Reusable Shopping Bags

Ecofriendly Reusable Shopping Bags


When you go to your supermarket, if you are offered a choice between plastic shopping bags or paper shopping bags, Which do you choose?

To be eco-friendly, you’ll refuse both.

Choose a reusable shopping bag instead.

It all comes down to the usual eco-friendly mantra: Use re-usables, NOT disposables!

BUT you might have heard about or seen this report:

“Reusable Shopping Bags Are Full of Bacteria”

Well, that dismayed a lot of people.

“I want to be eco-friendly and use reusable shopping bags, but I’m not going to risk my health” I kept hearing.

So I researched this report on reusable shopping bags.

In my opinion, no one needs to worry.  Here’s why.

reusable shopping bags

reusable shopping bags

  1. The study was funded by the plastics industry – they presumably don’t want to see you using reusable shopping bags.  In other words, they might have a vested interest in the results.
  2. Many of the bags sampled did indeed contain bacteria such as E. coli.  But most strains of E. coli are harmless – and tellingly, the report did not specify which strains were found.
  3. The lead author of this study on reusable shopping bags did admit in an interview that the findings do not suggest there will be an outbreak of disease if people switch to reusable shopping bags.  Indeed, the report simply concludes that the public should be educated about keeping them clean.

The media have been quite quick to point out the more sensational headlines (point 2 above, for example) without explaining that not all E. coli is harmful.

Having said that, I do believe that some common sense procedures will help to ensure there are no problems as more people (hopefully) make the change to reusable shopping bags.

  • As a general rule, you don’t want to put raw meat into a bag which you later use for apples and lettuce (foods that you eat raw).  Placing fresh produce into a bag you’ve used for your gym clothes is probably not a good idea either.  So I use different types and/or colours of reusable shopping bags for fresh produce, to make it easy.
  • Wash the bags every now and again.  Some people suggest washing between every use – personally, I find that a little extreme.  I find it easier to simply schedule a wash of cloth bags along with my normal washing, for example, with towels or when I don’t have a full load.  Bags made from sturdy plastic (for example, recycled tetra pack juice containers) can simply be wiped clean with a cloth.

Just use common sense.

It’s the same as anything else.   You keep yourself clean, your clothes clean, and your home clean.  Why should your reusable shopping bags be any different?

Be ecofriendly.

Use reusables, not disposables.

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