PSA: Environmentalism isn’t a trend, it’s a necessity. And when it comes to fighting for Mother Earth, plastic is the enemy. Plastic grocery bags are particularly problematic, as they are harmful to wildlife and marine life (they’re often mistaken for food and can also entangle creatures), pollute both land and water (since they’re so lightweight, they can travel long distances) and are very difficult to recycle (the recycling rate for plastic bags is just five percent). In fact, the problem is so troubling that several states—California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Hawaii, Oregon, New York and Vermont—have banned plastic grocery bags outright. Fortunately, many manufacturers have stepped in to fill that void by producing sustainable and eco-friendly grocery bags...and that should be an easy sell no matter where you live. Read on for our roundup of the best reusable grocery bags so you can get your shopping done and keep your conscience clean.
The 15 Best Reusable Grocery Bags
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Best For Shopping Carts
1. Lotus Trolley Bags
This set of four jewel-toned shopping bags has all the bells and whistles. For starters, Lotus trolley bags, as the name suggests, are designed to hook over the sides of a standard shopping cart so groceries stay organized and checkout is a breeze. (Don’t worry, they also have a generous shoulder strap for when it’s time to tote your groceries inside.) Plus, these puppies are made from heavy-duty, double-stitched fabric, so they can hold an impressive amount of weight—over 50 pounds each. The set includes one insulated bag and three regular ones that feature separate protective pockets for eggs and wine—and in the event that anything does spill, all but the cooler bag can be cleaned in the washing machine. Genius.
2. Cart Daddy 3-piece Reusable Grocery Cart Bags
Here, another set of grocery cart bags designed to make your life easier. Cart Daddy bags boast a similar structure to the Lotus trolley bag—each of the three bags has a rod that extends slightly beyond the frame of a standard cart for easy access and grocery sorting while you shop. These guys are generously sized and made of sturdy canvas—meaning they stand up when full (i.e., won’t topple over in the trunk of your car), fold easily when empty and can hold up to 40 pounds of goods without issue. Bonus: The canvas material can go in the washing machine for hassle-free cleaning.
3. Makeroom Clever Reusable Shopping Cart Bag
Much like the cart bags described above, the MakeRoom reusable cart bag is designed to fit standard shopping carts, which is a real game changer when it comes time to pay for and bag your goods. The design, however, is slightly different: Rather than rods that allow the bags to hang over the cart, this drawstring sack features sturdy plastic clips that secure it to the frame of the cart. The end result? An effective cart bag with a slightly lower profile. And thanks to its clever design, this roomy bag can be folded into a much smaller size and stuffed into its own interior pocket. As for hauling power, this option can handle up to 40 pounds—but for a bigger haul than that you would probably want to distribute the weight between a few bags anyway. (In other words, you should probably invest in more than one.)
4. Nerub 10-pack Reusable Grocery Bags
These no-fuss bags come in a pack of 10 vibrant colors so you can color code your grocery shopping (like keep your raw meat away from your vegetables) and keep ‘em handy (think: stash a couple in your car, a few by the door, one in the stroller, etc.). The material, eco-friendly recycled propylene, is durable and the thick, removable plastic bottom is excellent for extra support when toting heavier items. Overall, the construction is solid, and the bags are big enough to hold quite a bit. Keep in mind, however, that users caution against overfilling these bags: They can hold about as much as a standard disposable grocery bag, but you’re better off sticking to a 20 pound weight limit, as heavier loads might cause tearing. Still, the reinforced bottom, comfortable shoulder straps and foldable compact design make this one a good deal all around.
5. Reger 6-pack Foldable Grocery Totes
This set of six lightweight, ripstop nylon bags scores extra points for style—the look and feel of the fabric is downright attractive. Don’t worry, though, you won’t be choosing form over function, as these grocery totes can hold up to 50 pounds—and you won’t even mind lugging home such a hefty haul since the straps are designed for maximum comfort when worn over the shoulder. Best of all, they’re so lightweight that, despite their extra-large size, you can stuff ‘em in your pocket-and they clean up nicely in the washing machine, too. Bottom line: These puppies perform a lot like Baggu totes, but for a fraction of the price.
6. Cleverfect Set Of 5 Foldable Grocery Bags
These thoughtfully designed bags fold into their own attached pocket, becoming as compact as a wallet when not in use. Once opened up, however, they are roomy and sturdy enough to hold 50 pounds of groceries, and the long and wide, reinforced shoulder straps ensure that you can comfortably tolerate such a heavy load too. There’s no closure here, but that isn’t a big deal since the squared off bottom and strong material gives these guys enough structure to stand up on their own (i.e., no awkward bag wrestling in the checkout aisle). Plus, you really can’t go wrong with this bargain buy since the manufacturer offers a pretty impressive warranty—if one of your bags rips within the first year, they’ll send you a whole new set.
