Homemade Reusable Grocery Store Bags

December 29th, 2008


Photo credit: Deb Roy

Last year, I set a goal to never bring home disposable grocery store bags again. We had collected so many paper bags, we were running out of places to store them in our kitchen armoire.  Thankfully, most stores around here no longer offer plastic.

So far we have about 15 reusable bags split between the two of us at home, in the car, etc.  We either got them from places like Whole Foods for just $2 each or free from industry trade shows. Two dollars is decent, but I have seen some cost as much as $40 (granted, they are nicer).

If you don’t want to buy reusable bags just yet, reusing the paper and plastic bags you may already have (and not accumulating more) until they disintegrate  helps to0.  I ended up donating all of my bags to a local clothing consignment store – they only use used bags in their shop.

If you know how to sew, (even at a beginner level) you can also make your own.

Tipnut offers a compilation of 35 patterns for reusable bags for sewers, knitters and crocheters.  Several of the sewing patterns utilizes items you may already have at home.

For example…

Wisdom of the Moon blog offers instructions on making grocery store bags out of old sheets in Cheap & Easy Fabric Grocery Bags and produce bags out of sheer curtains under Cheap & Easy Fabric Produce Bags.

This is also a great post on instructables.com for instructions to make your own grocery store bag.  “Green” Re-usable Grocery Store Bags

Oh Fransson blog offers a pattern for her super cute lunchbox inspired bags at her Etsy shop.

Of course if you’re not a sewer or knitter,  this may not do you much good so you may need to buy some of your own.  In that case, hopefully this is a reminder for everyone to bring your own bags while shopping.

12 Responses to “Homemade Reusable Grocery Store Bags”

  1. Marelisa says:

    Hi Carla: Here in Panama grocery stores hand out plastic bags like crazy. I ask them to put as much stuff as they can in every bag, and not to give me bags for small stuff, but I really should get a recyclable bag.

  2. Lovelyn says:

    At my local grocery in Florida, they love to give out plastic bags. They usually put only two items in each bag. It’s crazy. I’ve been using reusable bags for years.

    When I moved to the UK I was so happy to see that they encourage people to use reusable bags.

    Lovelyn’s last blog post..The Power of Less: An Interview with Leo Babauta

  3. Lance says:

    We’ve received three of these over the last few weeks – in addition to a couple we already had. I’m going to put one of them in my car, so it’s always there! My wife is really good about using these – in fact I was with her at the grocery store last night, and she had three of these bags along to use. Me, I tend to forget to take them with (which is why I should just keep at least one in the car). Thanks for the reminder Carla!

    Lance’s last blog post..Sunday Thought For The Day

  4. Alanis says:

    Your bags are really cute. I can’t sew worth a darn. I just got this great gift for the holidays I had Bagnesia because I forgot to bring my bags with me to the store everytime and i was trying so hard so check out what I got for Christmas from http://www.bagnesia.com

  5. wilson says:

    I loved your idea, Carla. As I’m also have tried to reduce the use of plastic bags in my daily life as well…

    wilson’s last blog post..Drinking Water is Not Only For Quench Your Thirst!

  6. Carla says:

    @Marelisa – I wonder if plastic is cheaper than paper.

    @Lovelyn – For some reason, I am surprised that some stores still use them. Since they ban them in San Francisco, I was hoping that other cities would follow.

    @Lance – I try to keep them in the car since they dont do us any good in the house. I still forget every now and then. :)

    @Alanis – Those bags are pretty cute!

    @Wildon – For me, its always a work in progress.

  7. sharon says:

    You go girl! I enjoy this blog so much. In the UK we still have plastic. Well there has been talk of getting rid of the plastic bag, but hey, it’s been all talk so far.. Let’s see what 2009 will bring.

    sharon’s last blog post..The Top Ten Posts and Thank You!

  8. Carla says:

    @Sharon – Thank you so much! Hopefully things will change in the UK (and most of the US) soon!

  9. Adorable! How talented are you? I enjoy your blog too, I need to comment more. I’m horrible. That’s a personal goal this year. If I could add more time to the day. You’re so good at commenting and I want you to know how appreciative I am of you commenting at my site. I look forward to reading what you have to say. I’ll do better to leave my thoughts here as well.


  10. Nikki says:

    I agree. We are polluting our world not thinking about the future. I have a small shop and I buy hand made bags from these guys – http://www.aptexports.com. Very reliable and they take small to medium size orders if any of you are interested.

    Go Green!

  11. Ara says:

    I think sewing is a great idea. I can absolutely express my passion and love when making handmade gifts for my love ones. Thank you for sharing your lovely ideas. By the way, for more eco-friendly gift idea, you might love to try Happy Tiffin’s stainless steel tiffin carrier or its newest product which is the insulated tiffin bag. It’s really a perfect gift idea this Holiday for your love ones because its this tiffin container is not only eco-friendly, but its also durable, portable and you can afford to buy it. You may visit http://www.happytiffin.com for details. ;-)

  12. Confused? says:

    I have several eco-bags that I always take with me to the supermarket, it’s just so much easier that way, you don’t end up with cupboards crammed with plastic bags. will have to get the designs for the build your own bag thou, would be great to do with the kids, keep them occupied for an afternoon.
    .-= Confused?´s last blog ..The art of Thrifting…. =-.

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