'A' for Accessories Filing Cabinet

Pretty Reusable Bags

I always carry reusable bags with me, and Envirosax makes my favorites. They fold up easily to a small size, and the patterns (especially these new bloom florals) are really cute. Do you carry reusable bags? I get a puzzled look from cashiers more often than not when I tell them I have my own bags, but I hope more people will start bringing their own too.

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  • Anna
    April 27, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Those are gorgeous! I have one pretty bag that a friend made for me, and then an assortment of freebies that companies have given away. Typically I only take them to grocery stores. I should really try to remember them more often at other types of stores!

  • Ellen
    April 27, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Those are beautiful bags!

    It must be because of where you live. Out here in Washington State, it is no big deal. Grocery stores all sell their own “brand” of reusable bag. A lot of them have signs in the parking lot reminding you to bring them in!

    You usually get a two or three cent per bag discount of your total too. Not a lot, but every little big helps.

    • Making it Lovely
      April 27, 2011 at 9:46 am

      Grocery stores sell them here too, but the cashiers still look at you like you’re doing something crazy! And some stores (like Target) are supposed to give you a little discount like 5¢ per bag, but they usually forget. I guess most people are still using throwaway plastic bags?

      • Jules
        April 27, 2011 at 9:54 am

        I used to use throwaways all the time when the boys were still in diapers. I’m sure you understand why. ;)

        I get looks for NOT using cloth bags. Once I got in the habit of using the throwaways as diaper trash bags, it became habit. Now it’s hard to remember to bring the bags in the store, even though I keep them with me in the car.

    • Allison
      April 27, 2011 at 10:30 am

      I just moved back to Austin from West Texas, and here in Austin no one thinks twice, but I was often the only one in West Texas. (But my grocery store there gave you five cents back every time, per bag, so in many ways, an even trade.)

  • SShaw
    April 27, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Pretty! That’s odd about the strange looks- I thought bringing your own fabric sacks was the norm these days.

  • Ellen
    April 27, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Ooh, bad typing this morning. I meant to say: You usually get a two or three cent per bag discount OFF your total too. Not a lot, but every little BIT helps.


    • Making it Lovely
      April 27, 2011 at 9:47 am

      We were typing at the same time! Yes, a lot of stores are giving discounts per bag. It’s not a lot, but it’s something at least, and it hopefully encourages people to bring their own bags in.

  • Anne with an e
    April 27, 2011 at 9:46 am

    These are so cute! They would be perfect for non-grocery shopping – I have a bunch of the ones from Trader Joe’s/Whole Foods, and in general, at grocery stores and Target cashiers treat it as standard. But I bring the same bags with me to the mall and definitely get some weird looks, especially last time I bought a bra… need some of these cuter Envirosax, I guess!

  • @caitlinmfrost
    April 27, 2011 at 9:47 am

    I don’t carry reusable sacks when I grocery shop (though I should). I get them to but my groceries in paper sacks and I use the sacks to put my recyclables in, that way I can recycle the sack when it’s full.
    But I do carry one of those giantous IKEA blue bags in my car and fill it up with all my food stuff or whatever I have when I go into my apartment, so I don’t have to make multiple trips to the fifth floor.

    • Making it Lovely
      April 27, 2011 at 9:51 am

      You know IKEA sometimes has those big bags in different colors and patterns besides the ubiquitous blue? I have some that are red with a big white heart, and a yellow one with white polka dots!

      • @caitlinmfrost
        April 27, 2011 at 9:53 am

        AWW! I’ll have to go check, now!!

    • jenn
      April 27, 2011 at 10:05 am

      great idea for the ikea bag. I take my own into the grocery, but it’s still a challenge to carry multiple to my place on a lower level.

    • Giulia
      May 2, 2011 at 9:56 am

      Just an FYI, the paper bags used in grocery stores are used from trees being cut down specifically for that purpose. Unfortunately they are not made from recycled paper, which makes them not that environmentally friendly as they also take a lot of energy to produce.

  • BR
    April 27, 2011 at 9:48 am

    I love envirosax. Here in Toronto there is a city bylaw mandating that all retailers charge 5 cents per plastic bag, so re-usable bags have become pretty fashionable!

    • Making it Lovely
      April 27, 2011 at 9:51 am

      Go, Toronto! I think a few states here (CA maybe?) have started doing the same thing, but not Illinois.

