really small and stick in my handbag and forget about until I need it, so I thought of  this Baggu option. It comes in about a trillion colors and prints, but I’m liking this striped specimen because the color combination is just so good, and kind of Lichtenstein-ian.

This crocheted bag from Clare V could double as a beach tote.

A heavy linen tote that just looks like it would fit a ton.

This Isabel Marant bag has her name on it, which isn’t usually my speed, but I love the metallic slashes so much I’m willing to overlook it.

Here’s your classic dirt-cheap string tote; here’s a slightly pricier one in orange and a lot of other colors.

 

Just a really spiff waxed canvas option.

A camo bag that looks fantastic monogrammed (check it out here in leopard too) .

 

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29 Thoughts on Better late than never: reusable shopping bags
    MKW
    18 Jul 2019
    9:09am

    I love reusable bags. Just remember to launder your bags…. bacteria, people.

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    Meg
    17 Jul 2019
    11:34am

    Yes great options Kim. Our local Whole Foods posts a sign before the entrance asking if you’ve remembered your bags? I head back to my car each and every time:) I wish every store did this because I am forgetful, then remorseful if I wind up using store bags.

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      Mamavalveeta03
      17 Jul 2019
      3:00pm

      Ugh…me, too! You’d think I’d have this figured out by now!

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    Pia
    17 Jul 2019
    10:41am

    My town banned plastic bags 4 years ago. It takes a while to get into the routine but it works. My advice? KEEP ONE IN YOUR PURSE! Keeping them in the car is great and easy to remember, but it’s the small purchases that I would forget about.

    Another option? Forgo the bag all together for small purchases. Easy to do with a cool, slouchy leather handbag that has a lot of space.

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      Katrina
      17 Jul 2019
      11:37am

      I was going to say the exact same thing. You’ll be surprised at how rarely you actually need a bag for most of your purchases! Of course, full on grocery shopping is a different animal, but I found that most things I shop for can fit in my hand bag most times. Books, skin care, makeup, emergency toiletries, batteries, etc. So just say no to those teeny tiny Sephora and M.A.C. paper bags you can’t use for anything else anyway!

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      Suzanne
      17 Jul 2019
      11:08am

      I use the Baggu bag in my purse constantly, whether for full on groceries or just a CVS run. It holds a ton, is very strong, and is machine washable. I’ve also used it as a travel beach bag, so I may have to buy that cute cabana striped one! 😉

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        Gemma
        17 Jul 2019
        11:14am

        Seconding the Baggu. They’re so well designed – comfortable to wear over a shoulder and they don’t drag on the ground in my hand.

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          Kathi
          17 Jul 2019
          12:29pm

          I am also a Baggu fan and in my car I have a bunch from Trader Joe’s that are for the bigger runs.

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      Sarah T
      17 Jul 2019
      8:45pm

      Agree! They are banned where I live too and I put reusable bags such as Envirosax in every bag, every suitcase, and various places in my car and house use so I am never without one. I never travel without them either – so handy at the airport or grabbing a few bits and pieces for your hotel room.
      Once you are in the habit it’s almost impossible to take a plastic bag when they are offered. I will just find a way to carry my goods without taking a bag!

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    Melynda
    17 Jul 2019
    2:29pm

    Speaking from experience, having a cool bag that you love really helps. If you think of it as virtuously hauling around a plain ol’ bag, that’s no fun. No wonder you want to forget it! But I’m excited to go to the store when I take my Selena bag from HEB, or my Scrooge & Marley tote bag. I’ll have to get one of those Baggus or a string bag so I’ll be extra fashionable.

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    HickfromStyx
    17 Jul 2019
    2:48pm

    And for those things like meat, which you don’t want contaminating bread, the grocery store has introduced compostable “plastic” bags, just like the ones for actual compost, which break down in the municipal composting facility. I will reuse these as liners for the kitchen compost bin.

    Loving the Baggus.

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    Mamavalveeta03
    17 Jul 2019
    2:57pm

    I think it’s kind of interesting to notice what kind of shopping bags people use at the grocery store. Mine are literally “shopping bags” that I received with a purchase, so I guess mine tell the sartorial story of my life.

