*notcot in playful , 14:18

Reusable Bag Review- 10.18.07

baggumain.jpgOk with all these reusable bags floating around… from designer ones to simple ones to crazy patterned ones… here’s a quick little review from what all of us at NOTCOT have learned so far… and what we love, and don’t love… when we use them, and when we don’t. Would love to hear what you do with them as well, and what kinds of things drive you nuts about them. Because with a simple project brief like “design a new superusable reusable grocery bag”… it seems strange that most of the solutions seem like nylon versions of things from the past. What advances could we add to them? What little details would you love to see in a reusable grocery bag? Are reusable grocery bags the new t-shirt? The next thing everyone needs a drawer full of ~ in every color and design for every mood and occasion?

The three bags pictures for size/orientation comparison in the main picture (click it to view it larger) are the Baggus in grey and black (we’re loving the grey’s ability to be slightly translucent and kind of classic supermarket plastic bag like) the whole foods plastic bag and the Envirosax that Delight.com sent over.

The main options as far as shape seem to be either like a normal plastic bag you get form the store (the design of the Baggu is nearly identical to the whole foods one)… or more like your standard totebag (no flat bottom). Also for flat bottoms that opens up the range of ones that don’t fold up quite as compactly, but mimic a paper bag form the grocery store… we’re only really thinking about the plastic bag equivalents in this post.

On how to fold/carry your bag… i personally found the baggu in the giant flat square a bit awkward for my day to day purse carrying. Also a bit too much work to carry the external bag around for it and then take the time to fold it up and put it away nicely. I do however tend to fold it up in a triangle and tuck it into itself. That also seems to be an easy shape to grope around my purse and find. The envirosax fold and button up, which also creates a pretty small rectangular bundle to toss in your purse. But for the guys… dan votes for the baggu. We were impressed it really did slip into his jean’s back pocket easily, and people will hardly notice its there, nor does it look all that girly.


For those that are curious, this is a quick view of how the Baggu opens up.

Here is how the Envirosax open.


As far as how they hold up carrying things… on various tests, we’ve been finding that both the Baggu and the Envirosax hold one basket full of groceries nicely. I’ve loved the envirosax for over the shoulder, because of the totebag orientation it all kind of molds nicely around your body, but trade off is no flat bottom. The Baggu we found ourselves carrying like a normal plastic bag ~ with the handle in our hand ~ and it is nice that these are easier to sit down with the flat bottom. Apparently when filled with cans, the Baggu can even hold up to 25 pounds. My mother’s biggest complaint on using the envirosax over her shoulder… the pointier things poke her and make it less than comfortable.

We’ve found ourselves using these at the supermarket (particularly great when walking a few blocks with it… i love the envirosax over the shoulder)… running errands… at the farmer’s market… at the airport! (when they are rushing you through security and you barely have time to shove your laptop back in your bag, i find putting it in one of these and over my shoulder until i can sit down and arrange things accordingly makes life SO much easier, and it doesn’t count as another piece of luggage since you can make it disappear in an instant)… i leave a few in the car (for anything from throwing shoes in it to putting an expensive purse in it for a random beach trip)…

Things that drive me CRAZY about the bags… i had flour spill in one yesterday ~ granted you can apparently throw these in the washing machine… i can only imagine cracked eggs in one of these. Definitely even with washing, i’d keep some dedicated to being for food only. Colors and patterns ~ no offense, but only 1/5 envirosax don’t hurt my eyes… and even that one, i’m iffy on. I love the simplicity of the Baggus… and thus we have started discussing and scheming what WOULD make a nice looking grocery bag design…. Ideas anyone?

Baggus - 8$ for 1, $22 for 3, or $38 for 6
Envirosax at Delight.com - $34.50 for 5

OH and as a random side note of what i think is the best/most useful cheapest reusable shopping bag i’ve owned and used tons of… The IKEA big blue bags with the double handles ~ that have dropped from being a dollar to only 59 cents! I can’t imagine what they’d say if i had them put a cartload of groceries into one of those, or if i could carry that out… but these things do make the best laundry bags ever… and have also been indispensable for every time i’ve moved.


Ok ~ done ranting about bags again…. still curious though ~ what do you use? and what would you want in the perfect plastic shopping bag?

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38 Notes

I like my baggu. So far the most sturdy bags. Also had an envirosax which tore after only 2 times usage.

