Yes, The Economy Sucks, So How Much Will You Pay for a Shopping Bag?

The Economy Sucks Coin Purse photo

Blue Q has released a new line of colorful bags made from 95% recycled material.

For Christmas 2008, a round of my girlfriends and sisters got shopping bags I bought EnviroSax and from EnVbags. I gave myself one, too, and was surprised both at how handy these lightweight bags are (anecdotally, the Envirosax bags have held up longer than the EnVies) and how much I came to love mine - except that in a fit of generosity, I recently gave the last one away. So now it's come time to buy a new bag - their ability to keep me from bringing new plastic into the home is definitely worth...a price. But what price? Click for a quick review of four choices.

Paper or Plastic Neither Bags photo

Blue Q definitely has a cool design aesthetic. And now the company has a collection of bags all constructed from non-woven polypropylene cloth made from HDPE bottles (think: laundry liquid) and used grain sacks that are cleaned, ground, and melted. Pluses: Style and price ($12) for "Shopper" bag. Minuses: Stiffer than woven polypro bags, and a bit harder to double as over-the-shoulder bag. Check out Blue Q's other styles - shoulder bags, overnight bags, zipper pouches, and coin bags like the one illustrating the start of this story - at their site.

JP Monkey Upholstery Remnant Bags photo
JP Monkey bags from reused upholstery fabric remnants, look nearly too pretty for groceries - they are definitely a bag you wouldn't be ashamed to have in the back of your car or gracing your bicycle basket, and designer Joslyn Gray says they are more durable than standard-issue canvas. Pluses: Roomy, durable. Minuses: Pricier ($25).

David Duchovny Reusable Bag photo

Photo David Arquette checking out Envirosax bags Envirosax blog.
Envirosax, around since 2004, has seen a few competitors come onto the scene in the reusable bag biz. At first glance, Envirosax may not seem to be the best green choice, because it's made from polyester, a petroleum product that cannot currently be easily recycled. However, after buying and using a number of organic cotton bags, Envirosax' light weight (I can easily stuff it into the thin front pocket of a backpack), its durability over time and its ability to hold a lot of irregularly shaped grocery items as it conforms to their shape has made it a winner in our household. Pluses: Price (around $8.50) and versatility. Minuses: Polyester. Envirosax does have bamboo and linen and organic cotton bags for $25.

Env Bag photo
EnV Bags look a lot like Envirosax bags, though they are a little bit more expensive, and comparably perhaps not quite as toughly constructed (stitching on my EnV bags unraveled after some strenuous usage. If you live in the U.S., however, EnV bags might have an edge in terms of overall life-cycle analysis over Envirosax (designed in Australia), as they are designed and shipped out of Los Gatos, California. Will hold up to 40 pounds of groceries. Pluses: Affordable ($9.50), lightweight. Minuses: Yes, you guessed it. Polyester.

P.S. Photo above is David Arquette of course, not David Duchovny. Sorry for the error.

Find more choices
Reusable Bags Support NOLA
Minimalist/Modernist Reusable Totes
My Own Bag
Get Hip, Get Green, and Bring Your Own Bag
BYO Shopping Bag
Art at the Supermarket
and, of course
Shopping Bag Bra

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