Envirosax vs. Chicobags

November 17, 2007

Eco-Freaky, Gadget, Lauren

All bundled up.

I’ll admit that I’ve become a little obsessed about reusable grocery bags, but I heard the story about the place in the Pacific Ocean twice the size of Texas that has all that plastic floating around and it creeped me out. (One million pieces of trash per square mile.) I already told you about the Envirosax, which I love, but I went ahead and bought some Chico bags to compare the two styles. Hopefully someone out there in intraweb-land may find this useful.

Envirosax have a lot going for them – they’re cute, have awesome patterns, they hold quite a lot of stuff, and best of all, the handles will fit over your shoulder. Lloyd and I do a once-a-week grocery trip, and can fit all our purchases in 3 or 4 bags. The down side – it takes me a little bit of time to re-roll them, but I might just be clumsy. I also had something punch a hole in one bag. (I patched it. No need to throw it out.) Here are some diagrams of how it rolls/unrolls.

You unsnap the straps, and it pops open.

It rolled faster than I could take the picture.

The sides are folded in thirds around the handle.


Unfold the handle, unfold the bag- viola’!

A bag!

To re-roll, fold the bag in half, fold the handle down, fold the sides in thirds, roll like a little sleeping bag, snap shut. It takes longer to type the directions than it takes to roll it, but you can see how it’s a bit fussy. It’s windbreaker-like material, so it’s a little slippery. However, it’s a very sleek, compact package, and I always keep two in my tiny purse. (I ‘pimped it out’ with some elastic straps so they’d stay put.)

Two bags, a phone, a wallet, a camera, lip stuff, and a pen.

I haven’t taken the Chicobags shopping yet, but they are just the same size as a regular plastic t-shirt bag. The straps can’t fit over your shoulder, but I think the plus for these is the ease of putting it back in the bag. (It goes wicked fast.) To use the bag, just undo -the cinch cord, grab the bag and pull it out.

Open sesame.

It comes out inside-out, so shake it right-side out and the pouch becomes a little pocket inside to hold your keys or whatever. Here are the two together for size comparison:

Does size matter?

And just for kicks, a plastic bag.

Bad plastic bag!  Bad!

So, overall, I like them both. The Envirosax will always live in my purse, but when I don’t have a purse, the Chico bag has a handy little clip that could attach to anything. They both pack up equally small. The fabric seems similar. The Envirosax holds more, but the Chicobag is so much easier to put away. They both get an A+ for gadgety-ness in my book!

(I also realize that now I have an over-abundance of reusable bags. Maybe I can give some away for Christmas?)

UPDATE: I recently ordered a Chicobag Vita, and was wondering if they made it out of a different fabric because it was so crinkly.  Looking back on this post, I see that mine used to be crinkly, too.  They soften up after a couple of uses.


About Lauren

Lauren Sommerer is a preschool teacher who likes to build prototypes, grow cats, cook things once, save money, reduce, reuse and recycle.

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16 Responses to “Envirosax vs. Chicobags”

  1. Brad Said on:

    To me, it looks like Envirosax win in every category. They’re bigger, they’re patterned, they have better handles, and they pack as small as Chicobags.

    I say you should throw the Chicobags in the ocean.


    • Lauren Said on:

      What combination of punctuation do I use to make a mad, squinty-eyed face?


    • Peggy Said on:

      hehe … throw them in the ocean.

      I say Envirosax too. Surely you can come up with a way to close them more quickly. Give the other ones to some homeless people … yes, designer bags for the homeless.


  2. Peggy Said on:

    Your comment wasn’t there when I was typing Lauren. Would you like us to throw Brad in the ocean for you?


  3. Annette Said on:

    Are those the rulers I’m missing from my desk?


  4. Michele Said on:

    While I appreciate the rulers, I miss the usual quarter. Can we get a shot with a quarter please?


  5. Beth Said on:

    I don’t know…being the proud owner of my very own Chicobag (a beautiful PINK one, courtesy of Lauren), I have to say the convenience of the ‘just squishing it back into a little pouch’ rocks! It beats folding and rolling any day of the week.


  6. Deanne Said on:

    I have a question. We use our grocery bags for trash. What does anyone out there use for trash?


    • Beth Said on:

      Um…trash bags. Is that weird?


      • Lauren Said on:

        I use garbage bags, too. We have a plentiful supply of old plastic-y bags around here anyway. (There is a family at the Center who donates all theirs, so I take a few home.) I use those to line our little trash cans, but I don’t tie those up each week. I go around the house and dump the little cans into the big bag. Lately we’ve just had one big kitchen-sized bag of trash and about three ‘kitty litter presents’ in the can at the curb each week. I’ve been using all kinds of bags for those -- Subway bags, the bag Lloyd’s frozen strawberries were in, old lunch bags. It’s getting crazy!


  7. Beth Terry, aka Fake Plastic Fish Said on:

    I vote for Chico Bags because they are sooooo easy to stuff and unstuff and the pouch is just so damned cute.

    Regarding trash bags — the less trash you have, the less need for trash bags. Depending on your community, you can recycle paper, metal, and many types of plastic. Also, depending on your community, you can compost your yard and food waste. If you don’t have community composting, there are ways to do it at home. Once the recycling and the wet food waste is out of the way, the only trash left is unrecyclable plastic. First, reduce that stuff as much as possible. Then, the rest needs very little in the way of a bag, if any bag at all.

    Wanna know ways to reduce your plastic consumption? Visit http://www.fakeplasticfish.com/thelist, which is updated frequently!

    Great post.



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