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There used to be a time when hearing “paper or plastic” was a normal part of our shopping experience. However, as society became aware of environmental issues, reusable bags became an important asset to help the environment. When you use reusable grocery bags you are reducing litter, saving trees, and lowering our waste stream. On a practical level, a reusable bag is a stylish and cost-effective way to bring your groceries home without taking up space.
Before you decide which reusable grocery bag is for you, it’s vital that you consider important things like price, style, and material. Then there is probably one of the most important features of all—capacity. Without a decent-sized grocery bag, your shopping experience can be difficult. So the bigger the capacity, the more you can carry and that makes for an easier time when shopping.
Interested in your next reusable grocery bag? Here's our list of the best ones on the market.
Best Overall: BeeGreen Nylon Reusable Shopping Bag
What We Like: Lightweight, machine washable, easy to carry
What We Don't Like: Flimsy
Lightweight, foldable, and easy to carry, the BeeGreen Nylon Reusable Shopping Bag is also machine washable and of course, made of nylon. While the shopping bag is a bit flimsy since it lacks a hard bottom to support groceries, it is reinforced with bias tape to make it easier to carry a large load.
Another great aspect about this bag is that it comes as a set of six instead of just one, so there’s enough to go around for all of your groceries. With the ripstop fabric, each shopping bag is sturdy, and best of all, it's waterproof so you won’t have to worry about anything getting soggy.
With a capacity of 50 pounds and several print design choices, this reusable bag is perfect for on-the-go shopping.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 15 x 4.7 x 15.8 inches | Capacity: 50 pounds | Material: Nylon
Best Budget: TOPDesign Reusable Grocery Shopping Totes
What We Like: Large capacity, affordable
What We Don't Like: Not waterproof, prone to shrinkage
This shopping tote is affordable for any eco-conscious shopper. The TOPDesign Reusable Grocery Shopping Tote has an option for a set of four or six totes that all hold up to 40 pounds of food each.
This shopping bag is made from canvas, so it is lightweight, but it also has the drawback of not being waterproof. Although these bags wrinkle very easily, they are durable due to its cross-stitching, and it comes with inner pockets if more space is needed. When you wash this tote, it can shrink up to 10 percent of its original size. It’s recommended to only wash by hand with cold water and hang dry to help reduce this issue.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 14 x 7.5 x 14 inches | Capacity: 40 pounds | Material: Canvas
Best Insulated: NZ Home XL Insulated Shopping Bags
What We Like: Insulated, durable, comes as a pair
What We Don't Like: Not machine washable
Made from thermal materials with built-in cooling technology, the NZ Home XL Insulated Shopping Bags offers durability and chilled groceries on the go.
The cooling aluminum technology is designed throughout the bag, from top to bottom. It’s durable because of its sidewalls that keep the bag upright when loading and unloading your groceries. And there are reinforced “no-tear” handles for secure portability. This grocery bag holds about 25 pounds, so you’ll have a maximum of 50 pounds of capacity when using both.
The only downside is that it's not machine washable. So, if you spill something, spot cleaning is a must.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 16 x 9 x 13 inches | Capacity: 25 pounds | Material: Thick non-woven fabric
Best Jute: Now Designs Burlap Market Tote
What We Like: Durable, easy to carry
What We Don't Like: Limited capacity, not machine washable
This rustic bag by Now Designs is stylish and durable because of its materials. Made from a jute/cotton blend, this tote bag is strong enough to hold your groceries securely. Inside, you’ll find a laminated lining to keep potential spills at bay.
This tote has a stiff base to keep heavier items supported and there is an inner pocket for more storage space if desired. While this tote is sturdy and easy to carry, the capacity is only around 20 pounds depending on what you carry. And this tote is not machine washable, so you’ll need to make sure that you spot clean this bag if you want this burlap style tote to look pristine.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 17 x 13.5 x 8.5 inches | Capacity: 20 pounds | Material: Jute/cotton
Best Foldable: Baggu Standard Baggu Nylon Ripstop Tote
What We Like: Durable, lots of design and color options
What We Don't Like: Straps are short
There is nothing better than a foldable shopping bag. Baggu’s shopping bag is not only compact when it's not in use, but it also can hold up to 50 pounds easily.
