Dear Lazy Environmentalist,

Where can I find stylish, reusable shopping bags?

Paper bags come from trees. Plastic bags come from oil. Neither choice is a productive use of the planet’s natural resources. As many Lazy Environmentalists already know, the best approach is to tote your own reusable shopping bags and avoid the controversy altogether.

Well and good in theory, it’s still difficult to get excited about reusable, beige-colored canvas bags bearing proud slogans like “I’m an Earth Momma” or utopian slogans like “Make Love Not Carbon” or even absurdly obvious one like “This Is Not a Plastic Bag.” To really accelerate the shift to shopping bag reuse, it’s helpful to add a dash of updated attitude to your canvas bag or ditch it altogether for more color and style.

For a bit of attitude with your canvas bag, check out the sack from Angry Little Girls featuring a cartoon of one little girl admonishing another to “Shop with a reusable bag, B*tch!” And for a bag with supreme color and style, check out Envirosax’scollections.

The contemporary Mikado line from the Graphic Series is inspired by ornate Japanese motifs and features bold floral graphics and intricate geometrical patterns. With shagadelic circles and interlocking rectangles, the Retro Graphic Line is an homage to seventies chic. Prices for these lightweight, waterproof bags start at $8.50. There are five bags in each line and a complete set (all five) with accompanying stowing pouch can be purchased for $37.95. The only downside is that they’re made from polyester, a plastic derived from oil.

Recognizing the concern among consumers, however, Envirosax has also introduced its Organic Series of stylish reusable bags made from natural, eco-friendly fabrics such as bamboo, hemp and linen. The patterns are equally fabulous, though beige reigns supreme as the dominant color. Prices also leap to $24.95 per bag, a little on the steep side but perhaps not too shabby for a tote that walks the walk while turning heads at the farmers’ market.

Need more? Other bag ideas from the Laze Environmentalist

Chico: It’s the ultra-compact reusable nylon bag that’s small enough to fit in your pocket until you’re ready to bust it out to the delight of check-out clerks, fellow line-mates, and the planet. Kick the single-use habit with these $5 bags (every fifth one you purchase is free) that also feature a built-in key chain for added convenience.


Eocezi: Carry your machine-washable Ecoezi reusable shopping bags inside a compact, stylish Ecoezi wallet. The lightweight wallet conveniently stores 10 reusable bags (included) and is available for $21.95. Stow it in your handbag or your glove box for easy access.


Flip & Tumble: Made of lightweight, ripstop nylon, the Flip & Tumble reusable shopping bag ($12) is heavy on durability and convenience. A padded shoulder also makes it comfortable when carrying loads up to 25 pounds. Scrunch it up into a ball and flip it into its own built-in pouch when not in use.

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Excerpted from Josh Dorfman's latest book, The Lazy Environmentalist on a Budget.

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