Where do we stand on reusable bags?

In theory, I like the reusable bag. I bring my own bags with me when I shop and I’ve done this long before it was mandatory in my city.


Did you notice the amount of charities that give you a reusable bag when you donate? Or if you go to an event, companies give out reusable bags…

So my question is:

How many reusable bags does one actually need?

Realistically, I have four. Two for food(I can’t carry more than two bags home) One for things like cleaning products, and one for clothing or “nice” things.

These bags from Target or whatever start to give out after way too few usings. So realistically, how many people are throwing out bags like this because they break? Are bags like this still going to take up space in landfills?

Should the bags that stores have be made better? Which leads to cost- presently, stores charge five cents for a bag- can you really charge more for a bag when someone is making an impulse purchase? What’s the point where the consumer will go home and order off the internet instead of paying for a bag? (which creates a box problem in the landfills)

Conversely, if something doesn’t cost that much, you value it less. I’ve seen a lot of reusable bags not being reused and sitting in garbage cans, or in the gutter, which is another problem onto itself. Have you ever thrown out a reusable bag that was in good condition?

But what do you do when you have a glut of reusable bags?

I’ve made impulse purchases and gotten reusable bags and paper bags. I reuse the paper ones for garbage. (remember when we stopped using paper bags and replaced them with plastic because it was better for the environment?) But…using a perfectly good reusable bag for garbage just doesn’t sit right with me…so when I get too many I donate them.

Do you know how many reusable bags the donation centers are getting?

Apparently, because the bags are used, they’re not allowed to put customer purchases in them…

What’s happening to all these bags?

Do you think the next issue we face will be a glut of reusable bags?

Where do you stand on reusable bags?

How many reusable bags do you own/need?

Have we thought this thing through, or is this another- oh let’s use plastic instead of paper and save the environment


80 thoughts on “reusable bags

  1. I have so many bags from conferences and such. We have two we use for groceries – one for cold and one for regular. Several we use on road trips to pack snacks and such. Most just live in a closet. We did donate a bunch last year to a place that specifically asked for them

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a couple of reusable bags. They live in the car, but I usually forget them when I go into a shop. If I have to get a bag (usually at the grocery store), I get paper because I reuse those and then recycle them once they’ve worn out. If I end up getting plastic bags, I use those for things, too. I need to remember to grab my reusable bags when I go to the grocery store…

    There are really too many reusable bags out there, though. Most of them are made with plastic, and with so many of them being flung at people for every little thing, they’ll be as big of a problem as regular plastic bags in no time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think I have about 6 canvas bags and 4 of those fold up boxy sort of bins with carry handles. I use different ones for different situations. The bins always if I’m buying heavy grocery items. The thing that irked me when our state made recyclable bags mandatory was that the material used can only be “recycled” by returning the bags to the store. They can’t go out in the weekly recycle bin so you know all those returnable bags are ending up in the landfills. There was such a rush after Covid halted the plans for this change over that when it finally happened you’d think plenty of time had gone by to modify what those store bags were mad of making the concept more appropriate. I did buy really sturdy bags though and had my daughter reinforce the handles so they should last quite some time.

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    1. I wish they’re stop giving out the cheap ones. And I wish people had really good ones that would last for years. Mine break after about a month and I really am going to purchase string ones soon and only get paper if I make an impulse purchase. At least I can use the paper for garbage

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The ones given at stores are useless which is why I bought my own canvas early on. They live in my car. The stores had to do something so of course they were going to choose the cheapest and less sustainable option.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. While we are talking about advertising.apparently there’s so much advertising on boxes that get shipped, the post office has trouble when people reuse these boxes because very easy to miss address.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have a few that are made of fabric and roll up so I keep those. I have a few in the car but I am fussy and want only the ones that have a true bottom to them (like a paper bag). Any extras, if they are in good condition I donate. Anything else I put in our recycle bin.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have way more than I need because the ones I pick are really long-lasting. I prefer jute and/or other material options over the plastic ones. They’re more expensive, but they really do last. We take a bunch on our weekly shop, and I use the remainder for a whole variety of purposes for toting stuff about or for storing items.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I try to only use the nicer long-lasting ones. On the few occasions when I find myself needing the lesser ones, I drop them off afterwards at a local charity (thrift) shop who are always looking for them.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ll add to the conversation that the lockdown craziness also caused a conundrum for those that insisted that the only right way to live is reusable bags. Suddenly we couldn’t use those bags because we were going to infect the baggers. Return to plastic immediately! We are very consumer and consumable goods oriented, but we really don’t think things through. I’m from a huge “waste not, want not” family background, but my newish philosophy is to also try to not want what I don’t need.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Bags are a real opportunity of businesses if they grab it. The crappy plastic bags they charge a nickel for barely survive to the parking lot because they are so thin. I got a lovely bag from my library the other day. It’s strong and well made and it cost a few dollars but I love libraries and I like how it shows the library name on the outside.
    I think if businesses make a decent looking bag it will last and people will remember them when they go shopping. I suspect in that little metropolis where you sashay there are some fine establishments (museums, art galleries) who sell bags that are less than $5 but look pretty dashing and are looooong lasting.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Less than 5$ you say? My tote from the Whitney museum cost me 32$. And it’s not big enough to hold ingredients for dinner. I use it when I’m walking the dog and need to pick up one thing. The bags at the library start at 30$.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was at the botanic garden when I read the comment about paying less than 5$ for a good quality tote bag. When I stopped laughing I went to the gift shop. They charge 5$ for a reusable bag that’s not good quality. The totes start at 22, they’re not really big, and some of them are made from glorified sheet material. They’re pretty though

