We all want to help the environment, but sometimes, giving up the daily conveniences we’ve come to rely on — like the plastic bags we use for groceries — can be tough. Unless, of course, you have an assortment of reusable grocery bags in your arsenal!
While you could just stock up on the options found in your local supermarket’s checkout line, there are plenty far more stylish and functional options out there to be found with a bit of savvy shopping. We’ve gone ahead and done the research for you, scouting out the best of the bunch to fit your unique grocery needs.
Why are plastic bags so bad for the environment?
We get it: The last thing you want to think about when crossing the chore of grocery shopping off your ever-growing to-do list is grab a bunch of totes to bring with you. But single-use plastic bags affect our environment in a lot of negative ways.
For starters, they’re made from non-renewable resources, such as crude oil, petroleum, and natural gas, according to One Green Planet, which means they requires a large amount of energy to manufacture and transport to your local grocery store.
Even if you reuse them (say, for picking up after Fido on your daily walk), disposing of them becomes an equally large issue. Plastic bags don’t break down in landfills, and, over time, they release dangerous chemicals, impacting our environment and the air we breathe.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, they also often end up in our oceans, which means that wildlife can be negatively affected if they ingest or get caught in the material.
In an effort to help minimize this environmental issue, eight states, including Connecticut, California, and New York, have begun banning single-use plastic bags by imposing a tax upon those who choose to use paper bags in lieu of plastic.
That means snagging a few alternative, reusable options for your stash has never been a more attractive idea.
How to Choose the Best Reusable Grocery Bag
There are a ton of amazing eco-friendly options out there to fit your individual needs, whether you’re shopping for a large family and need a bunch of sturdy, sizable picks, or simply picking up some produce and veggies at the local farmer’s market.
Ultimately, choosing one you’ll feel comfortable with and actually want to carry around is key when considering material (nylon vs. plastic) and style. If you want to be extra eco-conscious, buying a reusable grocery bag that’s made from recycled materials, like this Planet E pick ($24.99, Amazon), which is made from old plastic bottles, is a great idea.
We’ve rounded up a selection of top picks you’re sure to love regardless of your grocery shopping style. Scroll through for Woman’s World’s picks for the best reusable grocery bags.
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Best Foldable Grocery Bag
Scout Errand Boy Tote Bag
Where to buy: $55, Amazon
Available in three fun prints, this tote is large enough to fit at least three standard size grocery bags inside, so you won’t need to worry about juggle multiple bags — it does all the heavy lifting for you! Made from water-resistant woven polypropylene (a type of plastic), it’s also suitable for all weather conditions, making it sturdy enough to handle any errands you may have in mind. It features a zipper closure, a heavy-duty shoulder strap for easy carrying, and folds flat for storage in your trunk, pantry, or drawers.
Best Reusable Grocery Cart Bag
Olympia Rolling Shopper Tote
Where to buy: $37.65, Amazon
Grocery shopping in a city is no easy feat — especially if you rely on mass transit or live in a walk-up that will require you to lug your loot for long distances. This rolling tote is the answer to all your shopping woes, allowing you to get your goodies from the store to your home with ease. You’ll love its comfortable, retractable handle, easy access side pockets, and wheels that glide effortlessly, leaving no scuffs or marks on your floors when you’re on-the-go. Choose from nine fun, vibrant prints.
Best Resuable Burlap Bag
Now Designs Burlap Market Tote
Where to buy: $23.99, Amazon
When you want something that’s not only practical but also chic, look no further than this burlap tote, which will look cute with any outfit as you hit the ground running for your weekly shopping essentials. With a stiff base to keep your items secure and a large inner pocket for your keys, wallet, phone, or any other must-haves, you’ll want to take it everywhere you go. And, since it just requires a quick wipe to keep clean, there’s truly no reason why you can’t.
Best Insulated Reusable Grocery Bag
NZ Home Insulated Grocery Bags
Where to buy: From $17.99, Amazon
If you’re the kinda chef that loves bringing home a hot rotisserie chicken for dinner on busy weekday nights, but want to ensure your food stays warm and fresh during your commute, you’ll want to keep this two-pack of insulated totes on hand for your next supermarket run. Available in three sizes (medium, large, and extra large), these bags come with a dual-slide zipper, sturdy, reinforced handles, and an extra-strength thermal interior that will not get your groceries home, they'll maintain necessary temperatures.
