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?

Thanks!

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


Guest
basyfeltn
2 years 11 months ago

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.  

Guest
Allison Dey
3 years 29 days ago

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.

Guest
Cynthia in Denver
3 years 6 months ago

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.

Guest
3 years 6 months ago

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!

Guest
Robyn
3 years 7 months ago

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 max is 20, as stated on the web site. I am noticing stretched seams on my oldest bags (4 years).
I’d not trust those few for glass jars. They are my leafy produce bags now.
A couple canvas bags for glass containers and a few lighter weight bags can get your dad started, I think.
The most bags I ever used was seven in one trip, but again, not with a car.
When I borrow my partners car, I often pop a cardboard box in the back, unload a few bags after store one, and reuse the bags straight away.

Guest
Succubus
3 years 7 months ago

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:
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.

Guest
Ann
3 years 7 months ago

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.

Guest
3 years 7 months ago

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.

Guest
3 years 7 months ago

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 the car. I did! Thankfully, it has never been raining or too cold.

I have a great assortment of bags that came from schools and universities, espousing all sorts of things, some decorative, some plainish. I don’t mind the neighborhood watch bag from a nearby city or the home decorated ones.

It would be great if all cities implemented any sort of measures to help eliminate plastic bags.

Guest
Tanya
3 years 7 months ago

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 life attitude. So he may only need 2 or 3 bags at most and these could easily fit in his vehicle, I hope.

Guest
Benson Rivera
3 years 7 months ago

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.

Guest
Emma
3 years 7 months ago

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.

Guest
peaJayFish
3 years 7 months ago

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:
http://makeprojects.com/Project/No-Sew-T-Shirt-Bag/849/1
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 of fabric through it. This makes the handles easier to grab and very sturdy. 3. I tend to use heavier cotton T-shirts for sturdiness, so all the ones I make end up with the “two-holes” at the bottom. But instead of using two seperate strings, I just loop one end through as it passes the second hole and tie it tight, making two small holes. The way it twists makes it so there really is no hole at the bottom of the bag. You aren’t putting loose lentils in there anyway.
This is so fun to do! I have made at least one for everyone in my family and my friends. You can ask them for a shirt they like but for some reason don’t wear, or have fun thrifting for one that fits them. My friend told me that more than one cashier has tried to scan her bag, and one told her how cool and well made it was! Did I mention there was no sewing involved?! : )

Guest
Ann
3 years 7 months ago

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.

Guest
Michelle C
3 years 7 months ago

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, they are holding up well, are easy to hand wash (just rinse and hang), and hold a lot. Also, pet hair doesn’t stick to them (important around here!).

Guest
Alison
3 years 7 months ago

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 have held up really well and carry a tonne. Perhaps there is a wicker basket comparison? Bags really do better for department stores though. We have a variety of canvas, fabric , nylon-y and mesh for produce.

One important reminder: WASH your fabric bags. Now that we have an overabundance, we have a separate one for the library, one for shoes, toys etc. This is particularly important if you are storing your bags in the car where they will get hot then cold… I have heard of several studies done on the things that end up growing in your bags.

Guest
3 years 7 months ago

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

Guest
Catherine
3 years 7 months ago

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.

Guest
Heather
3 years 7 months ago

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.

Guest
3 years 7 months ago

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!

Guest
Amy
3 years 7 months ago

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 sizes, styles, and colours.

Guest
roc_phd
3 years 7 months ago

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!

Guest
kanishka
3 years 7 months ago

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 that peopel extol of it. and its not petroleum based either.

the ultimate would be:
-find worn out hemp clothes, possibly at thrift stores or through networking with existing hemp clothes/bag makers, send your favorite worker collective the cloth and have them make the bags. i have had great experiences with circle creations so far.

Guest
tracey
3 years 7 months ago

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. http://ht.ly/7NGEK

Guest
julsie
3 years 7 months ago

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 ago he did the shopping and carefully asked that several items (fish, etc.) be wrapped in paper instead of plastic, then brought everything home in disposable plastic bags.

Guest
3 years 7 months ago

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.

Guest
Gloria
3 years 7 months ago

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 of things we are bringing back.)

This is type of “visual cue” has worked really well, and is actually something I have being doing with the rest of the boys (teenagers) with some success when it comes to other habit-changing desires…

Guest
Ruby
3 years 7 months ago

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.

Guest
3 years 7 months ago

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 as which bags are my favorite… I like to have a variety– canvas, and lightweight bags. I haven’t personally chosen any bags… I got all of mine as gifts! (…and I have to say that “gifted” bags are my favorite!!)