    • Giulia
      May 2, 2011 at 9:52 am

      We have the same bylaw in Ottawa, so you hardly get any stores that give you a bag. If they do they charge you for it. At IKEA you can only buy their big bags.
      I have some very cool bags made from recycled truck tarps and seat belts. They are super sturdy and completely water proof, allowing you to set them down on wet pavement.

  • Kathy
    April 27, 2011 at 9:49 am

    I love envirosax bags!! I used to have the bulky store bought reusables but not easy to tote around so they would always get forgotten at home or in the trunk of my car, so I would never have them when i needed them. Now that i have ones that fit in my bag I am always ready when I find myself at the checkout counter.

    I am with you – I always get weird looks. Resuable bags are common, but not these. My one complaint is that theyre hard to prop up for loading purposes, but otherwise they’re perfect! I also have on-street parking so they’re much easier to carry when I have a hike from my car to my apartment. Getting some for my environmentaly conscious friends as a wedding present even though they arent registered for them.

    • Sabrina
      April 27, 2011 at 2:49 pm

      I think that may be why you get weird looks. I used to be a grocery cashier, and honestly, I HATED bagging into reusable bags. The registers at my store were hard enough to work in (because I’m only 4’10”.) So whenever customers brought in their own bags I’d have to try and keep them up while reaching around for the next item. It’s not the customer’s fault, it was totally the store! Once reusable bags became commonplace they should have designed something for us to put them on that would have made it easier.

      I use my own bags, or bring in paper bags to reuse. And in Portland, Oregon there’s actually a city-wide ban on plastic bags (at least for the company I worked for). I think its so much better, really. Its just a little more difficult and slows down the cashier (because we were actually timed “items per minute”.)

  • Anna
    April 27, 2011 at 9:53 am

    My local grocery store used to give 5 cents off per reusable bag, but they discontinued it :(

    No matter, I still carry my reusables!

  • Christa M
    April 27, 2011 at 9:54 am

    I’ve been using re-usable bags for some time. I personally feel that we should be charged for bags when we don’t bring our own. Even if it is just 5cents or whatever, I bet more people would bring their own bags and we’d cut down on the use of plastic bags.

  • Sadhbh
    April 27, 2011 at 9:55 am

    In Ireland we have a tax on plastic bags and have to purchase even the pathetic flimsy ones, so bringing your own bags/ boxes/crates is totally normal here. The only problem is that I often forget mine and as a result have a cupboard FULL of store-brand bags. These are really pretty. I might just manage to remember if I had some of those:)

  • Caitlin
    April 27, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Wow, really? Here, they’re common; every grocery and department store sells their own (usually $0.99ea) and cashiers/packers ask you for your reusable bags first. We even have a nice sturdy green bin for the heavy stuff.

    Those envirosax are way more fashionable than the ones I have, though. I’ll check ’em out!

    • Caitlin
      April 27, 2011 at 9:59 am

      I’m in Ontario too, so most stores charge 5 cents per plastic bag if you don’t bring your own. I’ve never heard of a store offer any discounts for bringing your own, though.

      • Giulia
        May 3, 2011 at 8:54 am

        Loblaws takes a couple of cents off for each bag you bring if you don’t do self check-out.

  • Suzanne
    April 27, 2011 at 10:00 am

    Cute! Yes, I love Bagu bags. They are really strong and can handle anything you cram in them. I have a 3 pack that is kept in a cute zippered pouch that came with them. I got them a couple years ago via Lucky Mag’s deal of the day.

  • Katie
    April 27, 2011 at 10:05 am

    I get looked at weird, and then they just don’t know how to pack them to minimize bag use. I usually shop in my reusable bags so that I know everything fits and that I can carry it all home with me. I unload, they scan everything and then can’t seem to pack them right back up. I have to stop them from using plastic bags and tell them that I’ll bag my own stuff, thank you.

    • Sabrina
      April 27, 2011 at 2:57 pm

      You should separate your order onto the belt according to what was in each bag. Put your bag before each group. That way, the cashier KNOWS they can cram that much stuff into each bag. It will fit AND you won’t get mad about how stuff is bagged. I had a regular customer who would do that and it made it so much easier as the cashier. Put yourself in the cashier’s position, and try to be nice.

