Everyone these days is offering fun reusable shopping bags for sale. So what makes one reusable bag different from the next?
Well, lot’s of things — actually. For starters:
For example, the most important features to me are a larger than normal size that also compacts small (or at least perfectly flat). Bonus points if it can stand open on its own, thanks to a flat bottom — similar to a paper sack. My favorite is still the Walmart reusable shopping bag.
For the record, in addition to large reusable bags like these, I also like to have a couple of reusable shopping bags that pack up really small — so they’re easy to carry with you. (The larger ones — like the Walmart bag — I keep in the car.)
Here are some reasons for using reusable shopping bags, how to save money with them, and where to find them.
The Facts About Plastic Shopping Bags
The average family brings home 1,000 bags every year. Most of those bags end up in landfills. That really adds up – 100 billion plastic bags are sent to landfill in the US each year. In landfills, it can take up to 1000 years for a bag to decompose. Plastics don’t biodegrade, they photo-degrade, breaking down into tiny toxic pieces that contaminate soil and water or harm wildlife. —Source
Paper or plastic?… Is there a correct answer to that question?
When it comes to the cost of using plastic bags, facts don’t lie. Public agencies in California alone spend more than $300 million on cleaning up coastal litter every year.
If every person in New York City used one less grocery bag, it would cut waste by 5 million pounds and save $250,000 in disposal costs.
How To Save Money Using Reusable Bags
So now we know why it’s a good idea to use reusable shopping bags instead of plastic shopping bags — but how does it put money back in your pocket?
3 Stores That Offer A Discount For Using Reusable Bags
#1 – Target: Offers a 5-cent discount for each reusable bag you bring in. So far, more than 190 million reusable bags were used instead of paper or plastic shopping bags. Target encourages guests to make reusable bags a regular part of their shopping routine by offering a broad and ever-changing assortment of bags.
#3 – Trader Joe’s: Some Trader Joe’s stores offer a $.05 discount per reusable grocery bag you bring in to use. Other Trader Joe’s stores offer one entry into a weekly raffle for a $25 Trader Joe’s gift card each time you shop with reusable bags. Offers vary by store so check your local store to find out what their program is.
Where To Find Fun Reusable Shopping Bags
ChicoBag: They produce reusable bags, packs and totes that are great for shopping, travel, organization, outdoor activities and more.
Flip & Tumble: I love the fun colors and the way this one scrunches up into a tiny little ball. They call the $12 reusable shopping bag “the 24/7 bag” because it’s small enough to keep on your person 24/7.
Reusable Shopping Bags: These are perhaps the largest collection of reusable shopping bags online.
Baggu: Choose your own fun colors, lightweight yet holds 25 lbs – the contents of 3 plastic grocery bags, folds into a flat 5″ x 5″ pouch, $10.
IKEA Big Blue Bag: Extra large for big shopping trips, made of plastic but it’s a great one to reuse, .99 cents.
EcoBags: Lots of shapes, sizes, styles, and materials available –$6 to $20.
Amazon Reusable Bags: an ever-changing inventory of reusable shopping bags and sets of bags in fun shapes, sizes and colors.
Other Ways To Get Free Bags
Chances are you’ll probably be looking for sources of FREE reusable grocery bags. I know that I’m constantly on the lookout for them, because you can never have too many reusable bags!
Tips for finding reusable shopping bags:
- Keep your eye out for announcements from your favorite stores and online retailers.
- Oftentimes if you take the time to answer a survey or take a quiz, they’ll send you a free reusable shopping bag.
- Some companies will send you one, just for the asking.
- Environmental groups are participating at the local level, showing up at events and handing out free reusable shopping bags.
- Thrift stores and garage sales often are good places to grab reusable bags too!
- And be sure to watch for other fun specials and local freebies on Earth Day!
More About Reusable Shopping Bags
In addition to the links I’ve included above, here’s some more information I found to be pretty cool about reusable grocery bags:
- Reusable Shopping Bag Guide
- 99 Cent Reusable Shopping Bags At Publix
- 20 Awesome Uses For Plastic Bags
- How To Make A Shopping Bag Out Of A T-Shirt
- The Best Reusable Tote Bags (Recycled & Made In The USA)
Photo via taberandrew
I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money — so I write about “outside the box” ideas that most wouldn’t think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed over 10 years before switching gears to pursue activities that I’m truly passionate about. I’ve worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo — to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).