Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Kalyn's Kitchen Picks: Costco's Great Reusable Shopping Bags

Costco Reusable Shopping BagsEveryone knows that humans are creating waste at an alarming rate, and anything that keeps our earth from filling up with plastic bags is a good thing. However, even though I did embrace that concern in theory, I've been slow to embrace the idea of bringing my own shopping bags to the store. That's happily changed since I purchased a supply of these re-usable shopping bags from Costco, which is why I'm showcasing them for one of my Kalyn's Kitchen Picks, the feature where I spotlight products I really love.

I know I'm always raving about Costco (and my apologies if there is not a Costco where you live) but these bags are really great. They're very inexpensive (only $3.29 for three bags), very large, and very sturdy. Besides the size, the feature that sold me on the bags was the double handles, which let you use the shorter handles for bigger loads. For the first few weeks, I had a hard time remembering to put the bags in the car, but now after I unload them, I just hang the bag on my front doorknob where I can't miss it when I leave the house again.

Apparently I'm not the only one who's decided to get more serious about bringing bags to the store, because I wrote about Becoming a Reusable Shopping Bag Lady for BlogHer.com, and the post has already received 40 comments. If you'd like a bag that's a bit more fashionable , there are reusable bag recommendations from other food bloggers in that post, and Kristen from Dine and Dish found another source for beautiful bags since I wrote that piece.

Have you managed to develop the habit for reusable shopping bags? If you have tips for remembering the bags, please share them in the comments!
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45 comments:

  1. After getting lectured (!) last weekend by the bagger at the Berkeley Bowl because I admitted I'd forgotten to put my bags in the car, I think I'm going to take your advice and go with hanging the bags on the door. Or something along those lines. I have to come up with a better system!

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  2. Oh I didn't know that Costco has their own bags... I bet those are really sturdy and great.

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  3. I bought 8 reusable bags from reusablebags.com, and I keep them in my car. Occasionally I forget one of two in the house, but since the bags hold so much, I rarely need to take more than two into the store anyway. I bought two bottle bags from them as well, which hold 9 bottles each, perfect for wine shopping.

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  4. that's a great idea! thanks for sharing.

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  5. I am a Costco queen! Next time I'm there I'll check out those bags.
    I absolutely love your site!
    I'm trying out the chicken souvlaki
    tomorrow for dinner. I'm salivating just thinking about it :)
    Thank you so much for doing what you do!

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  6. I've got a bag that folds up in a small pouch and lives in my purse. I also collect all the co-workers' plastic shopping bags and use them for poodle potty patrol. They give me more than I can use, so I restock the bag dispensers at the park with them.

    Another great product I got at Coscto is a giant cooler bag. It stays in my car and is great for carrying home products that need to stay cold.

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  7. Those bags do look nice! I don't have a car (I live in the city), so I always keep a small reusable bag rolled up at the bottom of my purse. I go to the grocery store on my way home from work several times a week so I rarely buy more than can fit in my bag!

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  8. And after all this bag talk, would you believe I just went to the store and FORGOT MY BAG. Ugh! This brain of mine needs a real vacation :)

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  9. I'm totally addicted to reusable bags, but also have a terrible memory, so they make it to the grocery store about 50% of the time. Obviously I need to work on that. :-)

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  10. I sewed a bunch of fabric grocery bags which are handy, but my real secret weapon in always keeping an envirosax in my purse. Even if I forget my regular bags when running into a store, I can whip out my much more compact envirosax.

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  11. Hooray for you, and for Costco! I now have a huge supply of reuseable bags, everywhere -- hanging from door knobs, in the cars, in the kitchen. I'm much better about remembering them since my local supermarket started giving 5 cents off for each bag you bring into the store when you shop.

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  12. I've been using reusable shopping bags for almost twenty years now (got turned onto them when I lived in Austria in 1989). I now use a collapsible milk crate (http://www.organizedliving.com/category/containers/crates.do). It holds more than bags do, and is much studier (no crushed or broken items). I put it next to the front door to put it back in the trunk as soon as I empty it.

