Why Doesn't Costco Have Any Shopping Bags?

There are many benefits when it comes to shopping at Costco. Aside from boasting highly discounted food items in bulk, being a member of Costco almost feels like a right of passage. Sure, you could stroll into any general grocery store like the rest of society, or you could be a part of something bigger, tagging along with nearly 119 million cardholding members that make up the wholesale giant's 845 stores throughout the world (via Costco).

To keep up with its growing popularity and increase in memberships every year, Costco has to stay on top of its game. With that comes a lot of responsibility for ensuring that prices stay low and training employees to uphold the company's positive and efficient attitudes. Additionally, the company must outright cut costs where needed. If you've ever noticed that there aren't any bags at Costco, you might be wondering why. Well, there actually is a good reason for this.

No shopping bags at Costco

If you plan to do your grocery shopping at Costco, make sure you bring along all the bags you'll need. According to Costco's website, the wholesale company doesn't offer any shopping bags in the store. Seems kind of weird considering its members are buying a plethora of products that need to be not only carried out of the store but also inside homes to the kitchen. So what's the deal?

In order to keep prices as low as possible, Costco doesn't offer shopping bags at checkout. According to its website, "not only do shopping bags contribute to waste, they would also result in higher operating costs – and, ultimately, higher product pricing."

Additionally, it seems like you'll also have to be bagging your own groceries. According to Reader's Digest, Costco continues to cost operating costs by making customers bag their own groceries. While Costco used to have specific employees bag customers' groceries, now it's up to the customer to check out and take the time to bag them themselves. Just make sure to actually bring your own bags, or grab a few of the large produce boxes they offer if you forget.

Other states and cities say goodbye to bags

If you're a current Costco member, and you're feeling somewhat salty about the new no-bag policy at your local store, you're actually joining many other Americans who are facing the same sudden change outside of Costco. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), eight states have completely banned single-use plastic bags. So anyone who enjoys grocery shopping and cooking their own food at home in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon, and Vermont must also bring their own bags (or buy reusable versions) to use at their local stores. This isn't even exclusive to Costco – this is statewide, so even shopping at Walmart or Target, you'll find no single-use plastic bags in sight.

Additionally, the cities of Boston, Chicago, Boulder, D.C., and Seattle enacted city-wide bans on plastic bags, getting ahead of the curve before it becomes a state-wide ban (via NCSL).

Of course, here's the catch though. Customers in these states can't be left hanging if they forget their bags at home. While Costco doesn't offer any bags available to customers, the grocery stores in these eight states will still offer reusable bags or paper bags for purchase should customers forget their own bags at home. So sorry Costco customers — just make sure to keep your pile of bags in your car, so you don't forget them the next time you make your grocery haul.