Small reusable shopping bags that fit in your pocket or purse

First published on November 16, 2008

The battle to ditch the throwaway plastic bag isn’t easy. I keep cloth bags in my car and try to carry a backpack often, but I still find myself in situations where I need to carry several items and I don’t have a cloth bag handy. Sometimes I walk to the grocery store and forget to bring a bag, or sometimes I simply make an unexpected purchase or borrow items from a friend unexpectedly.

Enter the Envirosax bag. I recently found some at the Vancouver Art Gallery gift shop. The concept is simple and I’m sure Envirosax isn’t the only manufacturer: the bag is sturdy (made of polyester) and re-usable, and folds and rolls up into a bound package that fits in your pocket or purse.

The bag weighs less than 2 ounces, making it convenient to stash in strategic locations, so that you are more likely to have it on hand for those unexpected occasions.

Envirosax bag in hand

The bag holds quite a lot (reportedly over 40 pounds) and is larger than the average grocery store bag. For an idea of the size of the bag when in use, see this image I stole from the Envirosax website. (It seems a bit feminine, but it you’re worried about that, it’s not!)

Carrying Envirosax bags

The bag is a bit pricey at $8.99 + tax at the Vancouver Art Gallery, but I think it’s worth it for its balance of environmental friendliness and convenience.

I don’t know when a shopping bag became a good Christmas gift, but think about it…


14 Responses to “Small reusable shopping bags that fit in your pocket or purse”

  1. Mr Montreal says:

    Love those small bags. I have a chico bag that I use almost everyday! Everyone should have one of those.

  2. Melissa says:

    These things are great! Just the other day, I was at the cash register in a store and realized I had forgotten to bring in a bag from the car. I was about to settle for a plastic bag, when I realized that I had one of these envirosax in my purse. True story. It was perfect!

  3. Julie says:

    All reusable bags are good but I have found a little Made in Canada
    bag from Betty Bags that is great. It is the size of a full size plastic bag and then easily folds down into its own attached pocket. At just 1 oz you can carry several in your pocket or purse. This bag comes in lots of beautiful colours as well! But the best thing is that is is made right here in Vancouver.

  4. Peter says:

    Hi Julie, that sounds good, but where can you get a Betty Bag?

  5. Julie says:

    Peter, I got mine at the Vancouver Museum, but I have also seen them sold at MEC under the brand name Cactus Creek. (It’s the same company)

  6. Jane “cash advance” Aidan says:

    That stuff is pretty much cool. I should get myself one small reusable shopping bags. :)

  7. Carlos says:

    Pretty cool and practical stuff… We bought a couple of them in Japan and I think that’s where the original idea came from…

    Love your blog by the way..!


  8. Jessica says:

    I have also just discovered a new bag on the market, just the right size, I keep one in my purse and a couple in my car. Check out the eco-shopper from a Canadian company called Credobags.


  9. Frances says:

    I think I might have found some bags that beat all in compactness and heft: Breezy Bags. These tough little guys come five to a set, and all five fit in the space of one envirosax bag. They’re not printed with fancy shmancy designs, but I have a set of five in my purse and can take a full grocery store run without planning ahead to lug a bigger set of bags. And these are easier on the pocketbook too!

  10. Julia says:

    I was very skeptical of this bag – but I have tried it out now and I can say it’s one of the best enviro bags out there! It is so comfortable, portable, and useful. You can easily carry a very heavy load with no difficulty. Highly recommend!

  11. Frances says:

    Julia, Which bags were you skeptical about, Breezy Bags or Envirosax?

  12. Peter says:

    I had given Julia an Envirosax bag, so she’s referring to that one :D

  13. Ildar says:

    There are a lot of stylish and compact reusable bags out there now.
    My favourite ones are:
    Chicobag – can be staffed in a small pouch and have a carabiner attached to it
    Flip & Tumble – can be staffed into a small ball, the size of an orrange!
    Envirosax – huge amount of great patterns and very compact as well
    b.b.begonia – Canadian equivalent of Envirosax
    Baggu – very stylish and also very compact with their own pouch
    RuMe – these bags are not only compact and beautiful but they also have square bottom, so it’s easy to putt groceries in them!

  14. Lisa Pozin says:

    I have a great selection of Envirosax bags at – I am based in Vancouver, Canada. I think Envirosax bags are the best – they are the biggest and strongest and come in the nicest patterns – there is something for everyone. I especially love the pouches of 5 bags.

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