How to Get a Grip on your Shopping Bags

shopping bag

Do you want to know what I dislike more than grocery shopping? Coming home with more grocery bags. Plastic or paper, it doesn’t matter. I just don’t reuse all those bags, and the piles keep stacking up. So I started searching for some clever reusable and recycling grocery bag ideas, and I’m passing this information on to you. Who knows, with all these ideas, one of us might just become the worlds best “bag lady”


  • Most stores will sell canvas or mesh bags for ecologically friendly advertising purposes. You can also find plain bags, or bags with silk-screened designs at other retail outlets (music stores come to mind.)
  • Some specialty shops (like


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9 Responses to How to Get a Grip on your Shopping Bags

  1. A Marino says:

    My son and his wife take the plastic bags along when they are walking their dog and use the bag as a pooper scooper. Less mess and easy throw-away.

    I have a long tubular holder that holds plastic bags. You just stuff them in the tube as you get them. This is a great help in the kitchen when you have to dispose of something.

    I also use the bags to go outside and pick some weeds. The bags are smaller and easier to carry around when you’re weeding smaller areas.

  2. Karen says:

    I keep a couple of canvas laundry baskets in the trunk of my car (the kind that fold flat when not in use, so they don’t take up room when I need the trunk). They are the perfect size to hold grocery bags. It makes it so much easier to take my groceries in from the car, and I don’t necessarily have to use plastic bags at all, since I can put the items straight from the cart into the basket in my trunk. (I still get a few plastic bags, since I use them as trash liners and for cleaning up after my pets.)

  3. Hilary says:

    As you mentioned, the local grocery in my mom’s town gives a discount if you bring your own bags. It was such a nice surprise! I think local groceries are more likely to offer discounts than big chains (at least in her case this was true).

  4. baselle says:

    Now for ways to get rid of the plastic bags the newspaper comes in. You need them in Seattle this time of year, but those bags come daily.

  5. Susanne says:

    Hi Ann, a fun post and some great ideas for reusing those pesky bags. I wanted to let your readers know about a great reusable shopping bag option, HERO BAGS. Hero Bags are eco-friendly canvas shopping bags designed to replace a paper shopping bag. You can check them out at: Thanks Susanne

  6. Romy says:

    I found that my huge plastic grocery bag collection came in handy when I was looking for a way to stuff a poofy balloon valance. They were perfect, and it used up MANY of them! Also, when I get too many bags, I donate them to a local thrift store. Often you can find small shops that need bags.

  7. debbie says:

    I run a food pantry in Chicago and we always need plastic bags to give out to our clients to take their food home in. If you are in Chicago consider dropping off your plastic bags at the Common Pantry 3744 N. Damen any Wednesday from 10 am until 8 pm. Food donations welcome too. learn more about us at

  8. Jo says:

    Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! Thank you, Susanne, for posting the link to the herobags website. I bookmarked this so I can order more canvas bags.

    I have been a long-time user of canvas bags. It all started when my ex and I were stationed overseas and lived in stairwell housing back in the early 90s. Climbing up two flights of stairs with paper bags full of groceries could get arduous and really hard on the low back. So, I solved this problem by purchasing the canvas bags at the military base exchange.

    The baggers at the commissary always complimented the practical aspect of these bags, especially since I lined each bag with a paper sack to keep the bag upright. With this method, I had solved three problems: The environmental impact, the impact it had on the health of my back and practicality by being able to bring up more than two bags at a time.

    My biggest pet peeve at the large stores is when they put one item in each of several bags. It’s to the point that I tell them I will pack my own. Imagine the funny looks I get when I pack safe non-food items with boxes food items. It isn’t rocket science, folks. A box of envelopes and a box of cake mix will not become caustic if they both become damaged.

  9. Pingback: Grocery Bags Should Be Free! - Blog

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