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Old 06-26-2008, 02:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry, search function is down or I would just do that...

I'm looking to start using cloth shopping bags, i'm really sick of the plastic ones. Can someone recommend a good brand? I am also looking to place an order through Frontier, so if it's sold there, even better, but not a requirement.

Should I just wait for another Chicobag Coop here? Lots of people seem to like them....
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Old 06-26-2008, 02:13 PM
 
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Check out the ACME bags on ReusableBags.com

Baggers at grocery stores like them because they behave like paper bags.

I think there's a coupon code on MDC somewhere too.
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Old 06-26-2008, 02:37 PM
 
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I have Chico bags, which are similar in size and shape to a plasic bag you might get from Walmart. I like them because they smoosh into their own little pouch - no fancy origami folding required. For that reason, I like having a couple to keep in the glove box or in my purse. They come in several fun colors, too. They are machine washable. If you decide to get them, do wait for a coop.

I also have Envirosax, which are bigger than Chico bags, and made from really pretty patterned fabric, and the straps are long enough that you can carry the bag on your shoulder. You have to fold them and roll them to return them to a compact size, though. I just stuff all the unfolded ones into a bag and hang it in the closet, though. You can fit a LOT into one, but they are a lot more expensive than Chico bags. They are machine washable, too.

I have a couple of the ACME bags from Reusablebags.com. They were free with purchase a couple months ago. They are just like Chico bags, but of a thinner material. The two that I have already have rips along the seams. They don't seem to hold up as well as the Chico's. The picture on the Reusablebags site makes it look like they stand up on their own, but they do not. They are just a cloth bag.

I also have some of the $.99 bags from Trader Joe's. They stand up like a brown paper bag, and so I like them for cereal boxes and stuff like that. The are the same size as the brown bags you get at TJ's. They aren't compact at all, you fold them like a brown paper bag. I have some of the $.99 bags sold at all the grocery stores around here, too. They are smaller, shorter, but they stand up on their own so they are easy to pack.

Lastly, I have a Riesenthel shopping bag. Pretty fabric, long handles that go on your shoulder, but more origami folding and stuffing into a seperate pouch. I use it as our "park" bag, and it hold a quilt to sit on, a couple books or magazines, a water bottle, sunscreen, hats and sunglasses. It's a nice, big bag.
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Old 06-26-2008, 03:04 PM
 
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I actually just have the ones they sell at the grocery store. They were cheap so I bought a bunch. The ones they sold at Wegmans are the best, nice and big. The ones they sold at Acme (owned by Albertsons) are small so don't really hold as much. Ours have held up for well over a year now so they seem pretty durable.
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Old 07-01-2008, 04:31 PM
 
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you've already got some good replies but I thought I'd go ahead and mention the envirosax again.. love mine! I haven't tried the chico bags though

Suzanne~ wife to Jesse, Momma to 3

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Old 07-01-2008, 04:34 PM
 
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I prefer the canvas ones. It's a natural material and sturdier than the Chicos I have. None of the Chicos have ripped yet, but they're looking thin at the seams. They're made of nylon, which of course, is not a naturally biodegradable material either. The canvas ones are bulky, though.

I'd check the thrift store and see if they have any.

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Old 07-01-2008, 08:09 PM
 
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I have some that I bought from an ecobags co-op that MDC had a while ago- I got 4 canvas bags and 2 string bags. I also have a variety of canvas bags that I've accumulated via Freecycle, that I found in the basement when we unpacked, etc. I have enough of the "nice" ones for a whole large shopping trip, and enough of the unmatched, "not so nice ones" for a whole shopping trip, so combined I have enough to go shopping twice. This means that I hardly ever need to use a disposable bag, even if I forget to return the bags to my car before the next shopping trip. Occasionally I still underestimate how many bags I'm going to need, and end up using a plastic bag even though there's another canvas bag in the trunk.

I like having the string bags as backup- they don't take up much space when not in use, yet they hold a lot. You can stuff them in your purse or jeans pocket in case you need a bag unexpectedly. They're not quite as easy to fill as the canvas bags, and small items can slip through the holes between the strings, so they're not my first choice.