  • Robin @ Our Semi Organic Life
    April 27, 2011 at 10:07 am

    These look cute! One thing I worry about would be if they’re strong enough to carry heavy loads. Whenever I use my at the store I like to load it up all the way and with canned good, cartons of milk and such I like very sturdy heavy duty bags. What’s your experience?

    • Making it Lovely
      April 27, 2011 at 10:09 am

      No problems here. I went and checked the Envirosax FAQ just now, and it says that the bags can hold 44 pounds!

  • meryl rose
    April 27, 2011 at 10:14 am

    In CA, especially here in the Bay Area, it’s extremely popular. In fact a lot of clerks and baggers ASK if you have your own bags. Pretty awesome.

  • Christine
    April 27, 2011 at 10:20 am

    I have the same problem on the East Coast… I have even had cashiers try to charge me for my own bag! The younger cashiers, especially the boys, think it is cool when they see the reusable bags.

  • Allison
    April 27, 2011 at 10:22 am

    I love reuseable bags! I have some Envirosax, but I prefer Rume bags because their handles are longer and I can sling my groceries over my shoulder. No more multiple trips from the car to the kitchen. I keep mine in the car so I never forget them.

    The cashiers in my town usually ooh and ahh over the pretty colors of my bags. Some stores also give a small discount for bringing your own bags, and I do not live in a large city. I’m surprised cashiers in Chicago would think it’s odd.

  • Ameya
    April 27, 2011 at 10:23 am

    We use reusable grocery bags, we always get a smile out of our cashiers for it! They don’t think we’re weird, they seem to just like to see people actually using them.

    However, when I get a burrito to go at Chipotle & I tell them I don’t need a paper bag (I just grab the burrito, I’ll be eating it in the car anyway!) they are SO confused. One cashier called me awesome, though. :) I also try to throw stuff from multiple stores into one bag when I go to the mall or something too.

    • mélo
      May 1, 2011 at 9:41 am

      As a cashier, it’s true WE love to see people we reusable bag. We feel less guilty. At first, we have to adjust. But do you know how many plastic bag we give in one day, its CRAZY.

  • Amanda B.
    April 27, 2011 at 10:26 am

    I use some reusable bags I actually got for free! I love them because they have flat rectangular bottoms like a brown paper bag. I can actually fit more groceries in them. Most cashiers actually compliment me on them. I’m surprised you get funny looks living outside a major city. I live in a small town in WV.

  • Sara S.
    April 27, 2011 at 10:39 am

    I love bringing my reusable bags! I haven’t bought any from envirosac, but those look beautiful! I’ve made some for myself (kind of like the ones you get from kohl’s? where they fold up and velcro together). Three cheers for reusable bags! :)

  • Moondoonie
    April 27, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Adorable! Love the colors!

  • Wrenaria
    April 27, 2011 at 11:12 am

    It’s pretty popular where I live in Oregon. I always feel guilty when I forget my bags at home when I’m grocery shopping.

    Those bags are really cute!

  • Rebecca
    April 27, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I use my reusables all the time for grocery shopping! I have one bag that stays in my purse, it squishes into a strawberry pouch and doesn’t take up a lot of space, that way I always have one for little trips!

  • Kat
    April 27, 2011 at 11:47 am

    I’ve got a bunch of very utilitarian, and not so cute, reusable bags. Often though, if it’s just one or two things, I’ll tell the cashier that I don’t need a bag. The other day the cashier was a little quick for me, so I took the items out of the bag and said, “I’ll let you keep the bag; I don’t need it.” She wadded it up and threw it in the trash. Sigh….

    • Sabrina
      April 27, 2011 at 3:02 pm

      When a customer does that at our store, we have to reuse the bag. (Unless it was dirty from meat or something hazardous.) So feel better that not everyone throws them away.

  • Kate
    April 27, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    I am in San Francisco and people look at you really strange if you DON’T have your own bag… plastic in grocery stores is not allowed here and most places charge for paper.

  • Lora
    April 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    I carry my own bags as well, although they aren’t nearly as pretty as these are. I just use canvas bags.

    • Amy
      September 3, 2011 at 10:20 pm

      lora..your canvas bags can be pretty too! checkout carry plus.com

      • Amy
        September 3, 2011 at 10:22 pm

        * carryplus.com

  • Desiree Fawn
    April 27, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    I have a big collection of envirosax… LOVE them so much!

