Does Instacart Provide Bags? (+ Other Common FAQs)

When you’re starting out shopping for Instacart, it can feel pretty daunting. You want to make sure you have everything you need for a successful delivery.

If you have never delivered something before you might not have considered how you’re getting the goods from one place to another – while keeping them at the proper temperature.

Does Instacart provide bags to help you do this? Or are you on your own? I’ve got the answer you need just below.

Does Instacart Provide Bags In [currentyear]?

Instacart does not provide bags free of charge to their shoppers, though they do require shoppers to have insulated bags for transport during delivery. Instacart sells insulated bags that shoppers can purchase. Shoppers are instructed to use paper or plastic bags from the retailer. Any fees incurred are passed onto the customer.

Let’s take a closer look at what kind of bags you can expect to use while shopping for Instacart, what bags, if any, Instacart provides, plus some bagging tips. Keep going to find all the info you seek!

What Kind Of Bags Does Instacart Use?

Instacart shoppers can use paper and plastic grocery bags, available from the retailer; and they are required to have insulated bags, either from Instacart or of their own choice.

Insulated Bags

The insulated bags are to keep the customers’ items at temperature during the trip from the store to their address.

While Instacart doesn’t give out their signature green bags, they are available to shoppers for purchase.

And you don’t even have to pay for them upfront. Instead, according to Ridester, Instacart will credit up to four to shoppers.

Then, when they hit their first $30 in orders, Instacart subtracts the cost of the bags from the balance.

While I can’t find an official price on the bags, this Reddit thread suggests they were $26 (for four) back in 2017. However, that could have gone up in the years since.

Those who can find insulated bags cheaper elsewhere, or who already have some on hand, do not have to purchase Instacart’s.

In fact, in that same Reddit thread a lot of the commenters had suggestions for where to find them cheaper – Costco, Target, Walmart, etc.

One commenter even mentioned that Target sells insulated bags for just $2 a piece!

Retailer Bags

When it comes to getting the groceries from the cart to your vehicle to the customers’ residence, however, you will likely rely on store bags.

Most retailers have plastic or paper bags for anyone to use and take, so no issues there.

If you run into the retailer that charges for bags, your Shopper card already has enough cash on it to cover any extra fees – it’s why customers get charged extra at first.

However, if you are shopping in an area where there is a plastic bag ban, this can prove a knottier problem.

You can take your insulated bags into the store with you and use those to bring the groceries to your vehicle.

However, what do you do when you deliver the groceries? You can’t leave your insulated bags, after all – you reuse those.

You have a few options.

First, you can ask the customer in the app before shopping if they prefer to spend a little extra on reusable or paper bags (which you can add to the order).

Tell them you’re asking because they have ordered groceries from a store in an area where there is a ban on plastic bags.

If they say no, you must explain to them that means their groceries will have to be left, unbagged, at their residence or handed over, item by item.

Does Instacart Give You Reusable Bags?

Does Instacart Give You Reusable Bags?

Instacart doesn’t give you reusable insulated bags, but they do make it less of a financial burden to purchase them when you first start out with the company.

If you opt to purchase your insulated bags from Instacart, you can receive four upfront.

Then, when you earn $30 or more doing batches, they will deduct the cost from your balance.

This helps lessen the overhead for new shoppers, and the bags look great in use, too.

Does Instacart Use Paper Bags?

Instacart delivers groceries in whatever bags the actual store uses.

So for example, if it’s Target, shoppers will likely use Target’s plastic bags.

Or if it’s Aldi, shoppers tend to use their paper bags, though I personally have also received my groceries in a few variations of their plastic bags.

When I do Aldi pick-up, the groceries are always bagged in paper bags.

How Do You Bag Groceries For Instacart?

Instacart offers its own little guide to bagging groceries, to help ensure shoppers impress customers and get the best ratings.

They suggest grouping items by type – for example, frozen goods together, refrigerated, canned items.

Some musts include keeping raw products, like meats, away from all the other items.

That way, if there’s a leak, it doesn’t ruin other items. Another way to help prevent this is to put raw items in their own plastic bags, tie them up and then double-bag them.

I must say, I’ve experienced first-hand poor bagging, numerous times, with raw meats.

The bagger wasn’t careful, punctured the meat container and soaked through the paper bag.

When I went to pick it up off my porch – splat. Everything in that bag fell out as the bottom gave way to oversaturation from raw chicken juice.

Thoughtful, practical bagging is so important for Instacart shoppers to get and keep good ratings.

Does Instacart Pay For Aldi Bags?

Aldi is notorious for its lack of plastic bags – customers in the know who shop there regularly bring their reusable bags.

But what about for Instacart? Aldi does stock heavier-duty plastic bags and nice paper bags, but they aren’t free – you have to pay for them.

Does Instacart absorb that cost or does the customer?

The customer ultimately does, because Instacart adds it to their order total as a bag fee.

Instacart overcharges initially when checking out – say, a hold for $80 on an order that only comes to $65.

When the shopper enters the extra cost of the Aldi bags, that initial overcharge helps cover it, and the customer gets less-that-amount back.

If you are looking to learn more, you can also read our posts on Sam’s Club Instacart, Walgreens Instacart, and does Instacart delivers to apartments.


While Instacart does not provide bags, they do make purchasing their own insulated bags less of a financial burden.

They do this by letting shoppers pay for them after they’ve accrued a balance from shopping batches.

Otherwise, shoppers bag groceries in whatever the individual store provides, be it plastic or paper. The insulated bags are then used during transport to keep food at temperature.

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Cara Suppa

Cara Suppa has been freelance writing for over a decade and holds a BA in English and an MS in Integrated Marketing Communications. Outside of work, she is an avid cook, gardener, and discount shopper.

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