The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish
December 1, 2011

Please Help My Dad — Your Reusable Bag Suggestions Requested


I spent Thanksgiving week in Maryland with my family.

Here’s a picture of my dad. He has questions.

Raymond J. Terry Hawaii 2006

(Okay, that photo was taken in Hawaii in 2006 — not Maryland in 2011. But it’s nice, isn’t it?)

So we were at the local Giant Foods grocery store last week, and after I whipped out my handy ChicoBag reusable bags from my purse, the cashier said she thought Maryland was going to start charging a fee for plastic bags, similar to the fee in effect in Washington D.C.  Turns out she was almost right.  Prince George’s County (where my dad lives) wants to impose a bag fee but must get authorization from the State General Assembly.  There will be a hearing this Saturday.

When we got home from the store, my dad looked at my ChicoBags and asked, “So I would need to get twenty of those to replace the twenty plastic bags I bring home from the store?”

I explained that reusable bags are stronger than disposable plastic bags, so they can carry more and you don’t need to use as many.  I’m thinking of sending him a reusable bag starter kit for Christmas this year, so he can try making the switch, whether PG County’s bag fee goes through or not.   I’d like to give him a variety of styles to try out.

This is where you come in.  What advice do you have for my dad for creating a simple reusable bag system?  What are your favorite brands/styles of reusable bags?  I’d especially love to hear from the male readers.  I carry about three ChicoBags in my purse at all times so I’m never without a bag, but my dad doesn’t carry a purse.  He would need to remember to put the bags back in the car or maybe near his car keys after he empties them each time.

My dad has taught me a ton of stuff.   How to solder wires together.   How to merge onto the freeway with confidence.   Why you should always finish a full course of antibiotics instead of stopping when you start to feel better.  And how to belch loudly at will.   Will you please help me help him?



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86 Comments on "Please Help My Dad — Your Reusable Bag Suggestions Requested"

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Walmart sells some stuff bags near the register with clips that are very handy to clip to your keys.  it would be a good way for your dad to remember his bags, if he lays or hangs his keys near the door when he comes in.  

I use 3-4 large tote bags with boxed bottoms. The groceries fit better, I can carry one over each shoulder and one in each hand. These replace 15-20 plastic bags that often only get 4-5 items put in before a new bag is packed by the grocer.

My husband is a bit of tree hugger himself, so no problem getting him to use his own bags (he’s better at remembering to bring them to the store than I am).

I did take a sewing class and made a reusable bag for him! That must be your solution for dear dad. If his daughter MADE him a reusable bag (or more) he cannot help but use them! Like the macaroni made necklace we made as children.

Robbie @ Going Green Mama

One thing I hadn’t seen on here is what he’s willing to carry. That can be a big differentiator. If you need to worry about size/weight because of his physical capabilities that needs to be considered too!

Not a car person, but I have been in the past, and keeping a few bags in the backseat was always a good reminder to get the rest for big trips. My partner, who uses the bags as an indulgence for me, keeps a Chico bag (free from a green expo of some sort, has a legal office screen printed on it) in the glove box. I link another on my keychain for shopping that isn’t groceries, like crafts or gift shopping. It helps to be a fan of pockets for that. A Chico realistically carries 15 pounds, although the… Read more »

Here in germany there are many folded bags you can buy at the stores. Most of them are so small, you can carry them at your keychain.
For my wedding I gave this ones as a pesent for our guests:comment image
so all of our family now use them.
I take 3-4 of my strawberrys for shopping, thats enough.

Here are also many cotton bags with a nice picture of the hometown.The older people like this one very much.

While I am the one who insisted that we stop using plastic, my husband figured out how to ensure we never forget the bags. After coming home from the grocery store, they are folded and placed on the counter as they are emptied. Meanwhile, the trunk of the car stays open. Once all of the bags are emptied and folded, someone (normally my husband) takes them out to the car and closes the trunk. While he will still use a plastic bag, I do not. Grocery store, liquor store, department store, I carry my own bags.

We keep a 5-pack on Envirosax in the trunk in each car. One 5-pack is enough for my husband, but I have 2 5-packs, as I do the bulk of the shopping. 10 bags are sufficient enough. We throw them in with our cloth napkins to clean them and hang to dry.