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Glad to hear your bags are $0.05; in some states, the minimum cost is at least $0.10, and it goes up from there. And I side with Dfolstad58 about their overall impact. They are thicker than the “regular” bags, which makes one wonder about their impact to the environment, but they don’t last long, it’s unclear how to really clean them, and they are a new revenue source for the store rather than contribute to an environmental cause?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I throw my bags in the wash, because let’s face it, if I’m buying fruits and veggies the bags get dirty. Of course washing them decreases their life cycle. I just think we solved a problem by creating a new one

        Liked by 2 people

      2. the thin plastic bags are nearly useless as they can’t hold much weight. The better bags cost a few dollars but can be used for much longer and are durable – they could last years, strong and better looking.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’ve never seen bags for a few dollars that last. To be fair, I’ve barely seen bags for a few dollars. Here, in nyc, I don’t have that option. And I don’t think people are buying good bags, and I see them throwing away the cheap ones. We need to find a better solution

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Careful! You’re gonna get the climate police after you! When I buy groceries , I FILL UP THE CART. And they put my stuff in plastic bags which I use to dispose of my daughter’s diapers as well as other trash. I also use them to carry things sometimes. I have a few of those reusable bags that were given to me. I use them for camping and traveling . By the way I also use paper plates, paper towels, toilet paper, plastic baggies and straws . 😳 I’m destroying the planet!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. In the 1990s, a girlfriend who sews for a living — she makes drapes, comforters, sail covers, etc. — made me four reusable bags out of a vegetable fabric pattern. We used one for the kids’ beach toys and the others for groceries. Now I have too many bags to count. And for some reason I find it hard to let go.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Crunchy bleeding heart Pacific Northwest expat that I am, I’m a huge proponent of reusable bags and rarely go anywhere without them. Between Tara and I, we probably have 12-18. I’ve never thought of them multiplying before.


    Seems like we still use all of ours though.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. We have about 8-10. Half in my car, and half in hubby’s car (because we switch who drives on grocery day). He likes to collect them, but if I’m anywhere in earshot, I won’t let it happen! I think it is another issue now, like you said: plastic, paper, or reusable???

    Also, we used to forget the bags all the time, but since doing those vacays in other countries, we’ve had a huge mind shift, because like NYC, in other countries, it’s mandatory.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a problem too…the size of some of these bags. I only have one bag that can fit a six pack of toilet paper. I often you those plastic strips that you stick on to form a handle, but I never pull just one, and I never affix it properly so it comes off halfway home…

      Liked by 1 person

  12. So true! I think we very well may be creating different problems, by trying to solve a problem. . I just saw in the news the other day how a 4 year old died because of jabbing his throat with one of those metal straws that places are using now instead of plastic, due to being better for the enviroment. Your post just made me think of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I suppose that the glut of reusable bags is about the same as used clothing – there will always be too much of the stuff. I fill them with donated stuff and take them to the thrift store. I have as many as I need (and possibly a few more). Cardboard boxes can at least be recycled. But the whole consumerism is the issue. We always want more than we actually need.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I have one question. On the picture on the right it says to use the bag up to 125 times. Does anyone do this? If so how do they keep track of how many times they use them? Ok maybe 2 questions. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I’m with reusable bags, but you’re right, they should be made with good quality so you can use them a lot. And you shouldn’t have too many. Not to do promo or anything, but I do sell reusable bags on my redbubble shop.

    Liked by 1 person

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