How often do you use reusable shopping bags?

United States
June 22, 2008 7:12am CST
Why did you start using them? I started using reusable shopping bags about a year ago when I ended up with a huge amount of plastic bags cluttering up my pantry. I use a lot for yard projects before taking them to recycling, but I wasn't using enough to make a big dent in the stash I had. So, I started using the collection of canvas bags I had and haven't regretted it! They're bigger and sooo much easier to carry than plastic bags, and you don't have to worry about the bottoms falling out and canned goods (or wine, as has happened to me) ending up all over the parking lot. The environmentally friendly thing was an afterthought for me, but I'd love to hear your reasons for switching or occasionally using reusable bags.
5 people like this
26 responses
@heleni0 (322)
23 Jun 08
We (meaning my mom and I, since we shop together) always use reusable shopping bags. I started using them simply because my mom used them. They're great though, especially the canvas ones. They're really strong and spacious, and you can actually get really cute ones that you won't feel stupid carrying around. The regular plastic bags were always rubbish for us because we don't drive and have to carry all our shopping home! A lot of supermarkets here have started charging you for plastic bags, to encourage more and more people to use the reusable ones. I think it's a good idea. At our local supermarket, if you do manage to damage one of the "Bags for Life" you've bought from there they'll replace it for free. A bookstore here has one with purple stars on it; I plan to buy it when i'm in town on Wednesday.
• United States
23 Jun 08
Oooh! Love the Bags for Life idea. Some of the store brands are kinda crummy, and I've got a couple that are falling apart. I wonder if I should ask if they'll replace them...
1 person likes this
@kareng (7986)
• United States
23 Jun 08
Hi Helen, that is a good idea but for a large shopping trip would need about a dozen or more bags. For short trips, I'm all for using reusable bags. I think we should try a gradual transition to these cloth bags. It's much better for the environment! I can just see me though never having my bag in the car when I need it!!
1 person likes this
@loolets2 (106)
• United States
22 Jun 08
I rarely use them. I actually put them all in one place and take them back to recycle. There's so many bags!
2 people like this
@kareng (7986)
• United States
23 Jun 08
That's much better than throwing them away and filling up the dump/landfill! Good for you!
1 person likes this
@lvaldean (1613)
• United States
22 Jun 08
Starting to use them more and more. A few stores in my area offer them for purchase and they are really quite convenient. My bigger problem is to remember to keep them in my car.
2 people like this
• United States
22 Jun 08
I've gotten pretty good about making sure I've got them with me. I carry a big purse and make sure to have one in there, just in case I've forgotten the rest of them at home.
@kareng (7986)
• United States
22 Jun 08
I use them in both my bathrooms fro trash can liners. They are the perfect size for smaller garbage cans. Keeps the garbage cans clean and fresh. And you can stash spares in the bottom!! You are also saving on your budget by not buying small trash can liners.
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
23 Jun 08
I re-use them as trash bags to. Also for a diaper bag - dirty diaper in the bag and in the trash. I am not close to my dumpster so haveing to truck out a dirty diaper couple times a day - I just wrap it in the plastic bag and tie it closed. I also use them as packing material - wrap the glasses in the plastic bags or use the bags as packing material. I also keep one or two in the trunk of my car - never know when I might need a trash bag and also for an unexpected dirty diaper! And then there is the bag of them I keep and fill and take it back to the store where they recycle them.
2 people like this
@kareng (7986)
• United States
23 Jun 08
Way to go! I keep a couple in my trunk as well. They come in handy often!
1 person likes this
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
22 Jun 08
I live in a apt complext that didn't bother to accomodate parking for residents so my garage is out on the south 40...so I carry bags to and from my car all the time with stuff. I am usually with a little child and you know the stash they need! I usd to use the plastic ones, and then I started using gift bags. I have several and the girls (GD's) really like their "stuff" to be in a cute gift bag so that works really well. But not much for anything of weight. So inknowing I was going to have to keep doing this and had it figured out an easy way, I did buy some of the 99 cent canvas bags at Target, and they are okay, but I got some at Walgreens for 99 cents the other day and they are about twice as heavy/strong holding as the Target ones, so I use them for my trips back and forth to the car. I always have one in the car ...never know when I am going to need one! And sure enough if I dont have one...I will need it! But with the thing in the news about the plastic bag and recycling and that plastic not bio-degradable and the govt doing something about cutting back o that plastic nad grocery stores not allowed to use them anymore (don't know the story on this, just heard bits and pieces on the news) they are trying to go back to paper bags and these canvas bags. Some stores out here in CA now charge for the plastic bags, so you bring your own - plastic or canvas.
