In move that was long overdue, New York finally banned the use of plastic bags by many retailers. Other states and countries have done this for a long time. In Israel where I am at the moment you can’t get a plastic bag unless you pay for it and in Germany – where my family grew up – it has been this way for as long as I can remember. I’m not sure if it was government mandated or just cultural, but even as a kid I remember going to supermarkets in Munich and more or less everyone came with their own shopping bag.
Even if you’re not coming from an eco-friendly perspective, reusable bags are so much more practical than regular plastic or even paper bags. Baggu has a long list of options, many of which will fit over your shoulder and they actually withstand a lot more than they look so it will cut down on the amount of individual bags you need to lug around. For really heavy duty stuff I love the Frakta bag. I’ve literally put a 5kg bag of rice in this and carried it for blocks. It’s insanely durable. The Knalla bag from Ikea is also a good options. For style, however, it doesn’t get better than Baggu. They have so many fun prints it’s tempting to stock up and start coordinating with your outfit just as one would their regular handbag. Plus they fold up to be really small so they’re as easy to store as non-reusable plastic bags.
Side note, if you’re looking for reusable, freezer-safe plastic options, checkout Smelly Proof. I’ve written about them in the past and they’re amazing. The seal shut so tightly – puts Ziploc to shame – and you can safely use the bags over and over again, just wash them out with some water or a towel.