How can I get into the habit of using reuseable bags?

Following in the vein of “how can I get into the habit of taking packed lunches?”, I thought it would be useful to gather together your thoughts and tips on getting into the habit of using reusable shopping bags. Because cutting down on plastic carriers is going save the world you know. ;)

So what do you do to make sure you always have cloth bags, reusable plastic ones or just old carriers on hand when you need them? We’re very good at taking reusable bags with us when we’re consciously heading to the supermarket on a shopping trip but don’t always have them on hand if we’re out doing something else and pop into a shop randomly. (I still say no to bags though if I can, even if it means the bus driver looks at me funny when I get on balancing a pie and bread roll on top of 18 better-than-half-price recycled toilet rolls – as happened on Tuesday night.)

I know some cloth/nylon bags are designed to fold up tightly – either with poppers or a bag to keep them neat – so they can easily be carried around in a handbag without much bother. (And basic plastic bags can be folded into triangles for neat storage and transportation).

Other people always keep a stash of carriers in their car for when they need them.

But what about ideas for those of us who neither carry handbags or drive cars? What do you do?

Related Categories

household, reduce this

Search for other related items

15 Responses to “How can I get into the habit of using reuseable bags?”

  1. Su says:

    Some of the foldable bags come with a keyring attachment…

  2. Melinda says:

    We keep them in the car- at least they aren’t forgotten at home. Also, rolled up small and secured with a rubber band, a carabiner can help keep them attached to a purse handle.

    It can help that some things are just kept in the bags to begin with- refundable cans and bottles, library books, for exqmple. That way, the bag is ready for refilling when it is emptied. In our state, there are machines at the supermarket for refunding.

  3. MaryH says:

    I really had to make this a priority in order to get into the habit of using reuseable bags. I mean, it’s like any other habit you really want to establish. You have to think about it a lot before it becomes a habit. I kept string bags in my car and a synthetic one that folds up into it’s own tiny bag attached to a carabiner in my shoulder bag. Even so, I had to constantly remind myself that “this month I’m not going to get any plastic bags when I shop.” I occassionally left a shop without buying anything because I realized I hadn’t brought one of my reuseable bags. But I’m happy to say that over the last three years it has become a deeply ingrained habit. Now if I could only get my boyfriend on board with it!

  4. Alexis says:

    we keep at least one in our various shoulder bags all the time. I’ve also got one I wove that serves as an extra shoulder bag when needed that folds very flat and fits in my usual bag.

  5. louisa says:

    Hi guys,

    Thanks for all the great suggestions so far!

    I always have a carrier at the bottom of my bag (a rucksack) – but I only take that out with me about once a week when I go to class so it’s not much use in there!

    I realised while on my dog walk this afternoon though that I always, *always* have dog poo bags on me — I got into the habit of carrying those very quickly — a few folded flat disappear in my jeans back pocket. I bet I could fold a carrier bag just as neatly and carry it in my other back pocket.

    I think I might do as MaryH did – really focus on making it into a habit for a few months until it sticks!

  6. I have two cloth carrier bags in my handbag and one in my rucksack. We have cloth carrier bags hanging on several of the door handles in our flat. Also some cloth carriers fit into a large pocket. Plus as already mentioned there are those that come with a keyring attachment.

  7. megan says:

    I immediately thought of this video:

    about a minute and half in, she makes a bag! you could just wear it as a scarf when you go out, and then make a bag as you need to.

  8. Alice says:

    I find cloth carrier bags a bit nuts, since there are so many millions of used plastic carrier bags already out there to reuse. Cloth ones are not waterproof, they’re bulkier and heavier than plastic bags and you’d be tempted to waste energy washing them when they’d been used a lot (why are they always white?).

    If you haven’t completely stopped taking new plastic bags when you shop then you’re bound to already have a massive stack of them at home. Just put one or two in your jacket pocket!

    If you forget to take one into town, have a look in a supermarket and see if they’ve got a plastic bag recycling thing at the front of the store. Reach inside the bin and help yourself to all the perfectly reusable bags you could ever need – it’s much better to reuse a bag until it breaks before recycling it, and most of the bags people put in there are not damaged at all, just used once.

    When they do finally break we can recycle them in our council green bins here in Leeds.

  9. Linda says:

    Do you wear anything regularly that could have a bag secured to it e.g. a cap?

  10. bookstorebabe says:

    I keep a couple of small cloth bags in the glove compartment of my car, and a couple of folded up plastic bags in the pockets of my jackets. I do have a hard time remembering to bring the big cloth tote bags to the grocery. The idea of just grabbing a few bags from the recyling bins outside the grocery is brilliant!
    Hmm…I bet a plastic bag could be folded up very very small, rubber banded or slipped into a small sleeve made for the purpose, and slipped into a billfold-so you’d always have one on hand. I need to play with this idea…(not like I have lots of cash filling the wallet and taking up space. :) )

  11. Karmae says:

    I keep them on the doorknob of our front door. Pretty hard to forget them that way. My partner was the most forgetful, but know she has it donw cold.

  12. anna says:

    I keep a few in the car – and when we bring groceries in, I place the empty bags close to the mail in the entrance, so they will be taken to the car the next time someone goes out.
    I also keep a few in my bag/purse/backpack, folded inside their own pockets, or if they come without, I like to make a few plain pockets so they are easier to contain and find.
    That furoshiki bag looks awesome – too bad I never use scarves, but perhaps if I had one or two that were too weird to use otherwise but with a lovely pattern, that might be a nice way to use them.

  13. Felix says:

    Even if you cannot get into the habit of using a reusable bags, you can always contribute to the environment by using a plastic bag more than once. Recently I just find this website which provides 50 ways to reuse a plastic bag, hope it will be helpful for your concern.

  14. Wade says:

    Here is a little website with some great tips on turning old plastic bags in numerous useful, and even beautiful items!

  15. supergeeky says:

    I can never remember so I often end up getting more plastic bags. I go to a few food shelves and they are always in need of bags so I just bring them there.

Leave a Reply

Your name
Your email (it will not be published. If you want people to contact you, leave your email address in the message too.)
Your website (if you've got one)