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Jun 08
I've heard about them trying to eliminate plastic bags in CA, and I think it'd be great if they did it everywhere. Might cut grocery costs some!
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
23 Jun 08
Nah, won't do anything for food prices. Those are high cause of the cost of gas to ship them in and cause of the massive floods in the mid-west. No plastic bags will just help the environment - they are not biodegradable.
1 person likes this
@ryzach (1546)
• United States
22 Jun 08
I have been using the canvas bags for about 6 months now. I also re-use the plastic bags from the grocery store as well. I re-use for the groceries and other things around the house. My cupboard was also getting packed full of bags and I did not want to throw them away. I did end up using alot of them. Some of the grocery stores have a box/bin to deposit old bags, some of the grocery stores will use your old bags to re- bag your groceries and some even pay 5 cents for each bags they re-use. Sometimes I forget to bring my own bags and the clerks who bag up my groceries really bag the groceries poorly. They only put just a few items in a bag and I end up with about 15-20 bags when they could have probably used less than ten. Those plastic bags can hold alot if you just place the items in them correctly. I used to work at a grocery store and these guys are just being lazy, instead of having to think about placement they are just throwing things into a bag. Big items like laundry detergent and gallon of milk, dog food should never even be in a bag unless requested. I usually ask to bag up my own items and this really saves on bags. I now leave my re-usable bags in my car so I always have with me.
1 person likes this
• United States
22 Jun 08
I hate it when they put one or two items in a bag before loading another! I don't get that. I also don't get the people who ask for their milk be double bagged...I mean, how is it difficult to hold the handle on the jug?
@ryzach (1546)
• United States
23 Jun 08
I totally agree, we just have to be on top of it when they are bagging our groceries and watching what is going on or do it ourselves which we should not have to do..
1 person likes this
@smallT (376)
• United States
23 Jun 08
I reuse the plastic bags as liners for my small garbage.
1 person likes this
@smallT (376)
• United States
23 Jun 08
opps: small garbage cans.
• China
23 Jun 08
I started using it recently, accoring to the government requirement and also it is for enviroment protection. Just i should remind me to take it with me, maybe once we have formed the habit of using reusable shopping bags, we'll feel it is so natural a thing and can proctect the enviroment, why not do it?
• United States
24 Jun 08
I think it's great that your government has put restrictions on plastic bags.
@mamuzo (225)
• South Africa
23 Jun 08
I've started using reusable shopping bags just last month! I discovered that I could save a fortune by just using stronger , affordable and reusable other than plastic bags that cost R0.25 or more depending on the size. Before I had this revelation (LOL) I used to use about 6 to 8 plastic bags per shopping spree (especially grocery shopping), that's about R2.00 now saved every time I go shopping. That's really big considering the dropping rate in South Africa, the little you save makes a huge difference!
• United States
24 Jun 08
Wow! I wish they'd charge for them here in more stores! The stores, here, that charge for them only charge .25 for your entire order! I love that it's such a savings to use reusable, for you.
• Canada
23 Jun 08
I use them occasionally but not as much as I should. However, if I go shopping and I can fit the item into another bag that I have, I'll forgo the shopping bag they offer me. Also, if I'm only buying one or two items that can easily be carried, I will also forgo the bag. I hope even these small acts will still help. I do still use all the shopping bags I get for lining the garbage cans at home. Why pay of bags when you can use the ones you get at the shops. I don't understand why all shops just don't hand out biodegradable bags if they're so concerned with the environment.
1 person likes this
• United States
24 Jun 08
The shops aren't really concerted about the environment; they're concerned about the bottom line. More and more shops, however, are starting to hand out the reusable bags as freebies. I think they'll end up saving a lot of money, in the long run, by promoting the use of reusable bags.
