Apr 11, 2016

What’s your favorite reusable bag?

There are so many types of reusable grocery bags. I started using them more once I found my favorite type. zero waste plastic free
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My introduction to reusable grocery bags were the big square bags that you can purchase from grocery stores like these adorable ones from Amazon. I collected gobs of them since they were so good for the environment (and usually free or very cheap). Well turns out having the reusable bag is a different story from using the reusable bag. Hubby and I would be halfway to the grocery store and one of us would ask, “Did you bring the bags?” Usually the answer was, “No…oh well.”

I thought moving the bags in my trunk would be the solution, and it helped, but I was still plagued by other problems. I would have to remember the bags were in the car before entering the store. Or I would have to run back out to the car. Then if they were used I’d have to remember to put them back in my car for next time. Also my husband drove most of the time and we never would remember to put bags in his car. So while it did help, they mostly just stayed in the trunk. I've since learned the trick of putting them by the door so you see them when you head back out to the car.

Example of the big square bags. Foldablebags.com 

Then for Christmas one year I got a small reusable bag as a stocking stuffer similar to these* or these*. I thought it was a great idea, it folded up into this little 2 inch cube. I could carry it in my purse! Unfortunately it had to be folded up in a very exact way, and very tightly, otherwise it wouldn’t snap close and you’d just have a loose bag to deal with.

Have you ever tried rolling up a sleeping bag only to have it not fit back in its pouch, so you have to keep re-rolling it tighter and tighter until it finally fits? It’s annoying, and dealing with that bag was the same thing. I must not be the only one with that problem, because the examples I show above seem to be designed better, thank goodness.

I was also in a different phase of life, so while I may have carried it around and had it physically in my presence more I still didn’t use it much. I’d like to think that if I were to receive one now I’d use it a lot, but the hassle with putting it back I doubt it would be a go-to.

When I moved to Hawaii I was given a free reusable bag for signing a petition to refuse plastic bags. This bag was revolutionary to me. It was a soft sided bag that came with its own pouch! Rather than having to roll or fold the bag to make sure it fit, I could just cram it in the bag and it had extra room to spare. This made storage a little bigger, but it was still only about the size of a sunglasses case so it easily fit in my purse. Also the pouch was attached to the bag. You didn’t have to worry about losing it.

My free bag from Plastic Free Hawaii. See how it fits nicely into a small bag!

Having a plastic bag in my purse at all times meant that I didn’t have to pre-plan trips or run out to the car to get bags. When we would be halfway somewhere I could finally answer, “Yes, I have bags in my purse!” It was also water resistant and washable so if something spilled I could either wipe it up or throw it in the washing machine (I think you were technically supposed to only hand wash it, but it was fine in the washing machine the few times I washed it). That bag lasted me about two years before some of the stitching in the handles started coming apart.

In the meantime I had bought a bag from EnvBags. They were very similar to my favorite bags with a few differences. What first drew them to me, was their fun prints! No longer did I need to have a boring light blue bag with a logo on it, I could have one with fun fish*! Next, the bag is sturdier than ones I've had before. It is still a soft sided bag, but it has a little more heft to it. Finally it has a gusset (whatever the heck that is), but it means it has a flat bottom which helps it carry more things. Gone are the days where I would get 5 bags for 7 items…it all fits in this bag. They say it can hold up to 40 lbs. and I am surprised by how much it can carry. To store it has a similar fold and snap closure like the bag from before, but the bag nearly folds itself and the snap straps are very generous. I sometimes even roll it too tight!

Rolled EnvBag

For me the biggest downside is the bag comes with a pouch. However the pouch is detachable from the bag. You can attach them, but I’m lazy and never would. So for me the pouch became waste, although one could easily repurpose it.

The EnvBag bags in use
Now technically these bags are still plastic since they are made of nylon. A better alternative would be to use a cloth bag such as these* I love that they roll up too! However in my attempts to conserve plastic I won't be on the hunt to replace these bags until they no longer work. EnV Bags will provide you a way to recycle their bags if you contact them, which is very nice of them to offer.

So what was your reusable bag journey? Do you have a favorite bag to use when you #skipthebag?

Love using your bags? Check out the #SkipTheBag Challenge.

*This post contains affiliate links, not a sponsored post. See my disclosures.


  1. Plastic bags have not been handed out in French supermarkets for years so I have a large selection of reusable shopping bags of all different sorts. I recently also bought some small reusable produce bags from ONYA which are great ... just as France switched to plastic bags made from biodegreable maize! However I still prefer to use my bags as they can be used time and time again meaning that in the long run they will cost less environmentally than the maize bags that are used just once. I still sometimes get some odd looks from the people on the check out but I always explain why I use them and hope they might be tempted to do the same! #WasteLessWednesday

    1. I'm always interested to hear all the great things France has been doing. I agree that reusable bags are better than disposable. Keep up the good work spreading the word.

  2. The UK charge for plastic bags even for clothing now so there are are a variety of reusable bags for sale in the supermarkets. Before this happened and I had committed to not using single use bags if/when I forgot my bags I would buy new ones. The cost and the growing pile of bags helped jog my memory! My favourite bags are the onya produce bags we carry . there are 5 of them and they come in a small pouch.

    1. Produce bags are so convenient and small to carry! I'll have to check out that brand.

  3. I use a bag that a local lady made for me and I also keep one I won at my library in my coat pocket.