I get all my bags free or for a quarter from yardsales and thrift stores. The cheap paper-like ones are really too flimsy for the investment. I like the canvass bags. If he has more bags than he needs in the car, then having some there will always be an option. I forget bags and home and forget them in the car. One day, I was so disgusted at leaving the bags in the car that I told the bagger to put it all back in the cart, that I would bag them myself as I put the groceries in… Read more »
Just a thought about the comment that he may need 20 bags per trip in addition to your advice that a reusable bag holds more, I would suggest not buying quite as much in each trip. Why? Because when we make more frequent trips to the store for food we can buy more fresh food items (vegetables and fruit) on each visit since they will be used quickly which makes for a healthier you. Also getting out to interact with others on a regular basis can be healthier for us too. We need positive human interaction to maintain a positive… Read more »

Hi! We are using canvas made and a native bag made from palm tree leaves. It’s very environmental. And you can use it for a long time. Just wash it from time to time. I’m recommending it to your dad.

I don’t know if he has a favorite sports team but if he does get a reusable bag that has the “Dallas Cowboys” or whatever. That way its more like he would have one of those hanging around.

This doesn’t solve the “how to keep them with you” problem, but it helps in the “want to have them with you” area: I have been making bags out of underused t-shirts, using my own version of this basic no-sew method: My changes are: 1. I cut the sleeves off on the outer edge of the seam, leaving the sturdiness of the seam on the bag for the handle. 2. Then I fold the inner portion of the handle under itself, doubling it, make two small holes on either side of the top seam and tie a small strip… Read more »

Although they don’t roll up into a tiny ball like ChicoBags (which I also have) I really like the denim tote bags I bought at Hobby Lobby. They’re super-sturdy and I can throw them in the washer with the jeans.

My husband complained that my reusable bags were too “girly” for him to use, so I got him some envirosax bags in the “greengrocer” series, solid colours, his are dark blue and grey. (I ordered from the envirosax Canada site.) He is using them happily. Also, he says they aren’t too long for him. He doesn’t roll them up, just puts them all inside one bag, and hangs that bag by the front door. I keep some in the glove compartment as well. Drawbacks — they need to be handwashed, they’re expensive, and they’re plastic (nylon). On the plus side,… Read more »

Great read! I am confident your Dad can pick up the reusable bag habit very easily! Send me your ups# and address I will send him a nice lil kit to get started with – On us! Thanks! reusable bags

I havent read all of the comments but here are mine. I now have more than enough bags but our system is to generally keep a few in the car and I have a few in my son’s diaper bag which is usually with me. We also keep most of them by the door. The rare time I do forget, I carry things out in the cart to my car. I will say that my favourite method for grocery shopping is my (ahem) plastic buckets with fabric handles that I purchased long before I considered the harm of plastics. They… Read more »

Backpacks are great for grocery shopping because of all the pockets. One pocket holds wallet, keys, etc and another pocket holds extra bags. You can carry the heavy stuff in the backpack and the lighter stuff in bags.

My husband likes to show his manly upper body strength by loading everything into a giant cooler bag which he’s named the “body bag.” I don’t carry a purse. I have 3 ChicoBags clipped to a big key ring (and the keyring with my keys clips to it, too). The grocery store also uses extra bags to keep cleaning products separate from food. i use my own judgement there.

I like the chico bags and others that roll up into a ball. But my favorite new bag is my homemade Duct Tape Bag Depending on your opinions of duct tape, the bag is macho, sturdy and a conversation piece, and because it has duct tape, a manly man bag as well!

My favorite bags are canvas bags. I find them to be the most sturdy and they wash easily. As a student, I don’t usually travel without my backpack. Backpacks are great for grocery shopping because of all the pockets. One pocket holds wallet, keys, etc and another pocket holds extra bags. You can carry the heavy stuff in the backpack and the lighter stuff in bags. Then once the groceries are put away, the empty bags go into the backpack and everything is all in one spot and ready for the next shopping trip. And backpacks come in so many… Read more »

I like a variety, and am a keep-in-the-car (or bike trailer) person. But I still forget sometimes. Then I go to the bin of returned plastic bags that our store has at the front and fish a few out of there. 99.9% of the time they are totally clean, and if not, I just stick them back in their bin. I agree with the suggestion about produce bags; but we need a few plastic bags on hand because we have to pick up dog poop when we walk our dog!

i think the first thing you need to work on is the giant foods, they have at least one or more coops in his area. i vote for domestically produced (by a worker collective), hemp bags – some full size, some produce. there seem be a bunch of small producers in the eugene, oregon area. i know dar-ge-los is also about to unveil some hemp bags. and one of your posters mentioned one company arleady . plus a box of biobags, for a transitional phase. hemp – way less water than cotton needed to grow, and all the other virtues… Read more »

I can’t live without my RuMe Bags!! I’ve bought a lot of bags over the years and these are by far the best and last the longest.

