Every tote counts (Day 16)…

BYOB totes

Why is it that so many tote bags are a tote-al disaster when it comes to aesthetics? They always look like this or this, or in some severe design vacuums, like this. I’m all for the ironically ugly once in a while, but not every single time I need to dash out for another carton of milk (unsweetened soy, natch), so it makes it difficult for me to commit to my latest green move — you guessed it — using tote bags.

Thankfully, some fellow Canadians have come to the rescue. BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag) was founded by Jenny Hughes and Elizabeth Clark after they noticed “a serious lack of choices on the market” when it came to plastic-bag alternatives.

Their totes are handmade and printed in Vancouver, and come in 100% natural or organic cotton. They’ll even take custom orders (Aritzia, for instance, commissioned a line of bags printed with the phrase ‘Live like you give a damn’ — whew, tough love!).

Currently they only sell in Vancouver and through their website, but hopefully they’ll expand. As for me, I’m pledging to bring my own bag whenever I go to the grocery store or need to bring stuff from home to another destination. I can’t account for any impulse purchases, but basically, whenever possible, I’m gonna rock the tote.

15 Responses to Every tote counts (Day 16)…

  1. Lori V. says:

    I think these bags are keen. I am such a canvas tote whore that I play the “reusable grocery bag” trump card in order to justify buying the cutest ones. That said, I’ve never paid more than 20 bucks for one, and the ones I use most often (for size and practicality reasons) are priced at TWO bucks apiece at onebagatatime dot com.

    I will most likely order one of these, just for the pretty factor, though! See? Whore. Total slut.

  2. river2sea72 says:

    Mine all look like the Company Logo kind because my husband or I picked them up as conference shwag – hey, whaddya want for free? That said, my canvas bags are some of my most treasured possessions.

  3. julee says:

    If you wanted to get even greener, you could employ the “reduce and reuse” pats of the three R’s. Instead of buying a new bag, why not make your own out of all of those previously used and wasted plastic bags?

    This is a really good pattern: http://www.marloscrochetcorner.com/Plastic%20Bag%20tote.html

    Here is the one I made (the book with the instructions is listed):
    http://www.juleedunekacke.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=237

    Here is one for sale at etsy!
    http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=5528589

  4. KarlaM says:

    Whole Foods has some wonderful totes and they can be purchased for under $3 (USD). I like to keep a couple in my car so that when I’m out and have to pick up something from the grocery store or the mall I have bags handy. If I forget to bring a bag usually I’ll just carry my purchases out in my hand – I guess this only works if you have a few things.

    ReusableBags (http://www.reusablebags.com/) is a good website to get totes and various other bags.

  5. gettinggreen says:

    Thanks KarlaM, that’s a really good idea to keep some in my car. I’m always cursing myself when I sponaneously show up at Whole Foods and have to use one of their plastic or paper bags! Although I did just invest in their “hammock” bag, which totally rocks — it can fit a week’s worth of groceries in there…
    julee, I don’t know if I’m hardcore enough to make my own totes, but I do knit every now and then so who knows?

  6. Kelly says:

    Is there seriously a bag that reads ‘And God said “Let there be horses” ‘ ????? Who is responsible for this? And where, pray tell, did you find it Nessa dear?

  7. RedMolly says:

    That horse bag made me want to cry.

    Thanks for profiling some non-ugly, non-beige versions of the ubiquitous tote… those are downright cute!

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  9. KFC says:

    again, I know I’m behind, but http://www.1bagatatime.com is a great site where you can get 10 bags for $15.99, and they have other deals. The best part is that they have a flat bottom which makes it really easy to stack groceries. I use mine endlessly.

  10. Leather Tote Bags…

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you….

  11. greening is fun says:

    I bought a large plastic type tote on sale at the container store this past summer. I keep 4-5 regular size totes at the bottom. I always take this to work with an umbrella, lunch, files, whatever. I have found this to be very convenient since I always have enough bags for my groceries, shopping, whatever. The plastic bags from whole foods are what I request cold items to be placed in; the only problem is the checker who thinks it’s his/her mission to fill one bag with all the heaviest stuff–I can barely carry it by itself—-I’ve got to be more vigilant about this particular thing. Otherwise this is a super help for me!!!!

  12. […] Back in 2007, when Vanessa at Green as a Thistle posted “Every tote counts”  (http://greenasathistle.com/2007/03/16/every-tote-counts-day-16/), reusable shopping bags were pretty rare in New Orleans, my home at the time.  You could buy […]

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