Day 8: Reusable Totes and Produce Bags

All posts in the series linked at the end of the post.

I always like to start with a little perspective, so today is no different. Between 500 million to 1 trillion plastic bags end up in landfills in one year on average. Seriously, doing research for this series is really bringing my spirits down :( I can't believe this number!

And nowadays this is so avoidable! Do they charge you for plastics bags when you go shopping? They do here, and seriously I am so glad they do this!! Most grocery stores do. I just wish more stores would implement this, or at least ask you if you want a bag. Most of the time, I can do without, but I forget to tell them and they've already packed the bag up. Most of the bags we end up with are from the Dollarama :( And they double bag when it's the least bit heavy :( :(

Bringing your own reusable bags to the store is one of the simplest ways to be greener. You can find some in just about any stores, and they are very affordable.

So it seems like this post is rather long, despite my efforts to split it. I'm covering 4 things: 1) Reusable bags and totes, some you can buy and some tutorials for you to make your own. 2) produce bags, for those who want to take it one step further. 3) Tips for remembering to bring them with you!! 4) How to reuse the plastic bags you already have. Feel free to jump to whichever section you want :)

Here are a few nice reusable bags I spotted on Amazon:

Cotton canvas, 5 bags 25$ here Non-woven polypropylene, 5 pack 11$ Non-woven polypropylene foldable bags, 6 for 14$

I like that they are plain, wish mine were this plain, I'd love to do a fun stencil on them!

The most common place to bring your reusable bags is the grocery store, but don't stop there! Bring them everywhere! When you go clothes shopping, when you go to home stores, everywhere and anywhere!!

They have some that are a bit more flexible and foldable, and less grocery bag like. I need some of these! I feel so silly with my grocery totes when I go clothes shopping. For example:

Foldable shopping bags, 6 pack 20$ Strawberry foldable bag, 5.59$ each Chico Bags foldable, 4 pack 21$

But since this is still a creative blog, I'd like to highlight some tutorials and patterns if you're feeling crafty and you want to make your own.

Reusable Market Bag from Living with Punks Foldup Tote Tutorial from Zaaberry Strawberry Reusable Grocery Bag tutorial from Craft Passion

Quick Carrier from EarthGirl Fabrics

Are you feeling like using reusable bags isn't enough, and you're ready to take it to the next level? How about using reusable produce bags?

I've recently been reusing the transparent plastic ones, but I'd like to get or make some cute ones. There are so many options out there!! I really don't know how I'll pick just 1, they are all just so cute! But maybe I don't have to...

Flip N Tumble Mesh Reusable Bags, 5 pack 9$ Organic Cotton Muslin Bags, ranging 10-13$ for 3 pack in Xs, S, M, L or XL, or 6 pack 2 each of S, M, L recycled PET or Hemp cotton ChicoBags, 3 pack 12$

I also saw these really pretty and colorful bags on Amazon, and am kinda in love with them, but at just over 6$ each, I just cannot justify it. Especially since they are rather big. But I did find a tutorial to crochet your own!

ECOBAGS® Reusable Tropical String Bags, 5 pack 32$

Crochet Tutorial for Linen Grocery Tote at Purl Bee

Here are more tutorials for you to make your own:

Fat Quarter Produc Bag Tutorial from Sew, Mama, Sew! Produce Bag made from Sheer Curtains from Wisdom of the Moon Scrappy Reusable Produce Bag from a Day in the Life of the Hooks

Lastly, these are pretty cool, too, made from old t-shirts!

I think I might buy or make a few packs and give them out at Christmas. I think that might be a great way to get more people introduced to reusable produce bags especially.

Tips for remembering to bring your reusable bags

Ok, great, now we all have our reusable bags, bought or handmade, (or are in the process of getting some, right?!) but we keep forgetting them! Here are a few things I have found helpful so I don't forget them.

First, always keep some in your car. That way, you always have them with you. When you are unloading them after a shopping trip, make sure to place them near the door, so that you grab them and put them back in your car every time you leave.

Keep some compact ones in your purse, either plastic bags or some collapsible ones that I showed earlier. But again, don't forget to put them back!!

If you are really bad at putting them back in your purse or car, consider putting a pretty little note on the door so you are reminded when you leave.

Other uses for plastic bags

Now, let's look at a few ways we can reuse those plastic bags, shall we? Because no matter how hard I try, I always end up with a useless plastic bag when I'm out shopping.

1. Carry some in your purse so if you forget your reusable bags, you have a backup.

2. Pack your lunches in them. I do this one a lot! I don't have a lunch bag, and the plastic bag conforms to whatever I have in my lunch that day.

3. Use them to line trash cans.

4. Carry some when you walk your dog to clean up their doodoo.

5. Use them as packing stuffing.

I know these ideas aren't new, but be my guests and be more creative!! When it's finished its life, see if you can't recycle them (we can here in Montreal).

Are you ready to upgrade your shopping experience with reusable totes and produce bags?! Or have you already?

I party at these parties.


  1. Just found your blog through the 31 day challenge--and I'm so glad I did! I've been using reusable bags long before they became fashionable, and I love my produce bags--although they always confuse the checkout lady and baggers at the grocery store! It especially drives me crazy when they want to put my mesh bags in a plastic bag--really? You show so many cute options, now I want to update my bag wardrobe! ;-) In Switzerland, where my hubby comes from, customers are charged for bags...which I think is a great idea. Look forward to following along with your 31 days posts!

  2. They don't charge for plastic here but they do refund you $.05 if you us your own bags.

  3. Do you know Re-Sack reusable produce bags? They are just introduced on the European market!

  4. Love your challenge. At BagInspiration we are all about reusable bags, produce bags, and eco friendly purses. You should check out our Flip and Tumble Reusable bags. They fold up in to a ball so it's easy to have one in your purse. How about reusable sandwich bags too? Thanks for spreading reusable bag message. It's so important. Come to our site to see more options. Thanks.


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