Just a word of caution about the cheap reusables available at many grocery stores: the seams split easily! I’ve repaired several of mine, some after only a few uses, so they’re not something I’d recommend as a gift. I definitely prefer sturdy canvas. And I love the string bags from Eco Bags when I want something I can stuff in my pocket. Those are great for any kind of groceries, but double as produce bags depending what you’re buying. I love the bags-in-the-driver-door idea! I’m going to start doing that and see if my hubby catches on. A few weeks… Read more »

I keep our bags in the hall closet with his shoes. After much trial and error it seems to be the place where he will remember to take them.

Hi: I has taken me a while to get my husband to “remember” to use reusable bags. The way I have changed his behavior (gave him a nudge) is by simply starting to stow the regular grocery-available reusable bags in the storage pocket in the _driver’s_ side door of our car. It holds two comfortably, which is typically enough for our groceries (we are CSA members). I then also stow extras in the trunk, for the unlikely event we are doing a super big shop. (We also always shop with a grocery list, so that helps us visualize what amount… Read more »

I use the reuseit workhorse ultra compact shopping bag. The bag stuffs into a little attached pocket to about a 3″ x 3″ size. I then carry them to the store in a cotton muslin bag I use for produce which I have in two sizes. I find I use about 4 of the workhorse bags doing a weekly shop since they hold so much. I have 4 of the muslin bags but could use more. I even carry my workhorse bag in my purse when shopping at the mall.

So… I’m not a male… but I don’t carry my bags in my purse (my purse is way too small even for 1 chicobag!) Back in the beginning days of bringing my own bags, my fail safe for remembering was to put them in the passenger seat with something that I needed: my phone, a list, my purse ….. your dad could take his wallet and put it in his bag(s). My husband will often go without if he forgets to take a bag… taking his purchases from the hardware store to his truck in the cart! :) As far… Read more »
HI to all, I love the many bag suggestions, similar to my lifestyle – but – no one is yet discussing produce & bulk bags yet. Terry, I bet you use them…anyway- I have designed & sell an organic cotton reusable produce bag that I really sell at cost for at least one reason – the sea turtles eat clear produce bags cuz they look like jelly fish. So – once we habituate using our big bags, it is time to replace the plastic produce bags too! I often don’t use any bag for produce, and I don’t buy produce… Read more »
My dad uses the woven nylon bags that are for sale cheap everywhere – I think many of the stores in our area were giving them away free last year when the bag ban started being talked about. He has about four of them that he folds up flat and tucks into the fifth one and that bundle always lives in his car. He’s uber organized so he rarely does spur of the moment shopping but they’re there if he wants them. After bringing in the weekly grocery shopping, he folds them up and they get set on the table… Read more »
My husband loves his Flip & Tumble. He doesn’t have a purse but he keeps his in whatever coat he is using at the moment. I don’t know how is the weather where your father lives… maybe he doesn’t wear any coat… Anyway, for big grocery trips the best is sturdy and roomy bags that will allow him to carry only 5-6 bags instead of the 20 plastic ones. I agree that Chico bags or other compact bags are not the ideal for big grocery trips. You need something that actually takes place to keep you from forgetting about them!… Read more »

My system is to keep my collection of reusable bags in my car easily accessible and in sight. When I bring a load of groceries into the house, I unload the groceries and immedately hang the bags on the inside front door knob to go back out to the car on my next trip. Works like a charm.

