The Downside of Reusable Grocery Bags

You know those reusable cloth bags that environmentally-conscious shoppers proudly tote to the grocery store? It turns out they may be making you sick. A journalist in Denver set about testing a variety of reusable cloth bags for bacteria, and the results aren’t pretty. Several of the bags had low to moderate levels of bacteria, while two bags had much higher levels. “Wow. Wow. That is pretty impressive,” said Dr. Michelle Baron, an infectious disease expert at the University of Colorado Hospital. “We’re talking in the million range of bacteria.” The solution? Wash the bags after each use. (HT: Stuart Roy) [%comments]

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COMMENTS: 74


  1. mohammad says:

    …or throw them away :-)

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  2. Andrew says:

    Does washing the bag use more resources than recycling a paper bag and getting a new one each time?

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    • ClintJCL says:

      I’d guess washing is still advantageous, because water is used in many things that are manufactured. But it’s a tough call. Someone should do some real research and get some real data on that.

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  3. Dirty secret let out of the bag. says:

    Washing them after each use implies a use of detergent, water, and energy that surely nullifies the benefit of one fewer plastic bag having been used.

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  4. Brett says:

    Wait, if you have to wash it after each use, plus the original manufacturing input is significantly higher… how close are we to the same environmental impact for reusable bags as recycled plastic bags? Also, when a plastic bag rips it just goes into the recycling bin, when the reusable bag rips it gets tossed in the garbage.

    The first argument I can imagine is that not everyone recycles their plastic bags, but the people who are of the conscience to use reusable bags will also be likely to recycle…

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  5. Randall Nortman says:

    So what if there are bacteria on the bags? There are bacteria everywhere, particularly the keyboard you’re typing on as you munch on your sandwich, the chair you’re sitting in, the door handle on the restaurant you’re going to eat dinner at, etc. The vast, vast majority of bacteria are utterly harmless, and some of them are probably beneficial. Our species evolved in a very dirty environment without soap or bleach. We can handle almost every type of bacteria, even infectious ones, in limited quantities (excepting people with compromised immune systems).

    So are those “millions” of bacteria harmful? Do they make it onto the food? What percentage of them survive the rinsing that you’re supposed to give produce anyway before eating? What percentage survive subsequent cooking? How many are left in the end? Is it enough to actually cause disease? Before anybody makes the claim that reusable grocery bags are making those silly greenies sick, let’s see some evidence that anybody is actually getting sick from them, hm?

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  6. kaydiv says:

    So, which is worse, using up plastic or using up water (and pumping some extra detergent into the ecosystem)?

    Either way, I’m definitely going to wash my cloth bags when I get home.

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  7. Barbara Wickwire says:

    Much though depends on whether or not meat was put into recyclable bags without first being placed inside plastic bags. That alone would account for a high bacteria count since those products often leak or get contaminated. Bags holding cans and vegetables etc. would not have a high count.

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  8. Kevin says:

    It seems likely the energy used to launder the bag would exceed the energy required to manufacture a plastic bag, not to mention the damage from the detergents.

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  9. MikeBarst says:

    I wonder what that would do to the eco-friendly level of the bags.

    Theoretically it is better to make one reusable bag which may last as long as 100 plastic bags. Sure, it takes more up-front resources to make a reusable bag compared to a plastic bag, but the savings are supposed to come in the long run as no more plastic bags need to be made as long as the reusable bag is still usable.

    However, if the bag needs to be washed after each use, that uses up resources to wash the bag, and it will lower to length of time the bag can be used because of the washing’s effect.

    Are reusable bags no longer consuming fewer resources than plastic bags once washing is added to the consideration? (or even, did they ever consume fewer resources?)

    What if they are only washed after several uses instead of after each use?

    Does anyone know of any studies which might have looked at this topic?

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  10. Jason says:

    A study on illness frequency and reusable bag usage would be a lot more meaningful.

    Even the dirtier bags they tested are still probably far cleaner than our keyboards.

