Bringing your own reusable grocery bags when you go shopping is one of the easiest ways to cut down on your plastic consumption — according to the UN Environment Program, up to 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used globally each year.
The most sustainable option is to use a bag you already have, whether it’s an old tote or a laundry basket (thank TikTok for that idea). You can also make your own reusable grocery or produce bags out of T-shirts. But if you’d rather purchase designated reusable grocery bags, here are our recommendations.
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
Best Overall: ChicoBag Reusable Grocery Bag
Standard reusable grocery bags — foldable cloth “green bags” that typically have company logos on them — are bulky, can’t be machine washed, and tend to break down after a number of uses. ChicoBag reusable grocery bags solve these problems and more. They hold up to 25 pounds each, can be tossed in the wash, and stuff down into a tiny attached pouch that you can easily keep in your purse or the center console of your car until you need them.
Customer rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars with over 1,000 Amazon reviews
Why buy: Machine washable; Certified B Corp; Climate Neutral Certified; Supports 1% For the Planet; Fair Labor Association member
Most Convenient For Shopping: Lotus Trolley Bags
If you prefer bigger reusable grocery bags that add convenience to your shopping experience, Lotus Trolley Bags may be perfect for you. These bags fold flat and nestle in your cart so that you can sort items while you shop. There’s a large insulated cooler bag, as well as two standard reusable shopping bags and a bag with pockets for wine bottles and egg cartons. Each can hold up to 50 pounds and has double-stitched seams for added durability.
Customer rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars with over 3,000 Amazon reviews
Why buy: Machine washable; Removable rod for non-cart use; Supports 1% for the Planet
Most Popular: BAGGU Standard Reusable Shopping Bag
For another versatile option, try the Baggu Standard Reusable Shopping Bag. This product is modeled after a conventional plastic grocery bag but is made with 40% recycled ripstop fabric. Baggu reusable bags can carry up to 50 pounds but stuff down into a five-inch internal pocket for carrying.
Customer rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars with over 50 Amazon reviews
Why buy: Machine washable; Made with 40% recycled materials; Ethically manufactured; Packaging made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified material
Best Handmade Bag: Ecodunia Canvas Tote Bag
Ecodunia’s reusable bags have a sturdier feel than most products on this list. The canvas used to make each bag is produced from 100% renewable resources and natural cotton, plus they have long handles for comfortable carrying over your shoulder. Ecodunia’s fun prints will likely make you want to use these bags for more than carting groceries, but they’re great for a weekend trip to the farmers market.
Customer rating: 5 out of 5 stars with under 5 Amazon reviews
Why buy: Made from natural cotton; Machine washable; Handmade; Provides dignified work for communities in Kenya
Best Tote Bag: Simple Ecology Tote Bundle
Another canvas bag option comes from Simple Ecology. This brand’s eco-friendly grocery bags are made with Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified cotton and feature pop-out sleeves for more fragile goods and double-stitched seams for extra reinforcement. The large size has about the same capacity as a grocer’s paper bag. Simple Ecology also has a reusable bag starter kit that comes with a tote and several reusable produce bags.
Customer Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars with over 900 Amazon reviews
Why Buy: GOTS certified; Machine washable; Biodegradable; Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certified packaging when purchased from manufacturer
Best Bulk Bags: BagPodz Reusable Shopping Bags
BagPodz Reusable Shopping Bags are all about convenience. You can get a pack of five or 10 bags, all of which fit in a low-profile “pod” that can be stored for use on the go. When at the grocery store, the pod clips to your cart and has an easy-dispense pocket for when it’s time to check out. After use, just stuff them back into the pod. BagPodz reusable bags are made with Bluesign® certified materials, which means they’re manufactured sustainably.
Customer Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars with over 2,000 Amazon reviews
Why Buy: Machine washable; Made with Bluesign certified material
Why Switch to Reusable Bags?
The UN says people produce 300 million tons of plastic waste each year, and about 60% of the plastic produced since the early 1950s has ended up in a landfill or the natural environment.
Plastic grocery bags are made from low-density polyethylene (LDPE). Technically, this type of plastic can be recycled. However, in practice, plastic bags easily clog recycling machinery, so most municipal recycling centers do not accept this type of material.
A study by the EPA showed that only about 6% of the LDPE generated in 2015 was recycled. Other types of plastic, by comparison, were recycled at 18% and 10% rates.
Although some grocery stores offer plastic bag recycling, the easiest way to get around this is to refuse plastic bags in the first place. Many cities have instituted plastic bag bans, but more often than not, it’s up to individuals to choose to make the switch to reusable grocery bags in their day-to-day lives.
Melissa Smith is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker, and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainable studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a non-profit that’s featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.
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