When they first hit the stores, I kind of scoffed at reusable bags. But after living in Los Angeles for six months and seeing their usefulness, I am now a supporter. And not just because it’s good for the environment.
In reality, reusable bags have quite a few benefits that are quite practical for everyday life. Sure, they cost a couple of bucks upfront. But, it’s worth the investment overall.
Today, I’ll go over 8 benefits of having reusable bags. The hardest part is remembering to bring them with you while shopping.
What Makes Reusable Bags Practical?
Whether you’re looking to make a dent in the plastic pollution of the world or simply want an easier way to carry groceries, something like a reusable canvas tote is worth the expense.
1. Saves on Collecting Plastic Bags
I have yet to be in a house that didn’t have an overflowing “container” of plastic grocery bags. They are quite easy to collect, and many people feel odd for just tossing them in the trash.
But how many of these bags are you truly going to collect? Personally, I just keep forgetting to take them with me to Walmart for recycling. Over time, the collection gets quite large.
2. Less of an Eyesore in the Kitchen
Even though I have a selection of reusable bags, sometimes I forget to take them with me. The end result is bringing back more plastic that is tossed into a bin to take for recycling.
After a while, that bin starts to overflow and creates an eyesore in the kitchen. The cats think it’s great, but it can create quite the mess.
3. Easier to Carry
Since I often walk while carrying foodstuffs, I find that reusable grocery bags are far easier to carry. The straps are more comfortable, and it doesn’t feel like I’m losing circulation to my hands.
And thanks to the manufacturing involved, I also find them less likely to tip in the car, scattering groceries all over the back seat. Whereas a plastic bag seems to droop everywhere spilling its contents in every direction.
4. Far More Resilient
Perhaps one of the most prominent benefits of reusable bags is the fact that they are much stronger than plastic alternatives. This is especially true when comparing to Walmart’s plastic bags.
I bought several bags at the beginning of 2017, and they barely show signs of wear and tear. A plastic bag often rips before I even leave the store’s parking lot.
5. Most Reusable Bags Carry More
Plastic bags really don’t have the greatest storage capacity. With a reusable tote, you can store a great deal more. This winds up taking less space in the car, especially if you’re good at stacking your own groceries.
Part of this is because most of us already know the fallibility of plastic bags and only put a certain number of items in them to prevent rips and splits. Totes are much stronger, so you can easily put more in them.
6. Keeps Cold Stuff Colder for Longer
I’ve bought a few insulated bags for stuff like ice cream, recently. However, canvas bags offer more insulation for cold items than plastic. The thin plastic doesn’t really offer much in the way of keeping things at a cool temperature.
Think of it like this; would you rather wear thin plastic or canvas if you were standing outside in the snow and had to choose?
I know, food doesn’t really care about winter. My point is that reusable bags offer more insulation than plastic, even if it’s just a slight difference in overall thickness.
7. Reduces the Amount of Trash Seen While Walking
When I go for my walks around the park, I often see Walmart bags scattered about or hanging from trees. When the wind picks up, it often tosses bags into the air.
Since I love the natural beauty of landscapes, the last thing I want to see is trash strewn about.
Think about all those nature photos you love. Now, try to envision them with several plastic grocery bags littered around. As far fetched as you might think that is, it happens far more often than you realize.
8. Useful as a Fashion Statement?
You can order custom reusable grocery bags. In fact, many online businesses sell them in bulk. So if you have a business, these could be great for marketing or selling off to customers.
Anyway, I’ve seen a lot of people use these bags as a fashion accessory. Especially in populated areas like LA and even in Denver. I know of one person who would match her bag to her outfit.
For me, it’s not a practical use of these units, as I’m not terribly into keen fashion sense. But for some, I can see it being a part of their wardrobe.
To each their own, I suppose.
What Kickstarted My Love of Reusable Bags?
Living in LA at the beginning of 2017 pushed me in the direction of reusable bags. This is because California had already banned plastic bags by then…and the landscape shows.
In fact, the area I lived in was far more “clean” than the most high-end parts of Denver. And you would be hard-pressed to find a plastic bag on the beach in Santa Monica.
Here in Colorado, you can see them looking out your living room window as one grabs ahold of a tree branch and waves in the wind like some Walmart-sponsored supporter flag.
Since I didn’t have a car, I had to walk back and forth from Trader Joe’s. And instead of buying $0.10 paper bags with each visit, I bought a standard reusable bag.
I didn’t have to worry about the bag ripping and spilling my foods while walking the bridge over the 405. No one who stops on the freeway expects to have a banana hit their windshield from above.
After that purchase, I’ve been a huge fan of these totes.
What Kind of Reusable Bags Do You Have?
Reusable bags are not only practical, but they can be fun as well. I often use my Colorado-themed bags because I truly love my state. But, I also have a Star Wars-themed bag for special occasions.
I also find that I like to collect specific designs.
But after all is said and done, reusable bags are quite beneficial when compared to plastics. It’s all in a matter of remembering to take them when you go shopping.
Michael has been interested in the practicality of living green for quite some time. He works closely with GreenGeeks Web Hosting as the Content Marketing Team Lead and an author of various articles.