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    suz
    17 Jul 2019
    3:56pm

    Reisenthel bags are the best – they fold up very flat and come with an attached wide elastic band to keep them tidy in your purse. They are very durable, washable and come in nice graphics generally. Similar to baggu but they stay folded up much better. I carry a smaller purse andI can fit one (the usual) or two in my purse no problem and always have one with me. California went bagless way before anyone, so it just becomes habit. Get the most easily foldable/compact and you won’t forget them.

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    Tracy
    17 Jul 2019
    5:16pm

    I use Rume bags. They fold up really small & hold a ton – up to 50 lbs. Plus, they come in lots of prints & colors. https://www.myrume.com/collections/reusable/products/macro-tote-aspen

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    Debra Gibson- Welch
    17 Jul 2019
    11:37am

    Love the one from J Crew I got the leopard with monogram in orange, thanks for this post!

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    Kirstjen
    20 Jul 2019
    9:39am

    In Chicago, we have to pay for every single bag everywhere – not just the grocery store, but also at Nordstrom, Saks, Target, etc. Merchants are not allowed to eat the cost. It must be passed on to the consumer. This has been the law for a few years now.

    I keep 3 bags in my purse at all times. I’m a big fan of buying souvenir shopping bags when I travel. I have a bunch of bags from LOQI, and you can get them on Amazon for 4 for $35. They wash beautifully and wear well.

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    Traci
    18 Jul 2019
    6:42pm

    You can get nifty, nylon, fold up bags to keep in your purse from IKEA that cost $1.99! I use them all the time at all types of stores.

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    c.w.
    17 Jul 2019
    9:33am

    Many stores in Austin are now charging for bags––granted it’s something like ten cents, but it’s a good reminder to BYOB. I keep a zillion in my car, but always a baggu one in my purse for those times when I’ve been too absentminded to remember the zillion in my car. Sidenote: there are also some stores in Austin, Outdoor Voices comes first to mind, who put your purchases in nice sized canvas bags printed with their logos––super smart marketing idea.

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      Katrina
      17 Jul 2019
      11:30am

      One thing about those canvas totes, though. Their environmental footprint is huge, given that they’re made of cotton. So if you want to be truly environmentally conscious, only take those free totes is you really need it and will use it regularly.

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        c.w.
        17 Jul 2019
        5:50pm

        I have two Outdoor Voices canvas bags, so now when I shop at OV I make a point of reusing one they’ve already given me.

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    Caroline
    17 Jul 2019
    9:39am

    The beauty of the dirt cheap string bags is they ball up into next to nothing in your reg bag.
    Then you don’t forget it..
    I always have at least one floating around in mine. I feel slightly virtuous whipping out the good old string bags!

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    Sabina
    17 Jul 2019
    10:05am

    I pay attention to the strap orientation as I like these types of bags to rest of my shoulder when I am carrying it with stuff in it. The striped bag in the first pic has straps that are oriented for non-shoulder carrying.

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      Suzanne
      17 Jul 2019
      11:23am

      The standard size bag can rest on your shoulder!

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    JMI
    17 Jul 2019
    7:21am

    Good choices. I use the Llbean camo boat totes for planned grocery or target runs …. they hold a lot

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      Kelly W.
      17 Jul 2019
      9:24pm

      I also use an LL Bean bag for groceries. That, plus some of the old Old Navy Stuff and Save bags, live in my car. I also have a small nylon bag that fits in my purse for the small unplanned purchases that need a bag.

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    Heather
    17 Jul 2019
    8:40am

    These are great. For those of us who drive and would like to get into the reusable bag habit (I know it’s different in the city), I keep a pile of bags in the car. Now I’m in the habit of grabbing a few before I go into the supermarket, etc.

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    Trady A
    17 Jul 2019
    8:06am

    I use Envirosax and BlueQ bags for everything, groceries to impromptu purse. Envirosax are amazing, fold up small with a snap and come in gorgeous prints. BlueQ is equally great; beautiful patterns, uses 95% recycled material and has a fantastic sense of humor (also sells socks). Both companies offer their shopper totes for under $15.

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      Sabina
      17 Jul 2019
      10:03am

      I use Envirosax bags too! I love that they are light and fold down to being compact. The bags by Loqi are similar.

      I find these two bag brands to be more comfortable to carry than store bags and they have great designs that are logo/brand-free.

      I also pop a few into my carry-on bag when travelling. 🙂

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    LisaC
    17 Jul 2019
    8:25am

    Thanks for the nudge and great options. I want to up my game in this regard.

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Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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