Guest
Annie Waters
3 years 7 months ago

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 that is already in plastic. Besides – Why buy organic food and then put it in plastic? Anyway – look at organicgreensbag.com and let me know if I can help you change your next bag habit!

Guest
3 years 7 months ago

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 by the front door until the next time he goes out to his car. I wish I were as organized about reuseable bags as he is :)

Guest
Yuki
3 years 7 months ago

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! You can put them over your shoes/boots in the closet and then you can’t forget about them the next time you will put your shoes on!

Hope this help!

Guest
Jennifer
3 years 7 months ago

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.

Guest
Clif Brown
3 years 7 months ago

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 tube of Chap-Stick, a tape measure, a small camera, marking pens, a pencil and ballpoint pen and a highlighter.

These bags last for many years and a Velcro flap makes it easy to access everything.

Guest
Rachel
3 years 7 months ago

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: http://www.amazon.com/Chico-Bag-Reusable-Shopping-Ounces/dp/B000OOJPJE

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 trunk works well. My parents, in fact, don’t even bother with this — their grocery stores offer free cardboard boxes, so they just grab boxes when they’re at the store, fill them up, and then take these out to the car.

If your dad walks to do his grocery shopping (though I can’t imagine he does, since he seems to have 20 bags to take home after), a bundle buggy might work instead, which fits much more than a bag (plastic or reusable).

Good luck. Getting folks to change this habit isn’t easy.

Guest
Kaylen
3 years 7 months ago

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.

Guest
Sara M.
3 years 7 months ago

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.

Guest
Roberta Lockwood
3 years 7 months ago

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.

Guest
3 years 7 months ago

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.

Guest
3 years 7 months ago

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 tag. Savvy clerks automatically deduct the tare. Sometimes I have to remind them.

Like many folks commenting before me, I use a combination of bags. I no longer have a vehicle, so cannot comment there, but I do keep my wallet in one of my canvas bags, which also always contains a spare Chico. Since I never leave home without my wallet, I’m never without at least two sturdy bags.

Guest
Peggy
3 years 7 months ago

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.

Guest
3 years 7 months ago

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

Guest
Alina
3 years 7 months ago

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 could reuse the plastic bags he already has. Until he develops the habit.

Guest
3 years 7 months ago

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 suggest, however, toss your bags in the washer once in a while. Otherwise, you are just carrying too much dirt around. I never use produce bags, I just toss the stuff right in the bag, so cleaning the shopping bag regularly is important.

Guest
Ottoline
3 years 7 months ago

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 we have visited abroad, and our own local co-ops. All are washable,and they never seem to wear out. My favourite is a very strong cotton bag with wild birds on it that a friend in Australia sent me. They are all different strengths and have a variety of handle lengths, so we use different bags for different shopping expeditions. We keep them on a hook by the front door so that even at our advanced age, we can’t forget them.

Guest
greg
3 years 7 months ago

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.

Guest
Scott
3 years 7 months ago

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.

Guest
David
3 years 7 months ago

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 nice shopping bag. Sturdy, solid handles, and masculine colors.
One thing to think about is does your dad shop spontaneously or planned. If he plans his shopping trips then a compact bag he always carries would be wasted functionality. For me, even if I stop in quickly it is generally for just a few items. Then I have the motto, “If I can carry it up I can carry it out.”

Guest
Angie LaMunyon
3 years 7 months ago

I love reuseit.com’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!

Guest
Chris Danner
3 years 7 months ago

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.

Guest
3 years 7 months ago

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.

Guest
3 years 7 months ago

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.

Guest
Stephanie C
3 years 7 months ago

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.

Guest
3 years 7 months ago

Bag habits are hard to break…

My 8 steps to highly effective check outs: http://www.kidsaroundcanada.com/blog/2010/03/bag-habits-are-hard-to-break/

Guest
3 years 7 months ago

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!

Guest
3 years 7 months ago

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!

Guest
monkeyjen
3 years 7 months ago

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 (a gift I gave her!). The Envirosax minis have proven very useful to her and I also. It’s good for a lunch or just a small purchase from the store. Here is a plethora

Guest
3 years 7 months ago

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.

Guest
3 years 7 months ago

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 Reuseit.com that I use for grocery shopping:
http://www.eco-novice.com/2011/04/eco-novices-guide-to-reusable-produce.html

I’ve been using these for almost a year and like them all a lot. I esp. like the short and long handles on the cotton and PET bags, although that can make things more complicated at times. They are very sturdy and I love that they are machine washable and made of recycled materials. Bags that stand up on their own (mine don’t) are also nice. I also have some of the cheapy 99 cent reusable bags.