Beth – I’m here, a male to rescue your dad with his carrying needs. The device I have used for years is called the Medi-Pouch made by Tough Traveler. It’s a small pouch a guy can wear on his belt and lots can be put in it including re-usable plastic bags. The one shown is red but it can be ordered in black. I keep my glasses in mine along with tools that I frequently use including a small screwdriver great for breaking down cardboard boxes as any good recycler should be able to do at a moment’s notice, a… Read more »
I scanned through the other comments, and don’t think anyone has mentioned this yet — how about getting him one of the ripstop nylon ones that fold up into a teeny bag and have a clip to put them on your keychain? (Solves the dude problem of no purse in which one could carry reuseable bags.) Here’s a Chico version on Amazon: Obviously, he couldn’t clip 20 of these to his keychain. But he could add one, and it would be there for small trips. For larger stock-ups (ie, groceries), keeping a sack of canvas bags in the car… Read more »

My favourite reusable bags are the assortment of cloth ones I’ve bougth at thrift stores. I like that they’re inexpensive and that they go through the wash easily.

I keep a large canvas bag I bought in 1984 on the door knob. Inside, one of those reusable bottle bags, which is handy for a whole lot more than wine. At the checkout line, I put all my glass-jar items in that bag. Great for protecting bananas too, when you have only one or two glass jars. On the way to the store, it holds all my reusable cloth produce bags and extra Chico bags. Btw, one cool thing your dad might appreciate about the reusable produce bags is that they come with the tare printed on the sewn-in… Read more »

I have a couple of the fold-up kind that I keep in my purse, but they both have clippy-things attached to them that I suppose someone could use to attach to a set of keys or something. Unfortunately I have no idea what brand they are, since they were a present. My mother-in-law found them at one of those Scholastic book fairs at the school where she teaches and got them for me.

Although I’ve purchased a set of nylon bags from Reusable Bags, I’ve got all kinds, many of which I’ve received from donations to wildlife organizations. One caveat for the older shopper. Most packers I’ve met tend to fill the bags to the brim. Since I am in my seventies, I have difficulty carrying such heavy bags. If you buy him large canvas bags, unless he is still quite strong, he may need to remind the packers not to fill one bag up with all the heavy items.

Forgot to add:
Help the cashier by holding open bags for easier loading. Standing there face-to-face smile and make pleasant conversation, if they seem so inclined. It may make someone’s day a little nicer. Loading reusable bags is not as easy for the cashiers as loading plastic bags from their dispensers or paper bags that tend to stand up by themselves and stay open. Switching to reusables needs to have a net positive effect on the interpersonal level, as well, or environmental gains become meaningless.

I employ a lot of the techniques suggested here. I always have bags in the car, and if I forget to bring them with me into the store, I just have the goods loaded into my cart, roll it out to the car and bag the stuff up right there.

I want to suggest visiting consignment and thrift stores for new and nearly new reusable bags, before going out to purchase new ones.

[…] My Plastic-Free Life would like to hear about your top reusable bag choices. […]

No need for 20 bags. One or 2 will do. What’s most important, make loading and unloading purchases easy. How? Get 2 cardboard boxes (one bigger, one a little smaller) that can be nested. Keep them in the trunk. When going shopping, place them in the cart. The bags come handy when there is excess for the boxes. Loading the boxes in the car is a breeze. Same with bringing the purchases in the house. Then place them by the door, so when you go out the door you’ll see them and take them to the car. Also, your dad… Read more »
I go with what’s free. I have a Bullfrog Power bag that I got for free when I signed up, it is STRONG. I also have a Green Party bag that a salesman gave me when he was trying to get me to encourage a bulk order from the party. Again, very strong. But I also use the old bags that I get rice in from the Chinese grocery store. These are uber strong, some of them have zippers. Some are made of plastic, unfortunately, but not disposable. Others are made out of cotton or burlap. One point I should… Read more »
We use Reclamationgoods hemp and cotton bags (made here in Oregon and available from Mirador Community Store in Portland) for bagging veggies, fruit, grains, flour, and any other dry bulk items. These are available in two different sizes and close with a drawstring. We use them for storing produce in the fridge as well. When the produce in them is used up, they go in the wash. We have several larger canvas, cotton, and hemp bags for carrying groceries, including the smaller bags of grains and produce, that we have been collecting from different sources for years – from co-ops… Read more »

I seem to have quite a collection. I am no fan of Walmart but they do have blue shopping cloth bags for 50cents which is the best deal I have seen. I unload my bags then put them right back in the car for the next time. You have to start every checkout with stating no platic bags please. Well meaning clerks insist vegtables, poultry and ice cream have to be wrapped in plastic.