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  13. At Costco those bags must be huge for all the bulk items.

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  14. Leave it to Costco to make you buy three at once!!! :D

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  15. One of the other parents brought their child's school supplies to the Kindergarten orientation in one of these. They're huge!! We're going to CostCo tonight, I'll have to buy some.

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  16. Fun hearing from so many people who are getting the reusable shopping bag habit. The funniest thing of all is that today I went to Costco and got clear to the checkstand before I realized that my bags were in the car! I did go out and get them tough.

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  17. my problem is garbage bag...cos i cant do without...i reuse the thin plastic bags i get from supermarkets/markets for garbage bags

    any ideas what do i do without garbage bags?

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  18. Rita, not sure what to suggest. Where I live here we have a huge garbage can from the city, so I just take my inside trash can out and dump it in the outside can. But if you don't have that option, at least you're re-using the plastic bags!

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  19. Love the reusable bags. We use them for things other than shopping ... they did a great job on our camping trip!

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  20. Why not make a bag that is from a renewable resource, strong, big AND beautiful? check out my website for The Market Tote, a new pattern for shopping bags.

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  21. That's great, I didn't know Costco had these! I've heard they'll start charging for each plastic bag in Seattle next year or something like that, so I will DEFINITELY be getting some reusable shopping bags soon!

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  22. A few years ago they started using your own bags in the UK. Some stores even charge you here if you have to use their bags. I leave my in the trunk or I'd forget them.
    Sherrie

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  23. I got a supply of bags from a variety of sources - my favorite are the Whole Foods bags which look the same size as the costco ones, but they are of a lighter material (still super strong) cost $.99, and fold up really small.

    I would often forget them in the car and my trick became if I had left them in the car, I'd ring up the groceries and have them put back in the cart sans bags. Then I'd bag them myself into the reusable bags once I got to the car. Eventually I started remembering to bring them in. It is all about changing habits... :)

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  24. hi kalyn....i have a little something for you at my blog....please do pick it up....cheers!!

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  25. My new years resolution was to use recyclable bags after reading an article that talked about all the garbage in the oceans - 47,000 pcs of garbage in every square mile of ocean - I found affordable purse size bags at www.baggu.com. I now have a large collection of recyclable bags and take them right back to the car when empty. If I forget my bags I have a one day penalty for each nasty plastic bag I use - no treats! I love my treats so I don't forget often!

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  26. I have a hard time remembering mine as well and hung them on the door knob so I don't forget. I also do that with the bags I collect from other various stores to recycle when i go to Walmart. Just drop in the box when you walk in the door.

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  27. I'll have to get some costco bads. I can imagine how big and sturdy they must be. I have a few of the store brand bags but you have to take so many on a major grocery trip. I like the costco bag idea!!!

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  28. Am totally involved in the reusable bag phenom....I really like the Costco because of size and sturdyness. We also made some from old T-shirts that we posted on our blog awhile back.

    You'll get the hang of it and won't go anywhere without your bags Kaylyn.

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  29. I have cloth bags from the Community Food Co-Op here in the Salt Lake area and I love that they have big long handles. I can put all my groceries on both shoulders and haul them in the house in one trip!

    I run them back out to my car as soon as I'm done unloading and I leave them on the floor of the passenger side of my car so that I can always remember to bring them in the store.

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  30. I take transit to work, so I have a stash in my desk as well as my car's trunk. If I decide to hit the store after work, i have bags here that i can easily grab too.

    I also leave them near the door when i've unpacked to make sure they get back to their proper home.

    Many of my green, city dwelling friends, use http://www.envirosax.com/ and keep them in their purse.

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  31. I leave mine in my car on the front seat. I also got one at Target that zips into a teeny pouch that I keep in my purse. Trader Joe's has new bags now, white, made out of old plastic bottles. Rock on!