I've gotten into the habit of taking bags with me into food stores- unfortunately I'm not quite as good about it when going to Target or the mall. Baby steps, right?

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Old 07-01-2008, 10:27 PM
 
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I LOVE my hemp bag from Reusablebags.com. It has short and long handles and one of them doubles as my purse.

wife to DH 2/03, mama to DS 3/03 & DD 1/09
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Old 07-02-2008, 02:03 AM
 
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Originally Posted by beanma View Post
I prefer the canvas ones. It's a natural material and sturdier than the Chicos I have. None of the Chicos have ripped yet, but they're looking thin at the seams. They're made of nylon, which of course, is not a naturally biodegradable material either. The canvas ones are bulky, though.

I'd check the thrift store and see if they have any.
If your Chico's do become unusable, they have a recycling program for them (you don't get money back, but the used bags go to a good cause):

http://store.chicobag.com/html/zero-waste-program.html
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Old 07-02-2008, 11:42 AM
 
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My chico bags started to fall apart immediately.

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Old 07-02-2008, 12:09 PM
 
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I'd check the thrift store and see if they have any.
This is probably the best thing you can do. I travel for business and they always give us some canvas bag with a logo to hold all our junk. I bet you can find a lot of bags at thrift stores or through free-cycle.

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Old 07-02-2008, 03:03 PM
 
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I bought the plain canvas bags from the craft store along with some fabric paint and fabric markers and let my kids decorate them. They hold up well and they were made with love. They aren't too convenient for the grocery store though since they don't stand up alone, but they are great for the farmer's market, hardware store and most other places.
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Old 07-02-2008, 03:43 PM
 
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I like any bags that have a square bottom (like a paper bag). They hold more and pack much better. I'm in Canada, so I doubt mentioning any brands will help you (though someone did drop off some stuff for us in a reusable WalMart bag, it had a square bottom and kind of pockets on the inside, a good bag IMO). Ikea has large reusable bags with a square bottom.

www.etsy.com has some, shopping bags and reusable produce bags.

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Old 07-03-2008, 03:21 PM
 
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We use a WIDE variety of reusable bags from the last 15-20 years (and since). Whatever we end up receiving at various volunteer events and conventions, etc go into the bag collection for usage. Each car has a stash, as does the house. DD & I walk to many places and bring our own bags. DH does more grocery shopping than I do and he's on board with the bags and keeps a set in each car. (We switch cars frequently. Whoever is driving the farthest uses the Prius for fuel economy and reduced emissions.)

At one point, we had a major surplus of reusable bags, so I donated a bunch to the Salvation Army (after offering to neighbors, etc).

Personally, I don't need designer bags. I just use whatever I already have. Within my accumulated collection, I do have favorites for specific tasks.

~ The smaller canvas bags work exceedingly well for small heavy items, such as canned and jarred foods (grocery stores) or books (library) or water bottles/drinks (park/beach/etc), and for quick errands. I group my errands and walk between stores. Having a bag for each store is sometimes helpful (depends on store).

~ The big bags work really well for lightweight, bulky items, such as cereal, pasta, and other groceries or beach mats/sheet (beach/park) or clothes shopping. I keep two large bags just for "clean" stuff, like clothes shopping.

~ The medium bags tend to be my favorites because they are more versatile and combine the best of both worlds. You can fit enough in to make it worthwhile, but it doesn't get too heavy to carry. I like long-handles for walking errands, so I have the option of slinging it over my shoulder. I prefer short handles for car shopping, so I can carry several at once easier.

~ A mix is best for grocery shopping, IMO. I pack cold foods together to keep them cold longer, but these tend to get heavy fast. Larger bags work well for DH since he can carry far more than I can at once. Smaller bags work best for having DD help.

~ The flat-bottom styles are easier for cashiers, especially in busy grocery stores and elsewhere when the lines are long. Super short handles or hooks help them out, too, so they can set them on the usual plastic bag station to fill. I often help bag when I bring canvas bags to reduce the 'stress' for the cashier (and I smile a lot and thank them for whatever is appropriate).