Male reader here. :)

I probably like my heavy canvas bags from Whole Foods best, because they’re just so darn sturdy. But mostly my stash is a TON of 49-cent “Green Bags” that my old grocery store was selling by the checkout. They’re cheap. They work. You can buy lots of them for almost nothing. You can keep a stash in the car and a stash at home and a few in other places too. They’re generally just handy, and I find it easier not to worry about them because they’re so darn cheap.

Go canvas. I like the Whole Foods bag. Twenty bags a week seems high. Often at our stores they try and bag an item like eggs in a single bag. If I take two of the larger, paper bag sized bags I find that I can get all the groceries in them for my wife and I. I do think two bags are helpful. One for frozen foods, one for fresh fruits and vegetables, mixing dry goods between the two. Often I may have a large item that I don’t bag. I think the LL Bean bags would make a… Read more »

I love’s acme bags. They have a set of four that come in a little sack. You can keep the sack in the car and easily carry it with you. The individual bags are small enough to put one or two into your pocket, and they all have loops to clip on a clip to a keychain. I love them! Also, they fit on the bag racks just like plastic ones while you’re bagging. God luck!

The Baggu is nice because it folds up into a flat 5″ x 5″ square – fits nicely into a pocket. Lightweight, but sturdy. Drawbacks: must be folded (very easy,tho) and storage pouch is not attached, so you have to pay attention and not lose it!

Besides the Baggu I have many bags in a wide variety of types and fabrics which I usually keep in my car.

It’s good to have lots of bags because it’s good to wash them occasionally – I sort of rotate through my collection.

I keep my grocery bags in the trunk of my car in another large bag. I like the big square canvas bags the best because they hold more stuff. I have a Chicobag in my purse for unplanned purchases or as a backup when I run out of bags if I grocery shop at more than one store that day.

My husband uses a Chicobag Sling bag has his work bag/briefcase.

I like the envirosax that my wife bought me while we were dating. I’m not sure what it is made of, but it rolls up small enough to fit into my pocket. It will hold enough weight to go to the farmers market and buy melons.

HE may not carry a purse but the little Chico bag that wads up in itself … with the carabener clip could fit easy on his KEYCHAIN. and can serve as a reminder to bring the others.

Bag habits are hard to break…

My 8 steps to highly effective check outs:

I think ChicoBags are the way to go – they clip onto anything and are so easy to bring everywhere because you can just clip and go. Your dad could clip them to his keys, or to something in his car that he sees a lot, or hang the ChicoBag off a key hook. I love that the bags are so small and can fit anywhere and attach to anything, because it makes forgetting them a non-issue! :)

Good luck!

We just use the ones that you buy at the supermarket and put them by the door when we are through. I also have a flip and tumble bag but seem to never use it. I like the handles on the grocery store bags better.

Good for your Dad!

My favorite are Envirosax. I have been using them faithfully for at least 2 yrs I think. They are very strong and lightweight AND pretty. You can buy them single or as a set of 5 in a pouch. I have a pouch and I think I have 7 crammed in mine. So, the little 9″ x 6″ pouch is hanging by the front door and goes grocery shopping and it’s super easy to keep 1 or 2 loose bags in my bag for everyday. My friend Patti keeps the the whole pouch of 5 in her bag every day… Read more »

For grocery store trips (I shop at a store where I bag my own purchase) I like flat-bottomed bags. They stand up straight when you’re filling them. For other stores, I have a variety of canvas/organic cotton/homemade bags that fit in my purse.

I keep them behind the driver’s seat of the car so they’re always there when I need them. Once you get in the habit of bringing your own bag, it becomes second nature to take one into a store.

I am not a boy, but my purse is too small to carry bags in. We keep chico bags in our glove compartments in our car. I keep my grocery bags in the garage — I guess I forgot them a few times at first, but now I have the habit of throwing them in the car whenever I go grocery shopping. If I unexpectedly end up stopping by the store (grocery or otherwise) for a few items, I use a chico bag. Here’s a post I wrote about bags from that I use for grocery shopping: I’ve… Read more »

It sounds like he forgot that when then bags are empty they stuff down to nearly nothing. So yes, he would have to carry round the 20 bags he’d normally get at the store, but when you go in, they all fit into one bag. Easy peasy.
I don’t have a favourite brand of reusable, one problem I have is they last so long I have to get inventive about justifying the purchase of pretty new ones I see in shops ;-)

Envirosax – I just noticed that Kacie said to avoid them because they’re too long to carry as you would a plastic grocery bag. I have not found this to be the case – as evidenced by 2 of us lugging 3 bags per hand up 3 flights of stairs (just trying to make you feel bad for me). As with everything, personal results may vary.

