What do you do with your eco bags?

The LFW tents were awash with eco cotton totes and quite honestly, I think I’ve had enough. I’ve been using my own eco tote (OK, it’s not organic but it gets lots of use) all week – not out of concern for my carbon footprint but because I genuinely love this well-worn bag, bought on my first trip to NYC fourteen years ago at The Strand Book Store. I love the colour, the font, the fact that it holds memories and the fact that it’s a great size and looks better the shabbier it gets.

In the last year or so I’ve lost count of how many cotton totes I’ve been given at various press days, shop launches and fashion shows. What does one do with them? I’ve never got this thing about using them for groceries because my grocery shopping involves several big bags, not the odd baguette and a newspaper, and I don’t have enough shoulders to carry my weekly shop in those canvas totes. Plus, I know it’s not PC but I need those plastic Sainsburys carriers – I re-use them for my rubbish! What does everyone else do with these eco totes? Are you using them all?

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19 Responses to What do you do with your eco bags?

  1. WendyB says:

    I try to avoid getting them, because honestly I have wound up throwing them out and I bet a lot of other people do too. Nothing fits in them. I certainly have totes and bags that are big enough to use if all I am buying is an apple and a newspaper. I think those bags are overdone and a big waste.

  2. pretty face says:

    That mulberry one is AMAZING! I would buy a mulberry bag just to get the free tote.. maybe.

    I used to have a million cotton totes from H&M to wear to scohol, btu I use an old-fashioned and way more comfy backpack these days.

    I use my totes as regular bags on the days when I'm wearing leather jackets/boots or both – I don't like the look of too much leather.

    And like you, I also get plastic bags which I reuse as lunch bags. At least I'm re-using, right?

  3. SOS! says:

    i usually have one in my bag as a “just in case I need to get something from town”. But I’m like you, when I go grocery shopping, I come out with 3 big bags or so! I sometimes use them for a quick visit to the gym. But to be honest, they’re pretty useless!

  4. Make Do and Mend says:

    No I find the straps too long and I’ve got an Anya H platic bag number that I ONLY use for food shopping and a great big plastic one from France.
    I love your Strand bookshop one much nicer than the rest. I too use the Sainsbury plastic ones as rubbish bags!

  5. Stylist Stuff says:

    I use the bags for shoes so I store one pair of shoes per bag. If it’s a cute bag I use it for bringing wine or gifts when going to someone’s house for dinner.

  6. Rollergirl says:

    Ooh what fantastic tips!

  7. susie_bubble says:

    I shamelessly collect them…..I use them as extras to my handbags for magazines, moleskins and any equipment I’m carrying…. or an extra outfit I might change into later…
    However I do agree it is getting to the point of overkill

  8. V says:

    so true, i got a tote from the junky stylin show i went to on wednesday and its so pointless ergh
    did you go?x

  9. Anonymous says:

    I think, the bags being useless defeats the purpose of them being ecological

  10. Ondo Lady says:

    I drape mine across the door of my home office. The bag from LFW was a nice one and much better than the one from previous years. However I am more of a fan of the fancy cardboard bags as they are more functional and look nicer.

  11. MR style says:

    i want one bag like that but from marc jacobs :::!!

  12. choubelle says:

    Ah, I do agree that those ones look to small. Its funny, because the ones they sell in the supermarkets here in the states are so giant…but so ugly and have the name of the shopping center on them! Maybe we don’t have the cute ones over here because we don’t have the EU to enforce all of the environmental laws yet. What a pity, because that mulberry bag is adorable! …Gah, your blog is fabulous!…I wish I’d added you to my blogroll ages ago. Would you like to swap links?


  13. hebden says:

    I have a huge collection of these things and I use most of them…for grocery shopping…or if I have to carry an extra pair of shoes and they won’t fit in my handbag…or as casual handbags…or when I’m traveling as shoe bags in my suitcase (shoe bags for packing/extra bag if needed for coming home).

    By the way, if you don’t want the Mulberry one I could offer it a good home…;)

  14. Top bird says:

    They’re impossible to avoid, and I always get sucked into collecting them. The guy at the local Italian deli is even flogging his own branded eco bag.

    I keep most of my collection stuffed inside a bigger bag that hangs off the hooks behind the front door.

    I also use them quite a bit when I travel – I wrap up pairs of shoes in them and the soft cotton bags are good for packing delicate dresses with any beading/sequins. I also chuck in a couple of spares for dirty laundry (so as to avoid any potential embarrassing security scenarios – though they always get pulled out as well. Grrreat). It’s impossible to travel with your dignity intact these days, let alone your dirty washing.

  15. Arabelle says:

    i use them for my groceries and as a duffel for my gym clothes for school… just odds an ends. it’s definitely cut down on use buying plastic, but a lot of them are so poorly made they’re almost just as bad!

    also, if you’re coming into the city on thursday, do email me! i’d love to meet up if you’ve got the time.

  16. Savvy Mode SG says:

    i am like wendy, i avoid getting those bags.

  17. Cal says:

    I use them for my grocery shopping and am struggling to understand how people are saying they’re too small.

    I’ve just looked at my Mulberry one from LFW and it would easily hold the fruit and veg I buy from the greengrocers even if that’s not how you do your shopping it’s certainly not any smaller than a supermarket plastic bag.

    Even my smallest one (with stupidly short handles) can still fit in an awful lot of tins!

  18. Rollergirl says:

    Cal, I can’t speak for others but with me, I like the plastic supermarket ones because I can put one over the crook of my arm and carry two in my hands. The eco totes tend to have longer straps and wider openings – if you put a heavily laden one on the floor all the contents are gonna start spilling out! The plastic bags are good in the rain. How does an eco tote perform in a shower? And then, when they get grubby, how do you clean them…washing machine? Isn’t that an eco-no-no? The cotton totes are pretty thick. If I’m out and about for the day and planning to do my shopping on the way home that means taking three thick cotton bags out with me. What if I’m only taking a small handbag that day? It’s just not gonna happen. As I said, I tend to reuse the supermarket bags for my rubbish so they are being recycled. And other plastic bags come in handy as well, the clear American Apparel ones are good for sorting jewellery and accessories for shoots and I always need giant carrier bags for taking things to charity shops. Actually though, a good idea for the overflow of eco-totes is to give them to charity shops. They can use them instead of plastic bags. I’m not against eco bags per se, but it seems to be a trendy thing – ‘let’s show how ethical we are and give out eco totes’. If they’re not being used it’s still a waste of resources. All that said, I am being more aware of my plastic bag usage. I try not to take the really thin or small plastic bags if I can’t reuse them.

  19. skinnyGLASSESgirl says:

    Here’s what I do with mine.. I forget it at home EVERY time I go to the dame store. .UGH! ha..duh

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