~ When I head off on an errand trip (on foot from home or on foot from the car/parking lot), I often use my biggest and prettiest canvas bag as a "purse". I put my real purse (tiny thing) in it along with all the bags I think I'm going to need and a water bottle. It keeps everything together and gives me free hands since it has long handles and I can sling it over my shoulder. (If I am in a questionable neighborhood, which is infrequent, I will skip a purse altogether and put the essentials in my pants pockets.) This also works very well for malls and grocery stores.

~ If DD is with me (year-round school), I keep my purse on me (over the shoulder style) and let her carry the empty bags in a bag of her choosing. We'll each carry our own water bottle. I end up with the heavy filled bags and she'll carry the lighter filled ones and any empties.

Best wishes on finding what works for you! I suggest starting small (quantity wise) with a couple sizes. See what you like and what works. Have fun!

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Old 07-03-2008, 03:50 PM
 
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Check out the ACME bags on ReusableBags.com
I second these. They have the same footprint as a paper bag but they can hold about 3x the weight (just guessing here but they are really strong).

Reusable Bags also has great customer service. I've had mine for around 2 years (?) and DH somehow managed to rip one of the bags up the seam. I contacted CS via email. I didn't have my receipt or anything at all to prove I purchased the bags from them. They were able to look me up via my email address and replaced the bag for free
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Old 07-08-2008, 11:37 AM
 
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Anything! I use a lot of the free/logo tote bags you get at events or from meetings. You can usually find these at thrift stores for a few cents as well. If the logo on it really bugs me I let dd1 "paint" the bag with fabric paint, sew a bandana or other fabric patch over that side, cover the logo with advocacy pins, or just turn the bag inside out.

We keep a small styrofoam cooler in the car (2 dollars, not fancy) that holds anything that needs to stay cool. It's also our CSA transport bin.

We have a few reusable bags from Home Depot... we don't really like the store and the bags are a synthetic material (in orange of course) but the bags are great. They have little "hooks" on the sides so you can attach them to a shopping cart or shopping basket and they stay open. The check out people like them too since they stay open on the tables that used to hold the plastic bags, making the bagger's life easier.

Anyway, I think it's great that you want to start reducing plastic bag waste but please don't feel like you need to buy a specific product in order to do so! I know it's not as much fun, but just grab the first thing you see around the house (backpack, beach tote, mesh bag, tote bag, etc) and go for it!


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Old 07-08-2008, 12:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the replies/advice. I think I am going to go thrifting this morning while the kids are at their classes...I'll look for bags there.

I guess I don't care what they look like or where they come from, I just don't want to have to keep replacing them over and over, hence suggestions.

I might be placing an order at reusablebags.com anyway, so i'll check out those acme bags.
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Old 07-08-2008, 04:19 PM
 
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I have bunches of sacks from events. I did however buy one new. It is thin nylon and has a little holding bag that clips onto my purse. It got it at the Container Store. I was going to get another one but they said the product has been discontinued!

I use this bag just about everyday. It was great for stopping in at the drug store or running to the grocery store during lunch. These were the places I was most likely to forget to bring a bag.
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Old 07-08-2008, 04:24 PM
 
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Totally forgot! A local green group hosts bag sew-ins using this pattern... http://www.sew-green.org/doc/Carolin...structions.pdf

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Old 07-10-2008, 09:01 AM
 
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I just got five Chico bags and love them. I really haven't used them for the real heavy grocery stuff ( just for veggies and fruits ) and might not now after reading about them tearing etc. But I do love having them in my car and purse for just everyday purchases at drugstore, clothes, etc. They are perfect for that.

For groceries I have been using a couple of Trader Joe bags I bought as well as the few I"ve bought at the grocery. They stand up in the cart and I can bag as I shop. (My grocery has a self scanner so I zap the food as I go and just bag it. At the end of shopping I go to the self-pay line and just swipe my card and my total $$ is there. So much faster and easier, I think.)