Hmmm…. well I think that the key is having different bags for different situations. I have a whole pile of them, of every different style and size, so that I can pick the right bag for the right situation. Canvas bags last seemingly forever. I have a half dozen or so that I got at the thrift store about 20 years ago and they’re still going strong. They’re nice because they’re easy to wash and they’re sturdy. But sometimes it’s harder to get them to stand up and stay open while you’re filling them. So I tend to use them… Read more »

I personally like a mix of styles, especially a mix of those with long handles (for over the shoulder) and those with short handles (for in the hands or on the wrists). In fact, I have a couple that I got from REI a few years ago (sadly, no longer available online- maybe in stores?) that have two sets of handles on them- one long set and one short set. These are strong favorites!

L.L.Bean bags are made in Maine and virtually indestructible. I have been using them for years and years.

One piece of advice: REDUNDANCY! Actually, two pieces of advice: USE WHAT’S FREE! REDUNDANCY: My life has no regular routine, so I have difficulty forming regular habits when it comes to things like reusable bags. I forget to take them out to the car when I’ve brought in a load of groceries, so I have several sets of bags: the ones that pile up by the front door get stuffed into which ever bag among them is largest and taken out when ever I remember, another set or two live in my car on the floor behind the front seats… Read more »

One thing my husband has learned, I taught him thanks to watching Living with Ed. There was an episode where he forgot his reusable bags and instead of taking a bag, he took trips back and forth while he hand carried all his groceries to his bike. Many times, a trip to the store is only for a few items and now my husband always remembers that the answer to paper or plastic is “Neither”.

He might want to stay away from Envirosax. I LOVE them but my husband doesn’t appreciate the over the shoulder style of carrying them because it makes him feel like he’s wearing a purse and also apparently the arm hole isn’t quite big enough for a man’s arm with a coat on?? And they’re too long to carry as you would a plastic grocery bag. This might be helpful to remind him to bring them into the store. It’s a free reminder car window cling so yes, is it plastic, but for someone who’s not used to bringing their own… Read more »

Typically the trunk or car door is closed when the last bags are brought in. Just change that, and close the car up once they are put back!

We ended up using a variety of the boxy store brand reusable bags that are all relatively the same size and shape and fold up similarly. Some of them are sturdier materials, or insulated, but our biggest frustration with having many empty bags is having them floating around the house and in 2 vehicles, plus kids and a dog helping to fling, dirty, and scatter them to all ends or unders of car seats (and heaven forbid out the back and lost forever). We love our bags, but value our sanity. Not wanting to buy a plastic container to reign… Read more »

If it’s just a matter of remembering to bring the bags, he could try keeping them where he keeps his wallet/keys (I have a little side table to put things on). I tried to keep mine in the car but always forgot to take them back out after bringing in the groceries.

I have a variety of bags and my favorite is one that I bought at a local craft show, made from a repurposed vinyl sign. Pricey but indestructible and holds a ton. I don’t carry bags in my purse although I do keep a couple in the car for impromptu shopping. Mostly though, what I do is keep the bags on a shelf right below the basket I store my keys and phone in when I come home, so when I am going back out if I am going shopping they are right there to grab. It’s really just a… Read more » I use the above sampler set. I started there and haven’t grown because of other financial obligations that keep us kinda poor right now. :) We are now in the habit of grabbing our bags, but before we didn’t lock down the car until the bags were back and waiting for the next trip in the trunk. The beauty of the starter set is the two smaller black bags fold in on themselves to make a neat compact stowaway. I always have those in my glove box so I can just grab and go when I need a bag… Read more »

All anyone needs are a few fantastic fair-trade made square bottomed (there’s the key to holding a ton), washable bags by RuMe
Be sure to check out their “Macro” bags which are so big you won’t believe it!
I just made custom ones too for the men in my life who haven’t found reusables that make sense to them!

Lisa @Retro Housewife Goes Green

My husband’s favorite bags are the Flip & Tumble bags-
They roll up like a ball and are even maybe slightly easer to stuff than ChicoBags.