7. Simple Ecology Organic Cotton Deluxe Grocery Bags
This reusable option from Simple Ecology is made from Global Organic Textile Standards-certified cotton muslin, which means that it hits all the right notes: biodegradable, sustainable, organic and socially responsible. So how does this one perform in the produce aisle and beyond? Pretty darn good. The combination of double stitching, X-stitching and piping stitching on this bag translates to quality construction. This baby is basically indestructible and can handle whatever you stuff inside. Best of all, your goods will arrive in good condition, thanks to the six interior sleeves, which can be used for jars, wine bottles, stalks of leafy greens, egg cartons and the like.
8. Flip And Tumble Backpack And Mesh Produce Bag Set
When it comes to heavy lifting, nothing beats the support and comfort of a good ol’ backpack—and Flip and Tumble’s grocery backpack bundle definitely fits the bill. Although this is the priciest product on our list, its durability and versatility makes it worth the extra bucks, as does its understated aesthetic and collapsible design. Plus, this polyester knapsack (and the five produce storage bags it comes with) have been woven with care from 100 percent eco-friendly, recycled fabric to achieve a finished product that’s tear-proof and machine washable to boot.
9. Baggu Reusable Ripstop Nylon Grocery Bag
These ripstop nylon bags are light as a feather, tough as nails and oh-so chic. Yep, there’s been plenty of buzz about Baggu since the line first launched in 2007 and the product—always eco-friendly, but now made exclusively from recycled materials—has certainly aged well. This all-purpose tote can haul up to 50 pounds of cargo and then neatly fold into a 5-inch square pouch that fits in your back pocket (where it should probably stay until your next round of errands). As for maintenance, once your well-loved Baggu tote starts looking scuzzy, you can simply toss it in the washing machine to get it squeaky clean again. Baggu reusable grocery bags have been the gold standard for a little while, and we’re still here for it.
10. Tuff Viking Durable, Collapsible Grocery Bags (3-pack)
Think of these bags as fabric-covered cardboard boxes that are super easy to break down. Indeed, the Tuff Viking reusable grocery bags will fold completely flat in the blink of an eye—but when in use, they’re like mini fortresses for store-bought goods. High-quality polyester surrounds the sturdy PE board sides and bottoms of these bags, which stand on their own and are highly unlikely to topple over. The end result is a grocery bag that will protect your fruit from bruising and your wine bottles from breaking. Best of all, this set includes a leak-proof insulated bag, which fans say does a bang up job of keeping frozen stuff icy cold on even the hottest summer day.
11. Wiselife Reusable Storage Baskets
The possibilities are endless with these rigid grocery boxes, which owe their sturdy construction and weight-bearing capacity (up to 33 pounds) to reinforced cardboard inserts. The non-woven fabric is both tear-proof and water-resistant, and particularly easy to clean with nothing more than a quick wipe down. For convenience, these bags feature generous shoulder straps, as well as side handles for lifting heavier loads, so you won’t throw your back out whilst lifting groceries out of the trunk.
12. Granny Says Reusable Grocery Bags
Another well-structured item with a multi-functional design: This reusable product is, like the others in its category, more of a bin than a bag. That said, it’s a very good looking bin that can hold up to 30 pounds without tipping over or (gasp) tearing on your trek home. Also, it folds flat for easy storage. The takeaway? This multi-use option meets most, if not all, the criteria for a reusable grocery bag—especially if structure is what you seek.
13. Summervalley Insulated Grocery Bag And Utility Tote
Oxford cloth, aluminum lining and a reinforced PE cotton bottom combine to make these ultra-durable but soft insulated grocery bags, which can schlep up to 45 pounds—on your shoulder or in your hand—without tearing or causing your cold food to spoil. The drawstring closure is also a much-appreciated feature of this reusable bag, as it prevents food from toppling and spilling during travel. And when you’ve made it from point A to point B, you can just fold the grocery bag flat for quick and easy storage.
14. Hannah Insulated Shopping Bags
Whether you’re going to a potluck or stuck in traffic on your way home from the grocery store, you’ll be grateful for these insulated bags, which rely on non-woven polypropylene, insulating fiber and coated thermal film to keep food cold or hot, depending on the occasion. The zippered closure also helps with temperature control, but perhaps the most impressive thing about this set of two bags is that they are strong enough to hold up to a whopping 100 pounds of yumminess.
15. Veno Bag Insulated Reusable Grocery Bags
This puppy is made of non-woven, recycled fabric and lined with aluminum thermal insulation and can hold up to 30 pounds of goods. That’s not too shabby, but the real selling point is the reinforced, dual-tab zipper top, which ensures that once closed, no gaps are left that could affect temperature control. Another plus: The soft structure of this one makes it easy to fill with awkwardly-shaped items (like a frozen pizza and a bottle of wine).