Friday, November 4, 2011

Are reusable shopping bags unsanitary?

Ask Ida

Dear Ida B. Green,

I've heard a lot lately about bacteria in reusable shopping bags. What can I do about that?


Still Reusing

Dear Reusing,

Glad to hear you've chosen reusable bags and are thinking about making this your healthiest option. The fear tactics of politics have a lot to do with what you've been hearing lately. This misinformation got started with large Internet coverage of a small study funded by the American Chemistry Council, a trade group that works on the behalf of plastic-bag manufactures. Shoppers, retailers and whole countries are moving away from plastic bags and leaning toward the sustainable alternative—reusable shopping baskets and bags. This has made some corporations in the plastics industry pretty nervous, and tales of bacteria and jobs lost are being tossed around as a desperate response.

To put your mind at ease, reusable bags will not make you sick and no jobs will be lost if/when our one local store drops its bag orders from the Jerome bag producer. Reusable bags are your best environmental (and style) choice and a healthy choice for you and for the planet. Remember, just like your hands, counters or eating utensils, wash your bags when they're dirty.

And always consider your source of information before swallowing a bunch of baloney. Check out a report on this study from Consumer Report at

Keep it Green,


—Elizabeth Jeffrey

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