Make it easy to remember your reusable bags

Last updated: 15 March 2023
Photo of three reusable bags filled with groceries.

Benefits of using reusable bags

Single-use plastics (SUP) make up one third of the litter we see on Victoria’s streets and in our parks and waterways, where they cause harm to wildlife and our health.

By switching to reusable bags and remembering to take them with you when you shop, you can help the environment and reduce the number of unnecessary plastics that end up in landfill or as litter.

Tips to help you remember your reusable bags

Forgetting reusable bags when we shop happens to all of us. Make it easy to remember your reusable bags with these simple tips:

Keep some by the front door

Try keeping some by the front door or next to where you leave your keys. This way you can simply grab them as you head out the door.

Keep some in your car

Put them in the boot of your car or on the passenger seat – anywhere that’s easily accessible.

Keep some in your carry bag

You never know when the need to shop might strike. That’s why it’s a good idea to always keep a compact reusable bag in your regular carry bag, like your handbag or backpack.

Put them back in the same place

After unpacking your shopping and checking that your bags are clean, put them back by the door, in your car or in your carry bag so they are ready for next time.

By storing your reusable bags in a few convenient locations, you always have some on hand for when you head out to shop.

Wherever you store your reusable bags, make sure to wash them regularly to keep them clean.

What are the ‘best’ reusable shopping bags? 

It's always best to use bags that you already have at home instead of buying new ones. We recommend using a variety of bags that: 

  • are durable – look for thick straps and strong stitching that are sturdy enough to carry heavier items such as milk or juice bottles 
  • are functional – some bags fold up to a size small enough to easily fit into your carry bag and some can even be clipped onto your key ring  
  • you like to be seen with – if you like the look and style of something, you are more likely to use it 
  • are made from cotton, canvas, calico or recycled plastic, as these are more sustainable choices. 

Try swapping plastic fruit and vegetable bags for a reusable alternative

Reusable fruit and vegetable bags (also known as produce bags) are small, lightweight bags that come in various materials, sizes and designs. You can buy them at most major retailers including supermarkets, smaller shops or from online retailers. If you’re handy with a sewing machine, you could even create and make your own.

Keep them in your handbag, backpack or in your reusable shopping bags to avoid using plastic bags when you shop for fruit and vegetables.

Plastic bags and other soft plastics

A soft plastic is a type of plastic that can easily be scrunched into a ball.

If you cannot avoid using soft plastics and single-use bags, it is important that you do not put them in your recycling bin at home as they can prevent recycling from being processed and turned into new products. Currently, soft plastics can't be recycled and need to be disposed of in the general rubbish bin.

About the single-use plastic bag ban

In 2019, the Victorian Government implemented a ban on lightweight plastic shopping bags that have a thickness of 35 microns or less. That’s why it is more important than ever to take simple actions to remember your reusable shopping bags.

In addition, single-use items (straws, cutlery, plates, drink-stirrers, expanded polystyrene food and drink containers and cotton bud sticks) have been banned for use by businesses as of February 2023. Learn more about the ban on single-use items.