  • Stephanie
    April 27, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    I use reusable bags as often as possible, about 95% of the time and I’ve never gotten a weird look. The cashier/bagger usually just takes the bag(s) and fill it up like it’s the most natural thing in the world (as it should be). Interesting that you have gotten weird looks…

  • Nicole RJ
    April 27, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Many stores in our area charge 5 cents a plastic bag, and honestly I love it! I was using reusable bags before the fee came into effect, but now it strongly encourages others to use them as well!

  • louise
    April 27, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Yes, here in WA, I usually feel outta place when I forget my reusable bags. I hate to hear that there are places where people give funny looks for bringing your own bags. Shame on them! If only I could get my husband on board with it! We do recycle the plastic bags he brings home though… WA (Seattle area at least) tried to make you have to pay for plastic, but it was repealed…

  • Kati
    April 27, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    You must be a mind reader because I was JUST looking for some pretty reusable bags before my lunch break. I come back and ta-daa! I little pricey but totally worth it if they’re as cute and strong as everyone says. I just ordered myself a 5 bag pouch. :)

  • DeNacho
    April 27, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    i’ve been using reusable bags for about 3+ years now here in Illinois. it is hard to remember, but i MADE myself go back out to the car & get them. it only took 2-3 times of having to do that & i remembered them since. i even got my husband to do the same. now we use them at the grocery, hardware, you name it! i even refuse plastic bags on take-out food!

    one area that you may not think to use them is in the produce section. i cut out plastic bags at the check out but was still using them for produce. then i found lots of reusable produce bags on etsy & even taught myself to sew my own using muslin. so now i have all reusable bags in the grocery & love it. i got used to the looks & tell them to do whatever it takes NOT to have to pull a plastic or paper bag for me. it may not be much, but it’s one way to help!

    • Sabrina
      April 27, 2011 at 3:06 pm

      That’s cool. My store recently started carrying mesh produce bags. I just never used bags for produce because I’m gonna bring it all home and wash it before I used it anyway.

  • Rachel May
    April 27, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    I like the purple one in the middle. Those are terrific florals.

    Your blog is so inspirational and your family is absolutely adorable! I love reading about your life. Thank you for sharing it with all of us.

  • Naomi
    April 27, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    I also use resusable bags and always get a look from other customers or cashiers, just wish other stores beside’s target would encourage to use them with their 5 cent discount. Sure it isn’t a lot but it adds up at then end. And feels nice to know you save a lil money.

  • Steph
    April 27, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    In the UK, you get weird looks for NOT having a reusable bag in the supermarket and using plastic bags – in some supermarkets they now charge you for using their plastic bags! And also in the UK, we pack our own bags at the checkout so it’s fine!

  • Kate
    April 27, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    I have a bunch, my favorites are the ones from Shinzi Katoh. I get lots of comments on those, too. I work in retail and I have to say I was pretty sad on Earth Day because not one person had a reusable bag but worst of all when I asked people “would you like a bag?” they ALL SAID YES! I wanted to yell at them, “you know it’s Earth Day right?!!” I mean…of all the days! (And many only having one or two little things.)

  • Sara
    April 28, 2011 at 1:50 am

    I LOVE my Baggu bags! I use them for everything from groceries to take-out to a change of clothes. They come in so many colors and I like that its such a simple design. I’ve been using them for years and they’ve held up really well!

  • Sara
    April 28, 2011 at 9:02 am

    Yes! I have been using similar bags for years. I love that they are machine washable & fold up so small. I have given them as gifts, too. I work for an environmental consulting firm, so I am always on the hunt for “fun” green items. I ordered 2 just now, the robot one is too cute to pass up. Thanks.

  • Amanda
    April 28, 2011 at 9:44 am

    We keep one 5-pack of Envirosax in each car – love ’em! And they wear like iron, too – I’ve had one set for 2 years, washed & used regularly and they still look and work great! People used to look at me funny for using them, but over the past year it’s become more and more common. Cashiers don’t even blink anymore – well, other than some getting visibly annoyed at having to deal with trying to hold them up and pack them. Stores should get on the wagon and make their bag holders more flexible…

  • Sarah
    April 28, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    I love Envirosax! I actually just bought this Bloom Pouch set for my sister for her birthday. I have a grey one I carry and gave one to my mother, both from the Flavors of France Green Grocers series. I either carry my own bags or carry store-bought items out of the store without a bag. I usually tell the cashier “I don’t need a bag, if you don’t mind – just to save the plastic.” I’ve never gotten much of a quizical look.

