Here's a reusable bag for every occasion

Jan. 13, 2015

By now, we should all be using reusable bags on at least some of our shopping sprees. According to, Americans reportedly throw away 100 billion plastic grocery bags every year.

As of this month, Dallasites are no doubt becoming more motivated to use reusable bags, thanks to a single-use bag fee that went into effect Jan. 1. 

If you haven’t already started carrying reusable bags around, no worries. It can quickly become a habit and will make you feel good when you don’t arrive home with a dozen plastic bags every time you shop.

Why not make a statement with your style? Here’s some options in bag fashion:





If you’ve been anywhere in the last five years, you’ve probably collected a few giveaway bags from a vendor. If you make an effort, you could easily gather enough reusable bags for a lifetime at no cost by keeping your eye out at festivals, expos and new store openings. 

Courtesy of Eco-bags.




The 100-percent cotton net string bag has a natural nostalgic look that will appeal to the hippie in you. It’s comparable in size to the single use plastic bags and is good for grabbing a few items. It’s washable and affordable at around $12 to $15 each. These bags can be found at a number of venues, including the website Eco-bags, a B corporation.

Courtesy of



These little plastic bags that fold up into balls and other shapes are very good for sticking in a purse, backpack or jacket pocket and forgetting about them. I use them when I get to a counter and realize I didn’t bring my regular reusable bags. They’re perfect for picking up pharmacy items, CDs and greeting cards. Buy a set of four for around $15 at World Market.

Courtesy of World Market.



Here’s the bags my husband and I have been using for almost a decade now. We probably would never have shelled out the $30 per bag they cost now, but the Lands’ End medium cotton canvas totes were given to us as a gift.

We’ve since gone back for more and now have a full set of six that can hold a week’s worth of groceries. These sturdy bags are designed to hold up to 500 pounds. You can tuck spices, energy bars and soap in the interior pockets. Store baggers go gaga for them.  

Courtesy of



The Reisenthel Collapsible Market Basket is garnering attention for its modern take on the traditional picnic basket. It doubles as both an in-store shopping basket and a carryout bag. The basket features an aluminum frame and polyester lining that can be folded flat. Starting at $60, these baskets are pricey but reviews say they’re worth it. Available on Amazon.

Courtesy of




Leave it to Martha Stewart to come up with a reusable bag that you can make yourself. This is a truly green route as it only requires simple sewing alterations on an old T-shirt. See instructions on how to make one.  

Courtesy of Martha



Your shopping bags don’t have to make you look like a dumpster diver. A chic beach bag can double as a reusable tote.

Courtesy of



We asked our Facebook followers to tell us about the reusable bags they tote around.



This $14.99 tote clips directly to your grocery cart to stay open and holds the equivalent of four plastic bags of groceries. My friend Rhonda Kelley of Houston says: 

“I like that they stay open fully while I'm shopping. I don't have to put stuff down first and hold them open like the other kind. Depending on the cart differences, they are not always simple to click onto the cart. But I've never been unable to get them on. Target's carts are a little more difficult. Now I haven't tried really heavy stuff in them for fear they would rip.”

Courtesy of



Fran Witte, Irving’s environmental programs coordinator, informs us that the city of Irving has taken the reusable bag’s conservation mission a step further with the Green Seam Project launched in 2009. Instead of purchasing giveaway tote bags, the city contracts a group of seamstresses to make the totes out of donated material that otherwise would have ended up in the landfill. The hand sewn bags are handed out free at city events.

Courtesy of the City of Irving.




Green Source DFW writer Amy Martin was a national recycling columnist in the 1980s, so she's been into tote sacks a long time:  ”I've been followed by security in stores because I carried a tote bag. I've handed cashiers my tote sack and had them put the purchased items in a plastic bag and then into my tote. Cashiers refused to use totes because ‘We weren't trained in them.’ That rarely happens anymore. We've come a long way.

Courtesy of Scooter Smith.

“My oversized striped fabric bag with a vinyl lining is a marvel. I've had it over 40 years. I got it from my North Dallas, 1950s era mother, who had no idea "why someone would give me such a thing." It always gets compliments from cashiers, who are the experts on what makes a good bag and are more than happy to share their opinions.”



Horse stable owner and instructor Meg Fletcher of Burleson says: "I have almost all types, but my most used tend to be the large, heavy duty ones. My favorite is made out of a feed bag.

See instructions on how to make one.  

Courtesy of



Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area founder Don Young says FOTHNA has been selling its signature tote bags, provided by Pro Forma, since 2011. The bags are made from 100 percent recycled material and cost $5.

Courtesy of FOTHNA. 



The Greater Fort Worth Sierra Club is lobbying for a Fort Worth bag ban. They're giving away reusuable bags as they campaign to rid the unsightly litter from the streets of Cowtown.

Courtesy of the Greater Fort Worth Sierra Club.


Do you have a favorite reusable bag?
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