10 Reusable Bags That Will Make You Give Up the Plastic Ones for Good
There are a lot of reasons why you should make the switch from plastic to reusable bags. Not only are plastic bags unattractive, unstable, and often germ-ridden—they're extremely harmful to the environment. "Americans use an estimated 100 billion plastic bags a year," says Dan Small, the partnerships manager at Baggu. "Of these, only a tiny fraction wind up being recycled. Instead, they sit in landfills where they can take up to 500 years to decompose. Worse yet, plastic can make its way into our oceans, contaminating waterways, and threatening wildlife. To put it simply, plastic bags are often used only once and for a short period of time, and yet they have an enormously long ecological impact."
Fortunately, there are a slew of stylish, eco-savvy reusable bags and totes on the market that you can shop around with instead. "Reusable bags are a great way to cut down on the amount of single-use plastic you use," Small says. "The average family accumulates around 60 plastic bags from just four trips to the grocery store. Imagine having a reusable bag that could hold two to three plastic bags worth of stuff, but that lasts for years."
It's not surprising, then, that lots of cool, eco-conscious institutions are swapping out plastic options for reusable ones at their shops, too. "We have been moving away from plastic bags in the Brooklyn Museum Shop for over a year now," says Chad Phillips, director of merchandising at the Brooklyn Museum. "And increasing our selection of reusable totes to fill in." Hoping to get your hands on a good reusable bag? Here are 10 options that are every bit as attractive as they are practical—and, best of all, safe for the environment.
Designed as a fashionable alternative to traditional single-use plastic bags, Baggu's totes are made from lightweight ripstop nylon and built to hold two to three times more than a disposable iteration can.
Shop Now: Baggu Small Reusable Shopping Bag, $10, amazon.com.
This award-winning tote has a cult-following for a reason: Designed with pull-through straps that double as top carry handles, this cotton-nylon blend bag converts from tote to backpack in seconds.
Shop Now: Notabag Convertible Tote Backpack, $28, shop.nordstrom.com.
You can always count on a sleek, striped tote to make the transition from plastic to reusable bags smoother. As an added bonus, this clean-lined canvas tote is so colorful, it's hard to forget at home! It's also roomy enough to carry heavy books and groceries, and can be monogrammed for just $10 more.
Shop Now: J. Crew Reusable Everyday Tote in Rainbow Mini Stripe, $10, jcrew.com.
This simple tote is one of Madewell's best sellers for a reason: Coming in at just $5, the bag's short and sweet French phrase ups its cool factor.
Shop Now: Madewell The Reusable Canvas Tote, $5, madewell.com.
Nothing looks more chic than an eco-friendly tote with an artful print. This canvas tote, available at the Brooklyn Museum Shop, is composed of 100 percent cotton and features an exclusive logo design by contemporary artist Jeremyville.
Shop Now: Jeremyville BKM Tote, $25, shop.brooklynmuseum.com.
Why carry around unattractive (and hazardous) plastic bags when you can tote your groceries in style instead? This 100 percent cotton option is handmade in New Hampshire and features an adorable illustration by artist Claudia Pearson to boot.
Shop Now: Claudia Pearson "Fresh Everyday" Black and White Totebag, $20, claudiapearson.com.
Flip & Tumble
This catch-all is every bit as fashionable as it is versatile. Available in 25 different prints and colors, it can be rolled up like socks (which means that it's small enough to stash in your purse).
Shop Now: Flip & Tumble 24-7 Bag, $15, flipandtumble.com.
Why not let your reusable tote do the talking for you? This bag is composed of sturdy woven jute—it can hold up to 100 pounds—and can be customized with up to three lines of handprinted text.
Shop Now: Apolis Customizable Market Bag, $68, apolis.com.