    Thank you for sharing Envirosax! :)

  • Lisa
    April 28, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    I reuse bags! We have some goofy ones that are not at all as cute as those though! Where I live, all grocery stores charge for bags, so I think it helps encourage people to bring their own.

  • zzipper
    April 28, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    I love Envirosax as well.. love love love..
    Not only used for shopping – I wrap presents in them and they look so pretty with all the patterns available. It’s two gifts in one. I love knowing they will be used by the person I gift them to!

  • Jessica @ Decor Adventures
    April 29, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Yes I do use reuseable bags but most of the time I just say “I don’t need a bag, thank you” and put small items in my large purse.

    I think more people are starting to get it. Who needs all those plastic bags anyway?

  • amanda james
    April 30, 2011 at 11:54 am

    a friend of mine gave me one of these. and i am totally in love with them.

  • mélo
    May 1, 2011 at 9:31 am

    I am an Head cashier and a decorator in a home departement store here in montreal, quebec. Almost everyone have reusable bag now. Two years ago grocery start to charge for bag, 5 cents each. Before that customer yell at me when i ask if they need a bag, now they yell a me when i give them a bag!!! Things change with time :D It really makes me happy, as a cashier I know that to many bag are getting out of a store for nothing… Something already in a bag, like pillow or in a box, like a coffee machine or a diner set… When you put a diner set in a bag, it’s anyway to heavy to carry with the handle, you have to hold the box… Or even a tiny thing that fit in your purse. The worst customer are the old lady, they want a bag no matter what. A funny fact, when I ask: ”do you need a bag?” Most of the time they said no. But when I ask ”Do you want a bag?” They said yes…

    I always have 3 reusable bag in my purse (shop n tote)that i wash every week and 2 extra big one in the car. As a cashier eco-responsable, I always use reusable bag, 10 years ago they cost me 15$, now it’s only 5$ And every store have their own reusable bag for 1$
    I dont use paper bag for a gift anymore, I use the 1$ bag from the store where i buy the gift. They are cute, reusable, and the same price as the paper one.

    sorry for my english i’m french!

  • jen {fuzzy sushi}
    May 2, 2011 at 4:52 am

    Here in Germany, if you don’t bring your own reusable bag you have to grab the store’s plastic bags and give them to the cashier before you start checking out. And they charge you ,09 euro for the flimsy ones and more for the sturdy ones.

    Most people carry baskets like reisenthel’s (http://www.reuseit.com/store/reisenthel-market-basket-solids-p-726.html) or wicker. The handy thing is that you can use those as your basket while shopping, empty it out onto the conveyer belt then repack it all when you’re done!

    I have a fold up bag clipped into my purse, so it’s always with me. But, these Envirosax are a lot cuter!

  • Kat
    May 3, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Those Enviosax are so pretty. I have a mis-matched collection of shopping bags. I think grocery shopping would be more fun if I had three pretty bags to take it all home in. I have lived in two countries (Taiwan and Hong Kong) that charge for grocery bags (government regulated). The charge is small, but people change their habits so quickly for a small charge. I lived in HK when they started charging and the consumers made the change overnight. I think it is sad that you still get puzzled looks sometimes.

  • Heidi S.
    May 9, 2011 at 11:58 am

    I have a 5 pack of the Envirosax (in different green patterns). I love them and also use them for carting stuff to and from daycare. Unfortunately I don’t think they work very well for big grocery shopping. I have a separate set from the grocery store that have a flat bottom and stand up straight (so the check out person doesn’t have to hold them up while they load the bag). I do use mine for the quick trip to the store though (and this way I never forget them since I always keep a couple in my purse).

    As for durability, I’ve had mine for a couple of years and they are holding up quite well (and still fold up easily).

  • Amy
    August 5, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    I love love love my CARRYPLUS bags.. they are these trendy ,cool Cotton canvas shopping bags which folds up well and they do hold ton of stuff. i have around 10 of these in different patterns and they have good durability and maintaining it clean can’t get easier. i just toss with my regular cloths for washing and vola! its done fresh and clean… i’m not too much in to polyester and nylon . i love my cloth/fabric carry plus bags and also love the compliments i get and will be giving away many as gifts!