While this shopping bag may look lightweight, it is far from flimsy since the ripstop nylon design ensures its usability over time. There are various designs you can choose from, allowing you to pick what works for you. However, the straps are a bit short so it can be difficult to hold the straps on your shoulder. Any groceries put in this bag may need to be light enough to carry with your hands.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 10 x 4 x 18 inches | Capacity: 50 pounds | Material: Nylon
Best Produce Bag: Simply Eco Reusable Produce Bag
What We Like: Different sizes
What We Don't Like: Not as flexible as a traditional bag
A good produce bag is reliable and certainly helpful when you’re trying to hold your fruit and vegetables. The Simply Eco Zero Waste Reusable Produce Bags are perfect for storing your groceries in and outside of the store.
These produce bags come in different sizes (small, medium, and large) and all nine bags are made of durable nylon mesh. All three sizes are color-coded for organization and are machine washable.
As with any produce bag, how much it can hold truly depends on what you’re carrying. To make it easier on you, no more than 15 pounds should be your limit for the larger bags, even lighter if the fruit you carry is notoriously heavy. The smaller sizes should be able to handle 5 or 10 pounds easily.
Dimensions (LxH): 12 x 8, 12 x 14, and 12 x 17 inches | Capacity: 5–15 pounds | Material: Nylon
Best Rolling Tote: Cococka Reusable Grocery Bags with Wheels
What We Like: Large capacity, portable, comes as a pair
What We Don't Like: Wheels aren’t durable overtime
Waterproof on the inside and made of nylon on the outside, the Cococka Reusable Grocery Bag makes bringing your groceries home on foot that much easier. At the bottom of this tote, there’s a load-bearing plate to make the bag strong enough for larger grocery items. On the inside, there is a zipper pocket for more space if needed. And this grocery bag is washable, but only through spot cleaning.
The capacity is about 25 pounds and the only issue is that with time the wheels break down. On a positive note, you receive two rolling totes, so you can get all your groceries home.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 16.5 x 5.9 x 20.5 inches | Capacity: 25 pounds | Material: Nylon
Best Large Capacity: CleverMade SnapBasket LUXE Grocery Bag
What We Like: Large, durable, collapsible
What We Don't Like: Top of the bag is hard
A large capacity tote is perfect for carrying a lot of groceries at once. If carrying a lot of groceries is important, then this is the reusable tote for you. The CleverMade SnapBasket material is made from strong canvas fabric and has a support board at the bottom of the bag to keep everything intact. Additionally, it has the ability to not only collapse, but also stand freely on its own.
This grocery bag holds about 30 pounds, ensuring that more items can come home with you. But the downside is that because of the free stand design, the top of the bag is a bit solid, making it awkward to hold depending on what you have in the bag.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 18.5 x 11.75 x 11.5 inches | Capacity: 30 pounds | Material: Canvas
If the goal is to have a simple, waterproof grocery bag, then the BeeGreen Nylon Reusable Shopping Bag (view at Amazon) is great. If insulation matters then try the NZ Home XL Insulated Shopping Bags (view at Amazon) and if the ability to roll your food home is important then the Cococka Reusable Grocery Bags with Wheels (view at Amazon) is a worthy choice.
What to Look for in a Reusable Grocery Bag
How much you can hold can make all the difference for your comfort. Think about what feels good to carry around with you inside and outside of the store, a larger size grocery bag isn’t inherently the best choice. When you’re looking into the capacity of a grocery bag, you should think about your usual shopping routine and get a reusable grocery bag accordingly.
The material for a reusable grocery bag isn’t just for show, it’s also made with your produce in mind. Some grocery bags are insulated to keep your food fresh over a long time, some are waterproof to guarantee dry produce, and there are even some bags created with canvas materials for simple portability. Whatever you choose, the material of your grocery bag matters because each has its pros and cons, including flexibility and its longevity, which are a sign of a well-made grocery bag.
Are reusable grocery bags washable?
Yes, they are! But how you wash your grocery bags depends solely on the material. Nylon and canvas shopping bags for example can go in the washing machine as long as it’s not lined with a fabric that can't be washed. If you happen to come across insulated plastic or aluminum fabric, spot cleaning is the best option.
What is the best material for a reusable grocery bag?
The best material is the one you feel the most comfortable using. Nylon is likely a material you’ll come across constantly when shopping for a grocery bag. It is also the most versatile because it can be washed, it’s foldable, and it can hold a lot of groceries. Canvas is also a really great material because of its durability, but it is not waterproof.
How do you store reusable grocery bags?
If your reusable grocery bag is foldable, then placing it in the pouch it came with works just fine. If your reusable grocery bag isn’t foldable then it is perfectly fine to stash it out of sight inside a closet or any space until further use.
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