With many states implementing a plastic bag ban by the end of this year, shoppers throughout the Northeast region will need to choose an alternative way to bring home their groceries. There are many options to choose from, making it easy to give up the plastic!  

 A plastic bag is only used for an average of 12 minutes, but it can take over 500 years for it to breakdown in a landfill. Reusable alternatives can be used hundreds of times.

Here are 5 substitutes for plastic bags at the grocery store:

Reusable Bags

Reusable bags can carry more groceries per bag, which means less trips from your car to your house! Although there is an upfront investment for these bags, they will save you money, and the environment, in the long run. Over its lifespan, one reusable bag is equivalent to using 1,000 plastic bags.

Reusable Mesh Bags

Reusable mesh bags are just as easy to use as plastic bags. They are breathable too, which helps keep produce fresh. Some produce, such as potatoes and onions already come in mesh bags, so why not use it for all your produce? You can reuse mesh bags from previous produce purchases or buy reusable ones.

T-Shirt Bags

Everyone has a few t-shirts laying around that could use a new purpose. This method is personable, washable, and even requires no sewing. Just cut off the sleeves, which will become the handles, and make the neckline larger. Turn the shirt inside out, and at the bottom of the shirt, cut fringe and tie into knots. Then flip the shirt inside out again to hide the knots, and your t-shirt bag is complete!

 Milk Crates

Milk crates can carry up to 50 pounds, that’s a lot of groceries! They are sturdy, durable, and sustainable. Milk crates typically have a life span of up to 20 years, so you will be able to transport your groceries for many years to come.


Cardboard Boxes

You may already have these laying around your house, from online shopping or moving. Cardboard boxes are not only durable and strong, but recyclable too. They come in all shapes and sizes, so you can choose the best one for your next grocery shopping trip.


Eliminating single use plastic bags will greatly help in reducing our carbon footprint. Whichever plastic bag substitution you choose, remember to bring it with you next time you’re grocery shopping. Store them in your car or add a note to your grocery list so you don’t forget them!