My FIL seems to use organic canvas bags from Whole Foods the most.

No need to spend a lot on bags. I get mine from the stores for about .99 cents. I also get them from business expos for free. Your Dad might enjoy going to these as he can get other goodies for free too. The bags then are put in the trunk and, after use, by the door. If I forget them once in the store the groceries go back into the cart and I bag the stuff at the car. After doing that a few times in the rain and snow you remember to bring the bags in with you.
Whatever bags they may be, get him a carabiner, and when he puts away his groceries, he can clip the bags right on to his car key set. The next time he goes out he will not forget his bags, and when he gets in the car he has to unclip them and put the bags on the seat before he starts the motor. I’ve tried hanging them on the doorknob, but even then they become invisible to the family! Another bonus – when the keys are attached to cloth bags, it’s hard to lose your keys down the couch… Read more »

Since it sounds like he’s a car person, getting small bags like chicobags probably doesn’t matter much. Instead, 2 sets of large, sturdy bags big enough for a shopping trip that ‘s a bit larger than average. Ideally the sets should be distinguishable (such as two different colours of bags). This way, if he forgets to bring the bags out after one trip there’s a backup set in the car.

Also, one of the bags that’s designed for wine bottles (with bottle sleeves) would be good if he buys much alcohol.

This is my favorite bag:

It’s strong, light, and has long handles, so you can put it over your shoulder and have your hands free. They *feel* flimsier than some of the other reusable bags out there, but I’ve been using mine for about 6 months, and I load them so that they’re pretty heavy – no troubles so far! I just have to encourage the baggers at the store that yes, they can put more things in there.

I use baskets, either wicker or woven grass. I’ve got at least 4, one in each car and two at home. When shopping I bring the groceries (sans bags) to the car in the shopping cart and then use the baskets to bring the groceries in the house (I admit, I sometimes need to make a few trips!). For short trips to the market, I just grab one basket and go! Admittedly, the use of baskets is very common here in Germany; when I’m home in PA, my mom has a basket set aside for me to use.

Like so many others, we just put all the bags inside another and take them back to the car when we’re done – and I keep some in my purse. Yet, somehow, we ended up without any at the store the other night. What did we do? Well, we carried the stuff in our hands. It always surprises the checkout staff.

I really like the Chicobags because they are big and have their stuff bag attached, but there are lots of great bags out there.

Can you bring a few of yours? A guy friend of mine didn’t like the flip and tumble because they rubbed into his shoulder. I think you can get the reisenthal on a cart if he has a weight restriction. If weights are not an issue, I think my thick canvas Whole Foods bags are best. I’ve had them for years. Don’t forget a few mesh or string bags for produce!
I second (or third) the idea if putting the bags on the door handle. And, maybe a sticker on the car “don’t forget your bags! :)”

We keep bags by the back door of our house and in both vehicles (for those unplanned trips to stores while we’re out doing other things). There is a “training period” where you’ll forget from time to time, but it really does just become habit to grab some bags whenever you leave the house to buy something. He’ll get there!

I also keep 3 Chico like bags in my handbag and a couple in the glove compartment of the car. But we use a lot of the larger bags with handles that we buy at the market and as soon as we empty them we hang them on the door knob of the front door (folded inside each other). So when we leave the house it’s easy to remember to return them to the trunk of the car. While we were still training ourselves, if I forget to bring them into the market I would just keep the groceries in… Read more »

My collection of reusable bags continues to grow. Those sturdy bags are great for gathering up all kinds of things. They include the USO bags and ones in support of native american Indian groups, various stores and farmers markets. With so many around there is always one in the car or hanging by the door knob.

In my car, emergency tools are contained in a reusable grocery bag.

The cloth bags are the best and you will find them to be very handy.

We just have the ones that the grocery store sells. I keep half in my car, hubby keeps half in his. Took a few times before we remembered to bring them in to the store regularly, but I made a deal with myself that if I forgot them, I’d go back out to get them. Helped me to remember, especially when I wasn’t parked near the door. After I’ve emptied them in the house, I hang them on the doorknob to the door to the garage and take them back to my car next time I go out. Hubby puts… Read more »

I keep mine in the car. Once emptied of contents they are hung on the door handle for the next person who goes outside to put back in my car. (I prefer the clothe/canvas ones for farmers markets.)