Best Chillable Grocery Bag
Packit Grocery Shopping Tote
Where to buy: From $24.99, Amazon
When you need to keep your groceries as cold as possible before you can get them stowed away in the fridge or freezer, these soft-sided totes by Packit are just the ticket. When folded up and placed in your freezer overnight, the soft gel insulation that's built directly into the base of these bags will activate, allowing you to keep food and beverages safely chilled for hours on end. What's more, they feature a dual shoulder-length handle and a zipper to lock in cold air, making this the ideal tote for your perishables — even during the most sweltering of summer days.
Best Collapsible Grocery Bag
Planet E Recycled Reusable Grocery Bags
Where to buy: $24.99, Amazon
Using reusable bags to help reduce your carbon footprint is a great start, but why not up the ante by making sure that the bags you are using are made of recycled materials? These large collapsible totes are made from old plastic bottles and feature a structured base and a thick carrying strap. They come in packs of two or three, and they’re big enough for your superstore runs and those all-too-important bulk purchases.
One recent reviewer raved about her purchase, writing, “These are great! Whenever I go to the grocery store, the baggers always say how much they love these bags. They are sturdy and hold lots of groceries ... My daughter-in-law told me about these. If you want reusable bags, get these. You won’t be disappointed.” We’re sold!
Best Reusable Cotton Bag
JM-Capricorns Net Produce Bags
Where to buy: From $11.99, Amazon
Coming in a convenient pack of four or six bags, this set of sturdy, mesh produce bags are the best eco-friendly option for your trips to the farmer’s market, letting you stash your fresh fruits and veggies without collecting dirt, leaves, and debris as you travel. Made of 100 percent cotton, they're machine washable and expand to hold up to 40 pounds. When not in use, they're also super compact, with reviewers noting that they fit comfortably in your pants or coat pocket.
Best Reusable Grocery Bag Set
Lotus Trolley Bags
Where to buy: $35.99, Amazon
Gone are the days of haphazard checkout runs that end with bread at the mercy of all those cans and boxes just waiting to squash it. This four-pack of heavy-duty bags from Lotus, which are designed to hold up to 50 pounds each, come with hanging rods that will fit right inside most standard shopping carts, so you can easily divide up your loot. There are even designated holders for wine bottles and egg cartons, along with a separate cooler bag, making the loading and unloading process a breeze.
Best Compact Reusable Grocery Bags
Earthwise Reusable Grocery Bags
Where to buy: $13.49, Amazon
Storing your reusable totes shouldn’t mean sacrificing a ton of space in your car, pantry, or kitchen, and these boxy carryalls from Earthwise, which come six to a pack, make for the perfect solution. Both well-built and compact — especially when folded flat after use — they can easily be wiped clean thanks to the laminated polypropylene material. With nearly 500 five-star reviews, you also can’t beat the price.
Best Reusable Grocery Bag Storage
BagPodz Reusable Shopping Bags
Where to buy: From $22.84 (Originally $29.99), Amazon
Convenience is key for busy ladies on-the-go, and a reusable bag won't do you much good if you can't find it when you need it. This genius design from BagPodz not only comes with a set of 5 or 10 bags, there's a zippered storage pouch for stashing them in one easy, go-to spot. You can also clip the pouch to your purse or cart for easy travel. As for the bags themselves, which come in a variety of colors, they're made from a machine washable, water-resistant nylon and can hold up to 50 pounds each.
Best Reusable Canvas Grocery Bag
Colony Co. Reusable Grocery Bag
Where to buy: $28, Amazon
This waxed canvas tote reminds us of the most luxe paper bag we’ve ever seen. Unlike traditional paper bags, however, spills, leaks, and rips will be a thing of the past with this super durable pick. It's stain resistant, easy to clean, and stands up on its own. The canvas material is also vegan-friendly, making it an extra great choice for helping to protect our wildlife and the environment.
One recent buyer called it a “must-have grocery getter,” writing, “I always get compliments on this bag. It looks good and is functional. It’s spacious and has enough structure that it’s comfortable to carry and doesn’t tip over in the car.”
Most Stylish Reusable Grocery Bag
Baggu Reusable Shopping Bag
Where to buy: $12, Amazon
Coming in a slew of pretty patterns and prints, this machine washable bag, which is made of 100 percent nylon, was practically made for the style-conscious grocery shopper. It holds up to 50 pounds with ease, and is still lightweight enough that you won’t feel bogged down by slinging it over your shoulder.
More than 800 five-star reviewers can’t be wrong: Wrote one happy purchaser, “The first one I've owned for [more than five] years and I've never lost or damaged the pouch. These bags fold up so small, both easily fit in my purse, and I always have them on me. ... I treat my Baggu bags differently, maybe because I think they're more aesthetically pleasing, and like taking the time to fold them up and pop them back in my purse.”