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Old 07-10-2008, 12:29 PM
 
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(My grocery has a self scanner so I zap the food as I go and just bag it. At the end of shopping I go to the self-pay line and just swipe my card and my total $$ is there. So much faster and easier, I think.)
That is sweet! We have a few stores with self-pay aisles but you have to swipe each item there and make sure your bag fits on the "bag tray" since the system has a weight check feature.

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Old 07-10-2008, 07:36 PM
 
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After trying a variety of different bags baggus have become my favorite... they are similar to chicos but larger, more durable, longer handles (so I can sling them over my shoulder) and have the gusseted bottoms so they stand up better (with stuff in them, they don't really stand up empty on their own... but they do stay open so it's easy to stuff them). I've never tried an envirosax though, I'd be curious to know how they compare to baggus if anyone has tried both?

At first I got a chico because I thought I would prefer being able to stuff the bag, rather than having to fold the baggus, but I got very quick at it very fast and find I can fold and stuff my baggu as easily as the chico and the flatness just seems to work better for me for always having the bags with me, it's just so easy to always have a stack on hand and we pretty much don't go anywhere without a baggu in someone's back pocket which has come in handy so often.

I have loads of tote bags, but I just find for grocery shopping especially it's easier to carry in several baggus either in my purse or in a baggu and easier to carry them back out all loaded up.
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Old 07-31-2008, 03:01 PM
 
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I just saw an article in an old copy of Women's Day and they listed a few:

Envirosax

Cotton bags/organic

Nylon bags with longer handles from Container store. They also have short handle bags.

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Old 08-04-2008, 12:52 AM
 
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Pricechopper bags really stand up well and have had no ripping issues. I have a huge mix from around the house and grocery store. I did put in an order somewhere and got some string bags. Probably cost $20 bucks for a bunch on a good sale. I find they make great beach bags. By far my favorite are the grocery store ones, they hold up and there is no individual shipping. Cheaper than I've found in thrift stores in CT.
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Old 08-11-2008, 01:00 AM
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I love my green bags! http://www.gogreenbag.com/index.htm I also pick up some when I'm at the grocery store and I have plenty now. I also love love love the green zip up bags I leave 2 or 3 in my purse and when I forget my other bags in the car I can whip these babies out. They are also perfect for when you only need a few items and don't want to haul in all your bags from the car.

good for you for going green!!

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Old 08-23-2008, 08:04 PM
 
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I have a chico bag, and the only things I really like about it is that it comes with it's own pouch and is on a carabiner, so I can clip it to my purse handle. It cannot hold a lot of weight, and in fact when I went book shopping a couple weeks ago, a single hardback book put several snags in the material. I'm glad I only paid $3 for it.

I also have what I believe is an ACME PET bag. It is the same size and shape as a paper bag, which makes it completely unusable for me, since I cannot carry it in my hand if it is full.

The bags that I use are almost all canvas bags. I have 2 TJs canvas bags, which are a lighter weight canvas, but the straps are long enough that I can sling them on my shoulder. Then I have 3 CPWM canvas bags, which are a heavier weight canvas, and these are the bags I grab for everything. They are extremely sturdy, hold a good amount (although less than the TJs bags), and the straps are plenty long enough to go over my shoulder.

The other bag I use most often is an insulated cloth bag that TJs used to sell, but they don't carry anymore because they discovered it was being made with child labor. Again, the straps are long enough to go over my shoulder, which is my main concern with ANY bag, since I can take the weight on my shoulder, but not in my hands.

Then I also have a metal market basket, just like the kind you carry around the grocery store... it's small enough that it can't take a lot of weight, but very convenient for those quick grocery runs (especially when I have glass bottles to turn in). And I have a string market bag, the kind that expand to 4x their apparent size. Great for carrying light bulky things like chips or bread, TP or paper towels.

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Old 09-06-2008, 10:37 PM
 
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I was given two nylon ones in a swap. I am not sure their brand. They are black and have pink edges. There is a zipper top.

I picked up three 7th generation canvas bags today for $.50 each at a thrift store. Yeah! I think I can go grocery bag free now!

All 5 bags have the square bottoms (which I was looking for), and I got 5 bags for essentially only $1.50 in cash. I think I done good.
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