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  32. Yep! The CostCo bags rock! We use them for nearly all shopping, and carrying stuff into work or to church or to the beach...

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  33. When I studied abroad in South Africa, I quickly learned my lesson about grocery bags, as they charge for each bag. I purchased a reusable bag there and used it the whole time I was in the country, but I haven't translated that practice back to the US. I know that I should; thank you for the reminder.

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  34. The Costcos here don't have plastic bags at all. If you want, they'll put your stuff in a cardboard box (recycled from the produce dept.), but otherwise it all just goes in your cart as is. Do they bag your purchases elsewhere?

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  35. Kitt, our Costcos also use boxes to load purchases; it's the regular grocery store where I used to accumulate so many plastic bags. These reusable shopping bags are relatively new at my Costco; maybe you'll be getting them.

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  36. I'm a Costco fan too and have been using their bags for about 8 months now. Good stuff!

    For smaller shopper trips, I use Chico Bags and Acme Bags, both available at www.reusablebags.com. Both brands stuff into a small pouch sewn inside themselves and tuck easily into a pocket or purse.

    The Chico Bags pouch closes with a drawstring and even comes with a small carabiner clip so you can hook them onto your purse, belt loop or keyring. The Acme Bags are made with a better quality fabric though, so I use them for heavy items like jars, cans and bottles.

    Also at reusable bags, you can get plain cotton drawstring bags in two sizes, both designed to replace those nasty filmy produce produce bags ay the grocery store.

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  37. Many dittos for the Envirosax mentions. They come five to a pouch, and the pouch fits perfectly in the map-pocket of my car door, so I am never without. I also keep in my purse a bag that rolls up into its own attached pouch (it was on special at Whole Foods in Boston a while back), and have larger bags such as the Ikea blue plastic ones (same size as Costco I think - huge!) in the trunk of the both cars.

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  38. Maryn, I did see the blue bags at Ikea and they looked great. If I didn't have the Costco ones, I definitely would have bought them at Ikea.

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  39. Hi Kalyn!

    I was doing my laundry this morning smiling inside because I LOVE my Costco Bags. I have always given them as gifts to friends and family who are not Costco Members and they love them as well. I am constantly carrying things from my car to my home and back, and these bags have made my life so much easier... The dual handle is a brilliant design!

    I wanted to post to your site because you mentioned the bags and apologized to those who did not have a Costco in their area. I was surprised to see this item was not available for purchase on ebay so I have MADE them available on ebay.

    You can purchase SIX (6) TOTES for $16.99 with FREE SAME DAY SHIPPING anywhere in the US.

    I would hope you will pass this on to your readers so those who are not Costco Members or do not have a Costco nearby can also buy them for cheap! :)

    Thank you!

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  40. Okay, Costco bags on e-bay! What a great idea. And although not quite the $1 per bag price when you buy them at Costco, your price is still pretty good for those who want to have them shipped. Thanks for sharing.

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  41. Aloha Kalyn and Friends:
    I'm located on the island of Molokai, HAWAII
    We run a very modest thrift store which provides services that create jobs for the disabled and disadvantaged. Molokai is one of the most Hawaiian islands. My question is regarding the reusable Costco Shopping Bag. Other than purchasing them at a Costco, as we don't have any on this island, could I purchase them from the vendor, I've searched the internet and not finding, would anyone have a suggestion? Mahalo / thank you so much!

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  42. Anonymous, if you scroll up you can see someone who left a comment here is selling them on e-bay, at a price that's still pretty reasonable.

    BTW, when I was at Costco I noticed they've raised the price there too so now they're $4.39 for 3 bags in Utah. Still a great buy!

    Other than that I don't know anything about who makes them.

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  43. I am a new guy! I like here!

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  44. I have been looking for the Costco Green Bags for years! Our Costco only carries the Blue Freezer-type. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, does anyone know where I can buy them???

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  45. Brenda, at my Costco they told me they are no longer making them (sigh).

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