Reusable Grocery Bags - Small enough for your pocket or purse

Get greener with folding grocery bags - an excellent Christmas stocking stuffer idea!

Here in Maryland, we're being charged $.05 for every paper or plastic grocery bag we use in a store after January 1, 2012 so reusable grocery bags are flying off the shelves.

If you're anything like me (and, on a lot of levels, I hope you're not...for your own sake...), you might fill your car with reusable grocery bags with the best of intentions. Yes, I know...something about the road to hell....

Read more about the paper and plastic bag laws for each individual state: The retail bags report - list of retail bag laws in the US.

Anyway, I almost always forget to bring these reusable fabric grocery bags into a store with me! In the trunk or back seat is where these folding shopping bags remain..ostensibly forever. I even have some reusable grocery bags stored in my glove box and trunk, and I still forget them!

If I don't change my ways, a trip to the grocery store and the Chinese market where I load up on vegetables is going to cost me approximately $1.00 a week, and that doesn't include trips to the local mall where single use bags will also be taxed.

All told, I'll probably use around 30 paper or plastic bags a week which adds up to $1.50 per week. Now, that might not seem like much to you but it adds up quick - I'll spend an additional $78 a year just to tote my purchases home.

Let's not forget to mention the impact on our environment of using greener grocery bags - much less paper and plastic headed to our landfills.

So, that's why I started to research folding grocery bags small enough to fit in my pocket or purse. I've come to determine that I need to have grocery shopping bags that are attached to my person - either hanging from a wrist or, more preferable, folding grocery bags which can fit in my jeans pocket. I know it's not the most mature of decisions but it just has to be. Otherwise, I just forget them.

I've found what I think are the best reusable grocery bags which can be folded into a small package. One of these folding grocery totes even folds up into a strawberry. How cute is that? In fact, a strawberry folding shopping bag would be an ideal present for Valentine's Day - perhaps not the sexiest Valentine's Day gift ever but it sure would be welcome in my sorry little world...perfect for a Mother's Day gift also but I'd suggest filling it with a piece of nice jewelry or two...

Click that link in the text above to see these fun Strawberry folding grocery bags - they fold up into a strawberry shape!
See all 2 photos
Click that link in the text above to see these fun Strawberry folding grocery bags - they fold up into a strawberry shape!

The Reisenthel Collapsible Bag

The coolest reusable grocery bag ever!

I just bought this Reisenthel Market Baket yesterday when I found it on Amazon.com! It's exactly the same size as those little carry around grocery totes in the grocery store which I think is just perfect for a quick trip to the grocery store or, even better, I'll be sportin' this thing at farmer's markets this coming summer. With an aluminum frame, this little basket will hold its shape and not squish a loaf of bread. It also collapses down for storage. This is a must have reusable grocery tote if you ask me.

Update: 26FEB13 - I received my Reisenthel Collapsible Grocery Tote last week; need I say that it hasn't left my side? I'm actually thinking of taking this on a plane for my next trip to Arizona. I think it will fit right under the seat and would make getting items in and out so much easier than the tote bag I normally carry. This reusable grocery tote is just a class act!

Update 18MAR13 - Well, when pitted against the front seat of a Mercedes, my poor Reisenthel bag couldn't hold up to the pressure. I had it on the floor board of the front passenger seat when I put the seat forward to load a suitcase into the back seat. On my car, if you lift a lever to move the seat, it automatically goes forward and, evidently doesn't stop, even when crushing my poor bag (good to know! At least my dog wasn't down there!). Anyway, I was so saddened by this event that I gave my beautiful Reisentel to an elderly neighbor to use (it's still quite functional - just a bit bent) and bought another one yesterday. Lesson learned. This bag is collapsible...

Click the link there to the left to see this beautiful set of reusable grocery bags in their glory.
See all 2 photos
Click the link there to the left to see this beautiful set of reusable grocery bags in their glory.

Envirosax 5 bag sets

Reusable bags with flair

Envirosax reusable grocery bags are among the leaders on Amazon.com. Reviewers like the wide shoulder straps and the fun prints on these Envirosax bags. Reviewers also comment that these bags hold up well, hold about 4 grocery bags worth of goods, and can be thrown right in the washing machine without any fuss. Envirosax takes great pride in the fact that these reusable grocery totes are printed "using vegetable and soy based dyes which are environmentally friendly." If you're going 'green', there's no greener reusable grocery bags out there.