----- Mandy 15.10.12 16:26

I LOVE the Ikea bag as a laundry bag, wide opening at the top, high volume. Excellent for people like me who wait until there’s nothing left to wear to work but interview clothes.

----- Andi 12.09.09 09:09


Plastic recycling is little understood by the general population. For this reason there is lot of misleading information out there about what actually can and cannot be recycled. We are plastic recyclers and this admittedly is a plug for our new product THE BETTER BAG, a unique reusable grocery bag. First of all, most municipal recycling programs do not accept any kind of reusable bags for recycling. Consequently the recycling symbol printed on the tags of these bags is really meaningless. Reusable bags put into your home recycling will most likely be culled out and thrown away. Second, plastics need to be virtually 100% pure to be recycled by ordinary plastics recycling methods. Plastics that are impure are called contaminated or commingled. We’ve purchased a variety of common reusable bags now being sold at supermarkets, office supply stores and other retail outlets. Many of them bear a tag that says that they are 100% pure. When we tested most of these bags, we found that the threads or the handles or the bottom stiffeners used to make these bags are often made from a different material than the bag fabric itself. This renders these bags commingled and in our opinion, not recyclable. A famous grocery chain promotes bags that are made from 80% recycled soda bottles, what they don’t understand is that the other 20% of the bag is another foreign material and that the mixture of these materials creates a commingled product. Sure, using any reusable bag beats using a one time disposable paper or plastic bag but why use a bag that will eventually end up as solid waste when you can use a bag that can be recycled over and over again?

THE BETTER BAG is a triple play. It’s made with recycled material. It’s incredibly sturdy and it’s the only reusable bag that’s guaranteed recyclable. We can offer this guaranty because we recycle it! To learn more, please visit our website:


----- Steve Silver 27.01.09 08:18

I have recently bought a few different bags of various styles, designs, and materials. Many are high quality and serve their purpose well, but the most unique design was on a bag that I purchased from www.yourgreenbag.com. Lots of comments from others at the grocery, and I really enjoy carrying them around because they are fun!

----- Nick 01.01.09 17:12

I just ordered bags from www.bee-eazybags.com. They have the best product on the market if you ask me. Its a compact foldable reusable bag. Its far better than Chico bag, Baggu, the Acme Workhorse, Envirosax. The material is Rip Stop nylon but the simplicity and ease of use isnt comparable. Their pouch is on the outside of the bag which means it takes just 3 seconfs to open it right side out!!! Awesome Design, Awesome Idea…

----- henry thompson 29.11.08 03:54

Envirosax bags not the best solution, we are better to use coth bags like canvas funtote bags, they are MUCH more environment friendly, bio-degrade in 6 month, not 1000 years as envirosax bags.

----- jill 20.06.08 13:06

I bought a variety pack from www.greensak.com. The pack has an assortment of 13 different sized reusable bags for groceries as well as one specifically made for bottles. There is also a foldable one you can keep on you all the time for times when you have forgotten to take the larger bags. I have bought backs from other companies in the past, but these are definately the best yet.

----- Gary 22.05.08 12:48

I love my Use It Again Sam bags, they are light and compact and you can carry them over the shoulder or by the handle. They come in great colors and are affordable. http://www.useitagainsam.com/

----- Jessica 20.05.08 11:48

There is another great little webstore that sells canvas shopping bags that are made in the USA - www.bukabags.com. The bags have flat bottoms, so they are easy to put stuff in and straps that are long enough to go over your shoulder. Best of all, they have fun designs! I haven’t seen any reusable bags with designs like these. I definitely recommend them!

----- Sam 08.04.08 15:13

I love the bags from www.thegreenaura.com. They have good large size grocery bags, wine bags and unique small gift bags. Shipping is free!! I think it is an excellent idea to get the natural fiber reusable bags for kid goody bags, instead of the plastic ones.

----- Nancy Mathew 11.03.08 19:08

My name is ALex and I run an ideas and progress company called STAY VOCAL. About a year ago, I created our “Paper or Plastic” reusable shopping bag, which includes facts about the awful effects that paper and plastic bags have on the environment and future generations.

Like many reusable bags, our bags are made from strong canvas, but unlike most reusable bags, our bags are Made in the USA and sweatshop free. Here at STAY VOCAL, we don’t just care about the environment, we care about everything. Do something good for your country and buy USA made, not something just because it’s cheap. Anyway, that’s enough of a rant from me.