A few tips: always put all your produce bags inside the same shopping bag (hopefully one that looks different from the others) so you can find them easily.
Always put raw meat in the same bag (easily distinguished from the others — I use one of my cheap 99 cent TJ bags), just to prevent any contamination. Stash your bags in the same place after shopping so they are easy to find.

Good luck!

Guest
Stella Richardson
3 years 7 months ago

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 ;-)

Guest
monkeyjen
3 years 7 months ago

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.

Guest
3 years 7 months ago

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 mostly when I do a big shopping run and go through the real check out as opposed to the self check out.

Then there are the different kinds of handles. Unless I’m doing a big run, I generally walk to the store, so for that I usually bring a few with long handles to sling over my shoulder and a few with short handles to carry down by my legs. I even bought one that had wheels and was designed to pull behind you – but it turns out it’s an ergonomic disaster so I wouldn’t recommend it.

Then there are the bottoms. Square bottoms are nice for square items like boxes etc… and the ones with a hard panel in the bottom are nice for heavy stuff. But I find the round bottom ones work better with big bags of fruit and stuff like that.

In terms of where to keep them… I hang them with my jackets and at this point it’s just second nature to grab them before I go shopping. But if he’s the type of person who just stops by the store when he’s out doing other things, it’s better to keep them in the car. I keep a stash there too.

All in all, I probably have about twice as many bags as I generally use at once – but it just makes it easier to make sure I’ve always got one when I need one. I actually carry a canvas bag with pockets in lieu of a purse, so I keep a few bags there all the time… I wonder if the stuffable kind would fit in the pockets of his jackets?

I guess I’d say that he’s probably going to have to come up with his own system, and it may take a while – but I generally don’t consider it to be a tragedy if I forget them… it’s just an opportunity to buy a new one, and I tend to use it as a chance to try out a different style of bag.

Guest
B
3 years 7 months ago

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!

Guest
Ginny
3 years 7 months ago

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

Guest
3 years 7 months ago

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 or in the trunk. This way I’m never without. For groceries I’ll grab a whole bag full of bags to take in. For lighter shopping I just grab one or two and tuck them between the handles of my purse. When at my most organized, I use mesh bags compact to fit in a pocket.

USE WHAT’S FREE! I’m not a big fan of purchasing brand new bags unless, like the Chico Bags, they’re specially designed to be compact. We still have bags from the original green movement of in the 1970s, along with newer free ones from % off “bag sale” store promotions. The ones I’ve purchased have been as vacation souvenirs or from fundraisers. Back in the late 1980s, I cut up an old flowered bed sheet I hated and sewed bags from this. Really got strange looks at the grocery store as no one was using reusable bags at the time.

Guest
Kacie
3 years 7 months ago

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 bags, it may “pay” for itself in plastic saved if that makes any sense.
http://www.conservingnow.com/content/get-free-static-window-cling-your-car

Guest
Melissa
3 years 7 months ago

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 them in, we keep folded stacks neatly tucked into cardboard boxes of a good fit, boxes slated to be recycled anyway, but repurposed (hey, you could go all out trendy and “upcycle” that box, cover or decorate it so it’s not a baby wipes or soup can box, but for something tossed in the trunk of a car or garage like we do….eh, why bother.)

Guest
smalllife
3 years 7 months ago

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.

Guest
Julie
3 years 7 months ago

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 matter of creating a new habit. He can do it!

Guest
Hawk
3 years 7 months ago

http://www.reuseit.com/store/reuseit-reusable-shopping-sampler-p-787.html

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 unexpectedly.

Good luck to your dad!!!

Guest
3 years 7 months ago

All anyone needs are a few fantastic fair-trade made square bottomed (there’s the key to holding a ton), washable bags by RuMe http://t.co/9ZOIoUrp
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!

Guest

My husband’s favorite bags are the Flip & Tumble bags- http://www.flipandtumble.com/
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.

Guest
Anne Weber-Falk
3 years 7 months ago

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.

Guest
Sunny Yukon
3 years 7 months ago

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 cushions as my husband does regularly!

Guest
Val
3 years 7 months ago

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.

Guest
Kelly
3 years 7 months ago

This is my favorite bag:
http://www.reuseit.com/store/reuseit-bamboo-tote-p-1575.html

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.

Guest
3 years 7 months ago

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”.

Guest
Eileen
3 years 7 months ago

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.

Guest
3 years 7 months ago

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.

Guest
3 years 7 months ago

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!

Guest
3 years 7 months ago

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! :)”

Guest
3 years 7 months ago

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!

Guest
Sherri
3 years 7 months ago

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 the cart and bag them at the car.

Guest
Ted Pusillo
3 years 7 months ago

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.

Guest
Heather
3 years 7 months ago

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 them back in his car right away.

Guest
Jenifer
3 years 7 months ago

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.)