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Spy Finds is a daily series that unveils the coolest, under-the-radar products that you haven’t heard of until now. Each product is curated by our editors who want to help you discover cool finds you didn’t know you needed.
If you’re an eco-conscious type, these are heady days. Single-use plastic bags, long the archenemy of the environment, are now banned in eight states and some large cities like Boston, Chicago and Washington, D.C. And the latest state to ban plastic bags is a biggie: New York joined the list as of March 1. If you’ve been to Manhattan, you know those bags are as common as honking taxis and sirens. Soon, hopefully, they’ll be just a bad memory.
You still need to tote your stuff, however. Lunch, groceries, whatever — those ocean-polluting bags were, sadly, quite useful. Thankfully, the ideal eco-friendly replacement is here, and it’s the Baggu. Strong, durable, reusable and washable, the Baggu reusable tote bag is everything those cheap plastic bags were not.
The Standard Baggu holds two to three plastic grocery bags worth of stuff, up to 50 pounds worth. It’s made from 40% recycled ripstop nylon sourced from pre-consumer waste, and when you’ve unloaded it, it folds into a flat 5-by-5-inch pouch, so the next time you head out to the store it fits easily into your pocket. The bags feature dozens of fun prints, and they’re available individually or in sets of three.
Each Standard Baggu is only $12, which when you think of what it’s accomplishing, is a steal. Pick up three for those mega-grocery runs: Baggu will give you free shipping and returns on orders over $30. They come in 41 different patterns, and yes, that’s the ubiquitous “Thank You Have a Nice Day!” smiley-face you’ve seen on countless plastic bags, now emblazoned on a far superior product. Baggu’s Thank You bag, which is both our favorite and the company’s best-selling product, is currently out of stock, although the Standard Baggu Set of 3 multi-pack does include this design.
No matter which design you pick, the Baggu is a superior product. They’re assembled from one continuous piece of recycled nylon material and reinforced with double-stitched seams for additional strength. And they’re eco-friendly even beyond the fact that they’re replacing single-use bags. The nylon is produced from pre-consumer waste, saving scrap material from landfills and conserving petroleum resources, and the dyes used in the bags are environmentally responsible and fully absorbed by the material during production to reduce runoff.
These reusable grocery bags easily carry large loads up to 50 pounds, and they can do it over and over again. But all things ultimately give up, and when your Baggu has surrendered to time and use, it too can be recycled. In fact, Baggu will take it back and send you a discount code to apply toward a new tote bag.
Single-use plastic bags are now, mercifully, going the way of asbestos insulation and CFC-powered aerosol cans. Whether you’re a New York City resident adjusting to a world without plastic bags or just want to get ahead of the curve, the time to switch to reusable tote bags has long since passed.