Over the past several months I’ve noticed more and more shoppers at my supermarket bringing their own bags rather than choosing paper or plastic. When the boys were little, I had a million uses for the plastic bags I brought home: wrapping dirty diapers, storing wet clothes, carting trucks and shovels from home to the playground, and so on. But as the boys get older, I find I have less and less reason to use plastic bags, and my collection started overflowing the storage space I’d allotted. It was definitely time for me to switch to reusable bags for grocery shopping.
I already have a ChicoBag — sent to me as a promotional item from Stonyfield Farm — that I keep in my pocketbook. It works fine for when I only need a single bag, but unstuffing it from its pouch at the register and then manipulating the very thin (but strong) fabric around what I’m putting inside actually takes more time than it does for the cashier to scan my purchase, and I always feel like I’m fumbling around to get my bag ready. I use a gigantic blue IKEA bag for my farm share pick-up, but it’s too huge to bring to a store — I’d find it unwieldy once it was filled with groceries. I knew I needed to get some new bags if I was going to use them regularly.
I narrowed my choices down to three contenders: Baggu Bags (available in every gorgeous, rich color under the sun), Envirosax (beautiful designs and highly recommended by bloggers I admire, ljc fyi and Not Martha), and ACME Recycled PET EarthTotes.
I wound up choosing the ACME tote, in “paper bag brown” of course. I bought four bags, and I’ve been using them for a couple of weeks now. I’m very happy with them and would recommend them fully. These bags won out because they have a flat bottom, and stand up straight like a paper grocery bag — this makes it super-easy to pack (the cashiers don’t even roll their eyes). I can pack them to overflowing, and they are still really easy to carry, and also stack into my trunk nicely because they hold their shape even when packed. Plus, they fold down just like a paper grocery bag, and so they keep a low profile in the trunk of my car when they’re not being used. I did not need to be able to put the bags on my shoulder, though if you want to be able to do that ACME has a version with double handles that will let you.
The four bags are normally enough for an average weekly shop, but for a larger trip I supplement with some other random totes I have around (including my “celery stalker” bag which I still love!).
I’m really happy with the switch from plastic to these reusable bags. It’s an easy way to be a little bit kinder to the environment on a regular basis, and that is much more motivating than the two-cent credit my store gives me for every reusable bag I use.