How to Remember Your Reusable Bags

Come March 1, 2020, New Yorkers will be required to BYOB—bring your own bag, that is. In a state where over 23 billion plastic bags are used every year, the bag waste reduction law—which bans all plastic carryout bags from distribution by anyone who collects New York State sales tax—aims to mitigate harm on our communities and the environment. (NOTE: this law doesn't apply to restaurants.) There's just one problem: How in the world are we going to remember our reusable bags when we go to the store? Below, PSP members offer helpful hints.

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  • Post a reminder on the back of your door:

bag reminder


  • "I try to keep a couple of the ones that bunch up small into a little pouch in my bag at all time to use when I need them.  (I often forget to put them back in after I use them or can't find them at the bottom of my backpack, but thats another problem all together)"


  • "When the bag tax rolled out in England, I found it helpful to keep a number of reusable bags in the back of the car and put them back after unpacking the shopping."


  • "I keep two of those small bags that snap into bundles (including the one that the City gives out for free) in my purse at all times. That is enough for an unexpected grocery shop."


  • "I have a posted note on my door to remember if I have keys, phones, extra bag, wallet and reusable water bottle. I can see it on way out and just do a doublw check.  Also right after I get home from shopping and putting  everything away, I place a reusable bag in my everyday bag. I have so many of them that I put one in all my bags. Weekday bag, weekend bag, etc. I carry a water bottle with me at all time now too. Another item that I have loads of. I find it super useful as I always manage to find a water fountain and never have to buy water. This includes going to the theater, movies etc."


  • "For those who work, I find it helpful to keep a few bags stashed in my desk so if I find I need to run to the store on the way home or I forget the bag in the morning, I still have one on hand!"


  • "As for an app to help... probably my most used function on my iPhone is the alarm! Daily morning reminder to bring your bags set for right before you leave? (Not to mention the sand timers, egg timers and oven timer Im utterly dependent on for managing our daughter, cooking, even journaling!)"


  • "I second having reusable bags in a few places- at home, at work, in your bag, and I would like to add I got my partner to stick one in his bag too! I also use a small handbag and bring extras to work in a lighter weight fabric tote, so I already have one with me because I’m actively using it (I’m a bit of a bag lady)"


  • "I have found that committing to not using plastic bags helps me to remember, or deal with the consequences. If it's not an option, I just have to carry stuff in my arms/pockets, and use the one bag I always have with me. Usually when I do a big shop it is something I plan and thus remember to grab my reusable bags. Maybe add it to whatever your daily mnemonic mantra may be (e.g. "wallet, keys, phone")?"


  • "All of my grocery shopping is via chico nylon bags and mostly the amazing chico sling bag.  I usually have one to three of them at the bottom of my purse at all times because they are super light and collapse down to nothing but expand to fit tins of groceries.  it works really well not just for groceries but for separating things out in a backpack and lots of other purposes."


  • "I have a tendency to run spontaneous errands coming home from other activities, so I always keep a foldup bag or two in my purse, along with mesh bulk/produce bags, and I try to keep an especially skinny one (a mesh bag from, which I love, and which is supposedly biodegradable eventually) in my coat pocket anytime I'm wearing a coat, for times when I run out without my purse. Summer is harder, but I have a couple that fold up into their own bags - as the Chico bags do - and in non-dressy situations, I sometime clip one to a belt loop of my shorts when I go out; I have a couple that came with clips attached, and I've put small carabiners on a couple of others. I've also tried to get into the habit of carrying stuff in my hand occasionally just to make that feel normal, like books from the library (which is four blocks away) or a half-gallon of milk from the corner store. A lot of this is about training yourself into a habit. However, I now have more than I need of the heavier canvas-style bags because using those takes too much planning! Oh well."


  • "So so happy about this law. I have a favorite tote that I now never leave the house without and in it I have a few really light bags as well as produce bags and my water bottle. Hang it on the door once you have unpacked it so you don’t forget next time?"

And if all else fails, you can always purchase a paper bag for five cents. Happy shopping, Slopers!