Did I just sense some of you cringing? Yes, I’ll admit… the latest news reports had me a little squeamish too, but let’s keep it in perspective and DO NOT let ourselves be led to think that reusable bags aren’t the right choice (it still IS absolutely the right choice!).
If you haven’t heard the buzz: “A study from the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University in California found that most people who bring their own bags to the grocery store don’t wash or clean them regularly – and the researchers also discovered a large number of bacteria present in the reusable bags.” Take a look at the study but you can also read more about the topic at Earth 911.
Admittedly, I’m not a frequent-reusable-bag-washer either. But I do have a fairly simple plan for combatting these cooties! First of all, I have a set of bags dedicated to grocery shopping. I tied a red ribbon on the handle of the bag meant for only meat products. On the handle of the produce-dedicated bag, you guested it… a green ribbon. It’s easy to just let the cashier know where you need your items placed (sure, sometimes they aren’t thrilled, but oh well!).
If this still leaves you a bit unsettled, well, there’s another simple way to ease your mind… (hold onto your hats!)… wash… your… bags.
And in all reality, even the EPA admits that most of the bacteria doesn’t even pose a health threat. Afterall, there’s more bacteria on the handle of the gas pump you just used to fill-up your car!
So, my green friends, do NOT be deterred. Reusable bags are, and always will be, the way to go. (The harm plastic bags create is much greater!) Just periodically let them go for a little swim in your washing machine and, I promise you, all will be well.