Check out our line of USA Made Canvas Reusable Shopping Bags

ALex Eaves

----- Alex 08.02.08 15:46

I love my JP Monkey bags - www.jpmonkey.com. They are durable, hold a good amount, and look great. The fabrics are gorgeous, and the bags come with a little dog tag I use for my grocery club cards. Plus they are made in the US.

----- Elline 21.01.08 14:57

Try the cotton bags from http://www.Thegreatbag.com. They are hand made in the USA . They are made just like the paper bags with the flat bottom but we added tabs on the sides and back that hook on to the bag holders in the store so they would be easier on the baggers. We feel that a fabric bag is the best alternative to plastic and paper. Also those 1 dollar bags in the stores are usually made of polypropylene, which is a form of plastic.

----- Tammy 14.01.08 20:58

Try one of theses “In Your Face Green” reusable bags. They are sturdy (made with 100% cotton), affordable and not your boring canvas bag (they have cute sayings like “Girls Gone Green” etc…. I have been using mine at the mall and grocery shopping. They are great. I highly recommend this product. :)

----- Sam 05.12.07 09:24

I love SKN bags! They are cotton totes with colorful modern prints on the front. They are machine washable hold up to 40 pounds and are very sturdy. I highly recommend!

----- chloe 29.11.07 07:28

I’d like to throw another reusable shopping bag into the mix! Check out AuMarché bags www.aumarchebags.com These ones are half-hemp, half-cotton, so they fall into the lightweight-yet-strong category. Besides the long handles and inside pocket, AuMarché is all about the great graphics!

----- Keiko 08.11.07 15:52

I found a great reusable bag from www.inyourfacegreen.com. I like the sayings on them like “Girls Gone Green” (I got one for my wife) and “Paper. Plastic? Neither”. They are made with 100% cotton and they are quite sturdy. I can fit at least 2-3 paper/plastic bag worth of grocery products in them. They are also easy to carry.

----- Rick 06.11.07 12:49

Another reusable bag option is a Hero Bag. Hero Bags are a great alternative to the fold-up nylon bag, they come in 2 sizes have a flat bottom are cotton canvas and they have added features like a velcro top closure and the medium size bag has an interior pocket that fits a cell phone or keys perfectly. The bags are really useful and made for shopping!Check them out at http://www.herobags.com

----- susanne 22.10.07 21:37

I love, love, love my Envirosax! I bought the multi-colored set (not shown here) and get compliments whenever I use them. I brought them with me on a trip to Europe recently, and they received a lot of interest. They hold tons of groceries, and wash up very nicely. Only complaint: the plastic snap on the red bag broke, and now I can’t get it to fit back in its pouch with the others….

----- Jennifer 22.10.07 14:32

Since we started Envirosax in 2004 we have seen lots of reusable bag companies pop up all over the world. Personally I think this is a good thing, more reusable bags means less plastic shopping bags polluting the environment. It is not really about style or fashion, but it is about educating people and getting them to use reusable bags everytime they visit the grocery store. Recently we have released our bamboo, hemp and linen bags and in the future we will be venturing far more into natural fibres. A big thank you, to all of you out there who are now using reusable bags. All the small steps will hopefully add up to one big step in making our communities more sustainable. Thank you again for making a move in the right direction.

----- mark 19.10.07 17:53

we picked up two of the $1 bags from Whole Foods and never looked back. They’re deceptively large and really sturdy. WF supposedly gives you a dime back everytime you use them, but I rarely see it.

----- mikelite 19.10.07 12:07

They have really great bags at www.minusbags.com. They are cotton and very sturdy, but can fold up quite small— I always have one in my handbag. I bought mine there because they are stylish, hold alot of stuff and best of all, they are made in the U.S. I hate the fact that everything we purchase is mass-produced in China or India. You can throw them in the washing machine and they come out great, too.

----- diana 19.10.07 11:15

@Nathan -

Good point as to purchasing purpose made bags! There are certainly a handful of bags on the market that are from reclaimed/reused materials.

i.e. the AUM Shopper bag from Red Flag in B.C. They are made from reclaimed sailcloth. Available at Branch.

----- jacobe 19.10.07 10:53

i use cotton bags that i’ve picked up at various places. but they have to be sturdy…the ones with thin material always feel like they’re gonna break. i use mine for grocery shopping all the time and keep them in the trunk of the car (they’re not that pretty). but i love the designer looking ones..they’d be great to carry when i go shopping for clothes or shoes!