Edit: 2FEB13 - I bought this set of 5 reusable grocery totes and couldn't be happier with them. They're extremely sturdy - much sturdier than cheaper bags. I think, in the long run, these grocery bags will be well worth the additional cost.

A poll about paying for paper or plastic bags

reusable grocery bags
reusable grocery bags

I'm always curious about the opinions of my readers. Please participate in the poll below so I know which side you're on.

How do you feel about having a tax imposed on paper or plastic bags?

  • I think it stinks - the bags are already too flimsy and almost always break anyway
  • I think it's necessary - we should all do our part to save the earth
  • I'm indifferent as I don't live in Maryland or a state that taxes paper or plastc bags
See results without voting

This pocket shopping bag is a perfect way to shop 'green'

Pun fully intended....

Reviewers on Amazon.com love this little frog shopping bag - they note that the material, though, does not seem as heavy as they expected but, they also note that, for the price, it's a good buy. They also note that this small folding shopping bag goes easily back into it's frog pouch when not used.

Single Envirosax reusable grocery bags

If you don't need a set of five Envirosax, here's singles on Amazon.com. Although these are not cheap reusable grocery bags, they will last you forever. And, they wash up really well - I've washed mine at least five times since I got them in February; they come out perfect!

These Envirosax reusable sacks also come in a lot of different patterns. They're quite attractive.

Another set of highly touted large, pocket-sized , collapsible shopping bags

The b.b.begonia bags have excellent reviews on Amazon.com. Any of these would be a great Mother's Day gift but, remember, fill it with jewelry! These fold up shopping bags are quite easy to refold also; there will not be any cussing when folding them away for storage.

Some of the 'Trendiest' Reusable Grocery Totes Around

These Trendy Shopping Tote Bags open up to be 15x15 which is pretty good size. Some of these bags have clips so you can attach them right to your purse - no more leaving your reusable grocery bags in the car (unless you forget your purse - it's happened, trust me....).

These shopping totes are made of 250 D Polyester fabric which the manufacturer states is thicker and tougher when compared to similar reusable grocery baskets.


Flip and Tumble reusable grocery tote

This reusable grocery bag is big and stretchy! Measuring in at 12x14x5, this stretch grocery tote has long handles - 26" long! Stuff it as full as you can and, when you're done, roll it back up into a little ball about the size of a peach. This is the perfect grocery tote to throw in the glove box of a car or keep in the trunk for weekend yard sales.

Blue Q Shopper Hummingbird

One of my favorite reusable shopping totes, this hummingbird tote is large (measures 16-Inch wide by 15-Inch high by 6-Inch deep). Take it along when buying your bird supplies.

One of the nicest things about this reusable shopping tote is that 1% of the sale will be donated to The Nature Conservatory. So, while you're doing something nice for the environment (not using plastics which fill landfills, you're also donating to a very worthwhile organization.

Blue Q Hummingbird Shopper
Blue Q Hummingbird Shopper

This nylon shopping bag is a perfect Christmas, birthday, or Mothers' Day gift for that special someone in your life. Made of sturdy nylon, this reusable bag will withstand years of wear and tear. Perfect for the bird lover.

 

5 (count 'em: FIVE!) Eco-Friendly Nylon Fold-Up Shopping Bag Set

Each of these large reusable grocery totes holds up to 25 lbs although I've stuffed them WAY over that amount.

Bundle Monster New Chic Eco-Friendly Design Reusable Foldable Shopping Tote Bag - 5 Pack
Bundle Monster New Chic Eco-Friendly Design Reusable Foldable Shopping Tote Bag - 5 Pack

These fold so small that they're easy to keep in your glove box or purse. These bags are made of nylon and are very puncture and tear resistant. I love the individual storage bags they come in - I always have a reusable grocery tote with me now!

 

Eco Shopping Bag - 5 Foldable Rose Set - For the rose lover in your family

Everyone loves roses, even if they're adorning an eco friendly shopping bag. And, the fact that there are 5 foldable rose shopping bags means that you'll have plenty of space when you go on a shopping spree.

Eco Shopping Bag - 5 Foldable Rose Set
Eco Shopping Bag - 5 Foldable Rose Set

These beautiful eco shopping bags hold around 20 lbs each (that's a lot!) and measure 15-1/2" W X 15-1/2" H.

 

 Last updated on September 29, 2014

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Got paper or plastic? - Please leave me comments 33 comments

JanieceTobey profile image

JanieceTobey 2 years ago Level 2 Commenter

I love the idea of reusable bags that are small enough to put in my purse!


