What to do when you are left holding too many reusable bags

As part of her clutter clearing and organizing business, Angeleno Heights resident Beth Zeigler has come across plenty of unused reusable bags stuffed into her clients’ cabinets and closets. “We all have them – so many of them,”  Zeigler said.  “They just build up, clogging drawers, cabinets and the other nooks and crannies where we shove them.”  But tossing away those bags would defeat their purpose of replacing single-use plastic bags.  So, Zeigler has come up with the idea of  how to put those unwanted bags into the hands of people who can use them.  She has set up collection boxes at businesses across Echo Park and Silver Lake and will redistribute the donated reusable bags on November 12 at the Vons in Echo Park and the Trader Joe’s in Silver Lake along with tip sheets on how to make sure the bags get used.

Zeigler shared a few tips on how to keep those reusable bags out of the closet:

  • Try and stick to your new bag number limit. For instance, the next time someone offers you a reusable bag at an event–just say no. And follow the one in, one out rule. If you find yourself admiring a reusable bag and want to purchase it, then you’ll have to make a decision and donate one from your current collection.
  • Next you’ll have to decide where to store the bags so you’ll actually remember to use them. We like the Chico Bag because it folds up to fit in your purse (and they have a carabiner to attach to your keychain). Another option is storing the bags close to your shopping list, that way, when you’re jotting down what you need from the store, you’ll remember to bring your reusable bag.
  • Keep a few in the car and, if you need prompting, put a sticky note on the dash board that says, “Take reusable bags into store.” Hooks in the entryway are a great place to keep and display your reusable bags. Remember, once you’ve unpacked your groceries, return the bags to their home, whether it be the entryway, the front door knob or the car.

Zeigler has already collected about 1,000 bags buts wants to gather 1,000 more.  Click here for locations.


  1. Project GreenBag is the sustainable, eco-friendly alternative to plastic bags. 100% organic cotton, biodegradable, and made in San Francisco California.


  2. Since I first read an article on how reusable bags should be washed if they’re used for food products (and having read the labels on some of the ‘fabric’ type bags so common/popular) I go for the stronger, more easily washed varieties.
    I used to buy grocery bags when I’d take my vacations in France (no free bags there forsometime) as they were better designed, better made and cheaper (even with the $/euro conversion).
    Even the plastic bags there are better designed….
    The non-woven polyester bags get dirty fast and they melt if they touch something hot–and they’re cold water wash only (not very good if you’ve gotten food residue on it).
    On the other hand, there are some bags that are so useful (construction, material used, size, etc) that I’ve bought extra for other tasks (love the SK bags, glad to see they have more of the pricier bags in stock–when I went to visit friends I took everything I was bringing them in those bags and left them because the friends liked them so much–).

    And my solution is to keep the majority of the bags in the car–one holding all the rest of them.

    There are some pet food companies that use a material which can be made into good bags—I haven’t done it yet but considering how much pet food is sold in them, it seems a waste to have those just thrown out…(I have unstitched the catfood bags and the material is folded and put away…maybe this winter if we get much rain. )

  3. Or sew them into cat beds! My cats LOVE to sleep on these over anything else for some reason, especially the ones made out of recycled plastic.

  4. I think there are those households who keep a lot of unused Reusable Shopping bags and this is a good idea that we share it to others so we can share with them our aim of saving our environment.

Post a Comment

Please keep your comments civil and on topic and refrain from personal attacks. The moderator reserves the right to edit or delete any comments. The Eastsider's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy apply to comments submitted by readers. Required fields are marked *