----- pina 19.10.07 09:44

I don’t own a reusable bag, but I do work as a bagger and have a few complaints about them. The giant ones (like the IKEA big blue bag) are way too big. They don’t stay open or hold their shape, so you end up taking three times as long to bag. If you have a customer who’s completely oblivious to what a pain their bag is, they end up getting snippy at you for taking to long and don’t get me started on what the people behind them in line are thinking.

I like the canvas totes the best. They’re durable, stay up, and are a good size for holding everything except frozen pizza boxes.

Whatever bag you use, try to be nice to the bagger if they take a little extra time bagging your groceries. The store has things set up so that they can bag in a timely and efficient factor and handing them something that they aren’t familiar with can throw them off.

----- Leo 19.10.07 09:34

Buy buying purpose made new products like this that dont use recycled materials and produce more GHG actually creates quite a conundrum considering the reason for thier manufacture. Its like those fake Freitag couriers! I prefer recycling materials found around the house to make a truly unique shopping bag. Im not accumulating more stuff, Im not buying into production of pointless objects, Im saving money and I think its actually the best thing for this lovely planet.

----- Nathan 19.10.07 07:11

I love my baggu! I keep it in my backpack all the time. I thought I’d just use for shopping once a week at the grocery store, but NO! I use it almost every day because somehow I accumulate a lot of shit! and I need to carry it. go baggu!!

----- Jake Eisner 19.10.07 00:23

Your comparison of T-shits and bags is only funny because I’ve seen something that was both. I believe it was Smoking Lily (Victoria, BC) that produced the “T-Shirt Bag”… A simple, cotton t-shirt, screenprinted with the “t-shirt bag” logo… it has a zipper on the bottom hem to seal itself up , so you could also use it as a purse/tote.
My friend had one. It was wicked.

----- Karri 19.10.07 00:21

You can read over 60 user comments about Envirosax on our site, and decide for yourself. For my money, we think these are an outstanding product

----- Tracey 18.10.07 20:32

I have the Envirosax, and I tend to use them as extra bags to pack when I travel, for groceries of course, and for taking an extra pair of shoes to work. www.flight001.com has them available as singles instead of the set, because I really only wanted 2.

----- Cindy 18.10.07 19:10

We sell the envirosax bags too and I have been very happy with the quality and price. Also, I have heard so many good things from customers who have purchased them.

----- Jaime 18.10.07 18:58

I have a 5-pak of the envirosax and love them. they hold at least twice as much as a regular plastic grovery sack. I keep 4 in the car and one in my purse… it’s great for an impromptu farmers’ market stroll, library books, random shopping purchases.

----- Anita 18.10.07 18:23

I own that exact set of Envirosax and I really love them. They hold enormous amounts and the over-the-shoulder handles are awesome. Plus they dry quickly. Maybe I have bad taste, but I really like the prints. Anyway, I get compliments all the time at the grocery store and they certainly are lighter and take up significantly less room than a traditional cotton bag.

----- lizzy 18.10.07 17:32

I use a reisenthal too (and also their beach bag, which I can use, but also unzip to sit on, or to put my surfboard on so it doesn’t get the back of my car dirty). But I like the floral pattern, which may fall into the eyesore category!

----- Teri 18.10.07 17:30

i’m partial to the chico bag:
cheap, understated, and very easy to carry around.

----- vanessa 18.10.07 17:21

I use the ACME workhorse bag (looks like Baggus) for purely groceries. http://www.reusablebags.com/store/acme-bags-workhorse-style-1500-p-1.html

I thought the Baggus had cooler colors but didn’t look as durable as the ACME bags.

For the rest of the time, I put these Reisenthel bags in my purse by http://www.containerstore.com/browse/Product.jhtml?CATID=255&PRODID=74340. They fold super small and I use them to carry light stuff, like clothing while shopping or drug store purchases.

Here are two other options by Reisenthel, which are less of an eyesore than Envirosax:


----- Leslie 18.10.07 16:27

I have bags almost like the Baggu and I love them, they fold down really small, I find other re-usable bags too big to carry always or too hard to get back in their little pouches.

----- Kirsty Armstrong 18.10.07 16:14

Of course I am bias - but I LOVE my Baggus! I carry the over the shoulder for the 2 blocks home from my local safeway.

I also LOVE my IKEA bags for all of my heavy lifting big toting tasks, worlds greatest laundry bag. We have a IKEA bag shelf in our house.

----- Emily Sugihara 18.10.07 15:42

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