DreamsBloom profile image

DreamsBloom 2 years ago Level 1 Commenter

When I had canvas tote bags that I kept in my car...I'd forget to bring them into the store. When I got a bag that I could put in my purse (it's really neat and like some of the ones you've shown here)...I'd forget it was there until after I left the store. But I think re-usable bags are a good idea. I don't like the idea of being taxed for paper or plastic bags though or otherwise being "gently forced" to go green. It should be a personal choice.


DreamsBloom profile image

DreamsBloom 2 years ago Level 1 Commenter

When I had canvas tote bags that I kept in my car...I'd forget to bring them into the store. When I got a bag that I could put in my purse (it's really neat and like some of the ones you've shown here)...I'd forget it was there until after I left the store. But I think re-usable bags are a good idea. I don't like the idea of being taxed for paper or plastic bags though or otherwise being "gently forced" to go green. It should be a personal choice.


gottaloveit2 profile image

gottaloveit2 2 years ago Hub Author

@DreamsBloom: I firmly agree, Blooms. I too think it should be a personal choice but, alas, not so much in Maryland.


Deadicated LM profile image

Deadicated LM 2 years ago

I use both, I bought bags from Trader Joe's; when I forget to bring them, I use the plastic bags for garbage bags or brown paper bags for arts & craft projects.


Scarlettohairy profile image

Scarlettohairy 2 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. Level 3 Commenter

Great lens! I didn't know some states charge for bags! What is this world coming too!? But I'm like you, I have reusable bags but NEVER take them in with me. These foldable grocery bags make a lot of sense!


mantuamom profile image

mantuamom 2 years ago

Reusable Bags are GREAT! I started using them over a year ago. I use them to carry snacks for the kids, soccer equipment, pool toys, coats in the mall (who wants to carry your kids coats all day!), you name it. They are also great as gift bags. And the best thing is they don't fall apart, are comfortable to carry even your heaviest groceries, and you can fit 3 plastic bags worth in 1 canvas bag. Some stores give you credit for using bags AND you're helping the environment. LOVE IT!


anonymous 2 years ago

enjoyed your awareness for all of us doing our part to save our planet by cleaning up after our lazy selves!


JoshK47 2 years ago

My goodness, never seen ones that fold up to be THAT tiny. Great lens!


norma-holt profile image

norma-holt 2 years ago Level 4 Commenter

I have used a pull along trolly for shopping for years. Don't need any bags and it is easy to just lift it into and out of the boot. Have made some small cloth bags for putting loose items in, such as tomatoes, bananas, etc. but I am plastic and paper free and have been for that long. Never forget my bags either as they store in the front pocket of the trolley. This is a great reminder for people to do the right thing. *Blessed* and featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2012.


ChrissLJ profile image

ChrissLJ 2 years ago

A year ago, Hallmark sent me a $5 gift card. (I have no clue as to why since I only shop there every two or three years.) I found the PERFECT grocery basket on sale for about $7... normally about $20. I love the thing as it will hold the equivalent of about 3 plastic bags of groceries... or enough groceries for me for several days. I also use it to tote around library books, deliver stuff to neighbors, etc. Best $2 I ever spent. Plus most of the stores where I shop give me a 5 cent discount for every bag they don't have to provide for me. The basket's already paid for itself... many times over.


Virginia Allain profile image

Virginia Allain 2 years ago from Central Florida Level 4 Commenter

Yep, I keep forgetting my shopping bags in the car. It was in Canada that I first experienced the extra charge for a paper or plastic bag & I thought it was a great idea.

In Australia, you had to pay 25 cents to get a shopping cart. When you put the shopping cart back in the rack afterwards you got your 25 cents back. You can be sure there were no stray carts littering the parking lot. Sometimes they have to hit us in the pocketbook to get our attention and make us behave responsibly.


AngryBaker 2 years ago

In Germany you have to buy your grocery bags if you forget yours.. no one thinks twice, and most everyone remembers to bring along shopping bags or a basket. The same with the carts... you insert a euro, and get it back when you return the cart. Seems to me, that if these things are implemented, people will adjust (after a fuss... but then adjust) after all, we wear seat belts now, put kids in car seats, wear bicycle helmets, and take our shoes off at the airport.


Pam Irie profile image

Pam Irie 2 years ago from Land of Aloha Level 3 Commenter

On Maui, plastic shopping bags have been banned. Oahu is getting ready to follow suit shortly. I really like the first set of bags you've featured. Great deal and handy!


