How to Actually Use Reusable Grocery Bags

Reusable grocery bags are environmentally friendly, but only if you actually use them many times . And you probably don’t use the crappy “reusable” bags you got from the bank or Whole Foods that sit in your kitchen cabinet until you eventually throw them away.

And in the meantime you find yourself somewhere, and suddenly you need a bag. Your purse or backpack already contains what you usually have. So you use like five disposable plastic bags and you feel like a schmuck and your hands hurt.

You need a better bag. A large bag that can hold almost anything, be it bulky, fragile or wet. And you should always have it with you.

Buy the right bag

You will only use the bag that you really like. And you will love your bag if it:

  • Compact: Small enough to fit in your pocket.
  • Convenience: With a long handle, you can throw it over your shoulder.
  • Standalone: Rolls up into itself or into an integrated small carrying bag.
  • Large and Durable: Holds a large number of library books or products.
  • Beautiful: not ashamed to carry with you.

I love the Envirosax , which curls and snaps tight, but their design is crappy. (I use their Oscar the Grouch bag because I am comfortable in adulthood.) You may prefer a more elegant brand like TiMoMos or Holyluck . The Baggu bags are especially stylish , but their small tote bags do not attach, which is a headache.

Whatever you receive, please note the size. Get great. Since they don’t hold their shape very well, the larger bag has no particular drawbacks.

One drawback: store sellers sometimes get confused by these flimsy bags and leave you alone. Wirecutter recommends a few more structured bags , although you’ll sacrifice some of the compactness. Don’t take a bag that can’t be carried everywhere!

Avoid large, heavy canvas bags. I mean, if you want to take a bunch of tarpaulin bags to the green market, you’re good to go. But these are terrible bags that are “carried everywhere.”

Take it everywhere

Because you never know when you will need more storage space, especially if you are going without a car. Keep your entire bag in your coat pocket, backpack, or purse. Carrying a bag in a bag can be inconvenient, but it is much less inconvenient than carrying things on your hands.

Sometimes a bag is almost as useless as not having a bag. You end up with a disposable tote bag at the store or carrying a bunch of things in your hand, and you will spend your money and carbon footprint on an extra piece of nylon trash.

Take it away

The great thing about these bags is that you can get them dirty and just wash them in the sink. And they really need to be washed if you carry food in them. Take two to take out one while the other air dries. (Again, it’s okay if you actually use them.)

Don’t take free bags

Do not accept free bags from organizations and companies. They are always bulky, ugly and cheaply made so you don’t have to use them. Whenever possible, discourage giving away unnecessary packages that degrade the environment.

Of course, you will be stuck with these bad bags against your will. One charity sent me one, which is a shame. Put all Goodwill donations in them to drop the bag right away.


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