- Reusable shopping bags and totes are a great way to cut down on plastic and paper usage and lessen your carbon footprint.
- As more states and municipalities ban the use of disposable plastic bags while charging for paper, bringing your own bag is a simple and smart solution.
- Our top pick, the BagPodz Reusable Bag and Storage System, makes it easy to store your shopping bags so they don't clutter your space.
In March 2020, New York became the second state to ban the use of plastic bags at most stores, following California and hundreds of cities in other states. In addition, New York City and other municipalities have imposed a tax on shoppers who request single-use paper bags.
The easiest way to avoid this inconvenience is to bring your own reusable bags. But there are added benefits: reusable shopping bags are stronger than the plastic bags that stores distribute, and, of course, the point of the new legislation is to help cut down on waste and lessen our carbon footprint.
Most reusable shopping bags are made of nylon or canvas, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Though they look similar on the surface, there are subtle differences that make some reusable shopping bags perform better (and longer) than others. Some, like our top pick, come with their own storage solutions, and others are just cuter and sturdier than the competition.
The best reusable shopping and tote bags:
- Best reusable overall: BagPodz Reusable Bag and Storage System
- Best canvas: Baggu Duck Bag
- Best waxed: Colony Co. Reusable Grocery Bag
- Best under $10: Easy Fold Bag Reusable Grocery Bags 3 Pack
- Best large size: Baggu Large Reusable Shopping Bag
Updated 9/10/2020. We stand by our picks from last year and have updated prices and links.
The BagPodz Reusable Bag and Storage System comes with several nylon shopping bags, plus a pouch to hold them all together without taking up too much space.
The BagPodz Reusable Bag and Storage System comes in sets of five or 10 shopping bags made of sustainable, water-resistant, machine washable nylon. These are ideal for transporting groceries.
This set is unique because it comes with a compact pouch that holds the bags for easy storage in a cabinet or the trunk of a car when they're not in use. There's a clip on one end of the storage pouch that attaches to a shopping cart, so you don't have to juggle bags in the middle of the produce aisle. If you always forget to bring enough bags when shopping, having them all in a convenient place would help.
Pros: Comes with multiple bags, storage pouch, clip for shopping cart
Cons: Limited designsThe best canvas
The Baggu Duck Bag is an attractive and sturdy canvas tote suitable for a variety of lifestyles and purposes.
For a reusable shopping bag that could double as, well, a regular bag, look at the Baggu Duck Bag. Adorable name aside, this is a nice-looking and practical canvas tote. You could easily take it from the office to the grocery store.
The Duck Bag snaps shut, and has an interior zipper pocket as well as two sets of straps: top handles and shoulder straps. It's a bit more structured than other reusable bags, so it's well-suited to more than just groceries. That said, despite the deep compartment, the size makes it better for smaller runs than your big weekly shopping haul.
The slouchy material and artfully worn fabrics create a cool, lived-in effect. These bags are machine washable but should be hung to dry to prevent fading. While the structure and thicker fabric make the Duck Bag a bit more durable than some of its nylon counterparts, the shape is a bit restrictive so you likely can't carry as many items.
Pros: Stylish, durable, machine washable, multiple handles
Cons: Not as large as some picks, expensiveThe best waxed
The Colony Co. Reusable Grocery Bag is made of stylish, durable waxed canvas for a look inspired by old-school paper bags.
Another stylish-meets-functional choice is the Colony Co. Reusable Grocery Bag. Inspired by the look of a classic paper shopping bag, it's made of waxed canvas that is stain-resistant and easy to clean, though not machine washable.
The 16-ounce bag is shorter than it is wide and measures 17 inches tall, 12 inches wide, and 7 inches deep. It's also vegan and made with an eye toward sustainability, as most reusable grocery bags are. The brand also sells reusable produce bags, which would make a nice addition to any sustainable shopping routine.
Pros: Cute design, durable waxed canvas
Cons: Only has top strapsThe best under $10
The Easy Fold Bag Reusable Grocery Bags 3 Pack is a super affordable set of nylon bags that fold for easy transportation.
If you're not looking to splurge, the Easy Fold Bag Reusable Grocery Bags 3 Pack is a great option. It comes with three ripstop nylon bags that fold for easy storage or transportation.
These are machine washable and, though not as attractive as some of the others on this list (the company is going more for function than style), they do come in three colors. At less than $10, you can't beat the price. They aren't as sturdy as some of the pricier options, based on reviews, but should still last a long while.
Pros: Affordable, pack of three, machine washable
Cons: Fabric is a little shiny, not as sturdy as other picksThe best large size
The Baggu Large Reusable Shopping Bag is both stylish and practical, holding up to 50 pounds at a time.
Need a super-sized shopping bag? The Baggu Large Reusable Shopping Bag holds up to 50 pounds and comes in a host of cute colors and patterns.
Made of sturdy 100% ripstop nylon, the bag is durable and flexible. Despite its large capacity, it folds down to a neat 7-by-7-inch square for easy storage. The material is both thin and strong, allowing you to carry a number of heavy items with ease. The bag is also machine washable.
Pros: Holds up to 50 pounds, machine washable, cute patterns, folds into small square
Cons: Short handles, shapelessSee more great grocery shopping guides
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