Pam Irie profile image

Pam Irie 2 years ago from Land of Aloha Level 3 Commenter

On Maui, plastic shopping bags have been banned. Oahu is getting ready to follow suit shortly. I really like the first set of bags you've featured. Great deal and handy!


Helene-Malmsio 2 years ago

I use a couple of these that I keep in my bag at all times -- they are so handy and take up hardly any space!


Franksterk profile image

Franksterk 2 years ago from California

Our fair city's new ordinance against "single use" plastic bags (grocery bags) is about to go into effect so I'm thinking about alternative bags and using my canvas bags more than ever. For my girlfriend's birthday this coming Monday, I bought one of those bags that folds up and closes with a snap. I also got a gift certificate for Amazon.com and stuck it in an envelop inside the bag so the bag acts as the wrapping paper. I think she'll like it. Excellent lens. Bear hugs, Frankster


antoniow 2 years ago

Fantastic lens, nicely done


casquid profile image

casquid 2 years ago

I shop a lot with my daughter at Sam's or Costco. They don't use bags, but your lens is a great idea for smaller trips.


LaraineRoses profile image

LaraineRoses 2 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

I have started to make my own bags. Just string bags but my husband says that they have been using them in Europe for many years. They are not as cute as the strawberry ones here. Those would make a great gifts!


marsha32 2 years ago

I am trying to remember to take my reusable bags shopping with me. We are over run with the plastic bags! I have a bunch of them cut to crochet into reusable bags, just need to get busy and get them made.


bossypants profile image

bossypants 22 months ago from America's Dairyland

You have to pay a fee? That stinks! But, it did inspire you to write a really great lens on foldable bags! :) You totally hooked me with the strawberry ones. I'll be back to browse some more and I think I may have to have a few of these.


CCGAL profile image

CCGAL 22 months ago

Austin has just passed a ruling that stores can't give out flimsy bags ... so now it's bring your own or buy heavy bags while you're there. I must own 50 various shopping bags, but they never seem to be with me when I am shopping, so the idea of roll up bags that will fit in your purse is very appealing to me.


anonymous 21 months ago

You made reusable shopping bags fun here and you sure did the leg work and left no stone unturned in your search to find something for everyone....even a "recipe" for instant scrambled eggs, lol! I sure don't shop much anymore but order my groceries delivered for a very small fee...they do the shopping and deliver right to my door and saving me a lot of energy and I feel like I'm getting a surprise each time. You have me wondering if Cosco would consider using reusable bags for their deliveries. :)


BarbaraCasey profile image

BarbaraCasey 21 months ago from St. Petersburg, Florida Level 3 Commenter

Wow... I just moved into an apartment and you just solved a huge problem for me. I've got the plastic collapsible wheeled carrier for getting groceries from car to door (when I remember to put it in the car), but have been using plastic bags, not reusable. The set of 5 looks ideal for what I need.


Rosanna Grace profile image

Rosanna Grace 21 months ago

I love the envirosax and use them for so many purposes! Similar laws were introduced to our state in AU about 6 years ago. It is a pity on some levels as the bags already in use were earth-friendly and many of us lined our kitchen bins with them. Now we have to buy the same things, to use as bin liners.


Cynthia Haltom profile image

Cynthia Haltom 20 months ago

Reusable is the way to go for anything you can


geosum profile image

geosum 19 months ago

I live in Montgomery County in MD and usually remember to take a bag into the store when I shop. It's a good habit & I do it in other states as well.


kindoak profile image

kindoak 19 months ago Level 1 Commenter

Anything re-usable gets my thumbs up! Good incentive lens.


norma-holt profile image

norma-holt 19 months ago Level 4 Commenter

Priced plastic is a deterrent and I have my own little bags made from material that fit nicely into the pocket of my shopping trolley. They are in different sizes and the material is very light weight and easy enough for anyone to make. I rarely have to take plastic carry bags from shops these days. Great lens and love the ideas you put into it.


mariacarbonara profile image

mariacarbonara 18 months ago

Always finding great stuff on your lenses. Trunk organisers make so much sense for stopping the groceries flying around in the car!


SteveKaye profile image

SteveKaye 16 months ago from Placentia, CA, USA Level 3 Commenter

Great idea. I have a collection of cloth bags that I use all the time. These bags are strong and reusable.


Im2keys profile image

Im2keys 14 months ago

We take our own bags here as well, and I'm always looking for new and better grocery bags- great lens!

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