@fluffysue (1431)
• United States
23 Jun 08
I started using them as a small attempt to be environmentally friendly, though I do a lot of other things that make that seem hypocritical. But anyway, I figure that even a small change is good. Most of the grocery stores, and other large stores such as Walmart and Target, have bags for sale, usually for 99 cents. My problem is that I forget to bring them, and end up buying more, or using plastic. The fabric bags really do hold more, and I find that when unloading groceries, they cut my trips from car to house in half.
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Jun 08
I think everyone does environmentally unfriendly things, no matter how much they try, but every step you take is better than not doing it at all. I think it's great that you're trying at all.
• United States
22 Jun 08
I use them every time I shop. I got some great ones at Target that fold up into a small pouch, so I can keep them in the glove box of the car. Even the baggers have asked where I got them, and they want some. They're only about half the price of the ones in the grocery store. I realized long ago that each individual must do everything possible to make the world a better place. Something as simple as using these bags makes a difference in Global Warming and waste. The handles make it easier to carry them than plastic or paper bags, too.
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Jun 08
I'll have to check out those Target bags! I haven't seen them, but it would be nice to have some less bulky for my purse.
@thaMARKER (3096)
• Philippines
22 Jun 08
I mind all the cellophane, shopping bags, paper bags, and all other kinds of bags a store has for their customers. I keep them for my garbage use or for something that I need when I go out. They're very helpful to me, especially for my garbage stuff, it's costly if I buy garbage cellophane so I always make use of those I get from stores.
1 person likes this
• United States
22 Jun 08
You must not buy many groceries and not make much trash! Reusing bags like that is so much better than just chucking them out immediately.
@petiksmode (2986)
• Philippines
23 Jun 08
i have the habot if keeping plastic bags for future usage as to my trash and others.. as to paper bags i reuse it as long as i can...hehehe..until it worn out...poor bag...
1 person likes this
@Bluepatch (2481)
• Trinidad And Tobago
23 Jun 08
I use grocery bags for garbage. For starters, the garbage bags you get need to be tied and have wide openings on top that have to be closed. A grocery bag has handles you can use for tying together and are not huge so they are more manageable. I collect all my grocery bags and so never run out of garbage bags. I do keep other bags if they are exceptionally good like for the market or moving things around but the grocery bag thing is very popular in Trinidad. Endless people do this over here.
@masterdw (90)
• China
23 Jun 08
I can't remeber the date I began to use resuable bags now ,but Iam quite sure that it at least last for one years.It's good for environment and enhance the quity of our life.Now the use of plasti bags has been banned by the government of my country for the improve of enverionment condition.I appricate it ,and always try to persuade people around me to use reusable bags as me.
1 person likes this
@Rikza1 (295)
• Finland
23 Jun 08
We have used reusable shopping bags forever as far as i can remember. There is nothing bad in them. Only good, they don't break down and you don't have to waste nature. We still sometimes use plastic bags. We have forgotten to take the bags with us and had to bought plastic bags. Also sometimes all our stuff wont fit in our 2 reusable bags so we always carry few plastic bags with us.
1 person likes this
@chrysz (1604)
• Philippines
23 Jun 08
It was my grandma's practice to use ratan-woven basket when she goes to market. Now that department stores and supermarkets are practicing using reusable plastic bags, I would use their bags when I shop in their places but the SM green bag is not that durable so most of the time, I carry my own shopping bags. I also prefer carrying big bags when I go out so I could just put everything I buy in there instead of carrying small plastic or paper bags.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
23 Jun 08
i collect reusable shopping bags so many reasons. One of which is to somehow join the "bandwagon" of being eco-friendly. Second, I make use of them when I go to the supermarket. Third, if the shopping bag is not that appealing, I use it for my garbage.
@KrauseHome (33368)
• United States
23 Jun 08
Well, I use reusable bags all of the time for carrying things in. But I have never taken them into Grocery stores though. I know a lot of people are tending to resort to these though, and some Grocery stores are even starting to sell them if you want to use those instead. Some stores are even thinking of going back to paper over plastic here in our area as well. The plastic is bad for the environment, and like you have stated, they can also get holes in them. So I guess it is always a matter of choice as well.
1 person likes this