reusable bag next to a Walmart bag

Reusable Bags: Not just better for the environment. Better, period.

As an Alaska urban hippie, there’s one thing I always have on me or in my vehicle (well, in addition to beer growlers). It’s reusable bags.

Even though everybody knows what reusable shopping bags are, most people still rely on the plastic grocery store bags. Not because they’re better, but because they’re more convenient.

If you’re looking for relatively easy ways to live a greener, more sustainable lifestyle and lessen your negative impact on the environment, carrying reusable bags in your purse or vehicles is a perfect place to start.

I promise you – reusable bags are way better than thin, skimpy plastic bags. Once you get into the habit of using them, you won’t want to go back.

Here are the top 7 reasons why reusable bags are way better than plastic bags.

#1 – Reusable bags never need to be double-bagged.

You know how you need to double-bag heavy stuff at the grocery store, because it’s universally accepted that plastic bags are crappy and cheap? Guess what – reusable bags don’t tear!

Reusable bags are amazingly strong. When a considerate grocery bagger asks me, “How much can I fill this?” I proudly reply, “Fill ‘er as full as she’ll go! You can’t make it too heavy.”

When you’re rocking reusable bags, you’ll never again have to endure the embarrassing moment in the grocery store parking lot when an orange juice carton tears a hole in the side of your plastic bag, as other items clumsily tumble out of the aforementioned rip, smashing into the pavement, making you swear loudly in public.

#2 – Express yo’self.

Reusable bags come in every shape, color, pattern, fabric and size.

Seriously, they make some really fun reusable bags! In my purse, I carry a compactible reusable bag from Ninkasi Brewing. I love their logo.

In my vehicle, I also carry a Cordova tourism bag.

Cordova reusable shopping bag

#3 – They’re actually bigger.

When it comes to shopping bags, bigger IS better.

Even the smallest reusable bags can fit way more stuff than plastic bags, so you really don’t need that many. Here’s a photo of one of my small, compactible reusable bags next to a plastic Walmart bag.

reusable bag next to a Walmart bag

#4 – They don’t cut into your arms when you’re carrying heavy stuff.

We all know the feeling of plastic bags cutting into our forearms as we stubbornly try to only make one trip from the car into our home.

The handle on plastic bags isn’t bad when it’s a bag full of lettuce and potato chips. But once you put something heavy in a plastic bag, those handles turn into razor wire as you suddenly regret buying two gallons of milk in a single trip.

#5 – No need for a closet full of old, holey bags.

Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. Inside of everyone’s home, there’s a drawer, closet or crawl space that’s entirely dedicated to trying to smash as many old plastic bags in as possible, because you “might need them later.”

When in reality, on the rare occasion you actually NEED a plastic bag, you impatiently inspect the bottom of each bag, becoming increasingly frustrated as you now notice small holes, tears and tatters, realizing that each cheap old plastic bag is more unworthy than the last.

Stop kidding yourself. Plastic bags aren’t designed to be repeatedly reused. Stop bringing home old plastic bags, then instinctively hoarding them like they’ll someday be a new form of currency.

#6 – Get paid to BYOB (bring your own bag).

Some stores actually offer a a discount or $0.10 off if you BYOB (=bring your own bag). It might not sound like a lot, but nickles and dimes add up after time. Cha-ching.

And finally, #7 – Reusable bags ARE convenient now.

They make compact bags that fold into themselves, so they’re literally the size of your wallet (maybe even smaller, if you carry a large wallet).

A few of my reusable bags folds up so nicely that they fit into the palm of my hand. Look at the size of this red bag below – that’s the same reusable bag from reason #3 above, where I have it opened up next to a Walmart bag so you can see how big it is.

compact reusable bag

When I first started using reusable bags and trying to move away from bringing garbage plastic home, it felt like a chore.

But now, it honestly feels like a treat. Reusable bags are way better quality and there are plenty of styles that fold up and are easy to carry.

It’s just about making it a part of your shopping routine, or remembering that they’re in the car before you head into the store. Once you get into the groove of bringing bags with you, you’ll love it and never look back.