Reusable Grocery Bags

This Earth Day you may be wondering what you can do for the planet. One way to make a difference is bring your own bags to the grocery store.

But can you count on reusable bags to hold up trip after trip?

Plastic bags and wrap, along with paper bags, account for more than four million tons of waste a year!

You can take a reusable bag to the grocery store, but most people don't.

Consumer Reports took a look to see if reusable bags can stand the test of time.

Testers evaluated eight bags from stores around the country, including Target, Walmart, and Trader Joe's.

First, testers measured the capacity of each bag. All of the bags could hold much more than a plastic bag, but beware...

Tester Tara Casaregola says, "You may not want the biggest bag, because if you fill a big bag with heavy items like canned goods or gallons of milk, it'll be too heavy to carry into your car, or to your house."

And this leak test proved a challenge. Testers poured one tablespoon of milk into each bag.

This one, from Walmart, leaked like a sieve! Another bag had a different problem.

"With this bag, the milk doesn't leak through, but it kind of got absorbed into the lining," said Casaregola.

That makes it hard to clean! But other bags didn't leak and spills could be wiped up.

Testers also evaluated strength.

After loading the bags up with 28 pounds of flour sacks and canned tomatoes, they topped off each with a two-pound weight.

This mechanical arm lifted every bag up and down 500 times. All the bags held up, with no torn seams or broken straps.

So a buck can go a long way toward keeping plenty of waste out of landfills.

An added bonus-Consumer Reports says that some stores give you a credit for using a reusable bag.

It's usually just a penny or two, but hey, it all adds up.

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