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  11. PaulD says:

    Bamboo cutting boards are supposedly naturally bacteria resistant. Perhaps they should make the bags from bamboo fiber.

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  12. ChefBoyRD says:

    Can I get funding to study morbidity and mortality rates for those who use disposable vs reusable grocery bags?

    Just a little perspective – your kitchen is dirtier than the bags, and your refrigerator is worse than your bathroom.

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  13. Jacquilynne says:

    I bet if they tested the shelves at the grocery store, they’d also find millions of bacteria. Or the hands of the people buying groceries. Or the belts in the checkout lane.

    That’s why you wash fruits and vegetables before you eat them, and everything else comes in packages.

    I still have my doubts about how many times I have to re-use my huge, heavy-duty reusable bags to make them less environmentally impacting than the number of thin, flimsy plastic bags I’d have used otherwise, but bacteria doesn’t even begin to factor into reasons why I care.

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  14. Al says:

    Just throw it in with your other washing. Have a few bags and it shouldn’t be an issue

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  15. Metaphorically Speaking says:

    I propose we throw the baby out with the bathwater.

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  16. Dave Kliman says:

    well then, let’s just do away with grocery stores, and grow all our material goods at home, with nanotechnology.

    Better, let’s just download all of society into software, and when we want something we can purchase it virtually. I heard virtual sales are way up this year, anyway.

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  17. DC says:

    So what? Are we licking the bags when we bring them home?

    Bacteria are everywhere. Why would grocery bags suddenly have to be sterile? Besides, virtually everything that we toss into reusable bags comes in its own packaging—sometimes several layers worth. If anything is thrown in “naked,” such as a stray apple or head of broccoli, just wash before using. Don’t you do that anyway?

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  18. chris says:

    Here’s and idea, instead of washing the bags, wash the fruit and veggies and try not to eat the packaging for you packaged food. I know cardboard tastes good and all, but for the children…

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  19. Lisa says:

    what are people putting their garbage in???? I see people using recycled bags but purchasing plastic bags for their garbage. Does this not defeat the purpose?

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  20. Ghost says:

    Washing the reusable bag does not use up more resources.

    You don’t wash the reusable bag by itself.

    It’s called Economies Of Scale — you wash the reusable bag with your regular laundry, so that no additional water or energy is consumed beyond what you would have used anyway for the regular laundry.

    Duh.

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  21. Greg says:

    Does the bacteria pose a problem? We do have an immune system – it works pretty well for the most part. Give it a try.

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  22. JB says:

    Two points:

    1) I didn’t read the study, but is there any comparison of the bacteria levels of reusable bags versus used paper/plastic bags? I would imagine it would be difficult finding disposable bags to test.

    2) All of the comments about the inefficiency of washing the bags assumes you are putting on a load of laundry with just the bags in them. Most likely you would add them to an already existing load, which would use a very marginal amount of extra resources

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  23. brent says:

    I bet my bags are disgusting! I pick up packaged meat and put it in all the time, with other stuff.

    Time for a hot water bleach washing . . .

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  24. bruce says:

    These bags never made any sense from an environmental or convenience perspective. The emperor has no clothes…

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  25. Greg says:

    The key is in not using (making) new stuff. If you have a boatload of plastic bags, reusing them is just as good as a cloth bag. Reusing plastic until it wears out (breaks, has holes, etc) might be just as good. Using an existing cloth bag might be even better.

    But can we please stop being so germaphobic?

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  26. Mike says:

    I agree completely with Randall Nortman, but he neglects the biggest container of bacteria of all — the human body. It is just covered with billions of bacteria in hundreds of varieties. And how about inside the body? Kill all the bacteria and kill the carrier. We’ve used our own bags to carry groceries for years and do not wash them with every use. What plague should we have encountered that isn’t already alive and well in the food itself? Have an egg. Eat some spinach. And on the truly ghastly side — eat some meat. All the worrywarts should visit a meat processing plant and see the various stages through which what was once an animal is sliced and diced to become a red slab of meat on a white plastic tray with a transparent plastic wrap. Then you can start worrying about that (and everything that touches it and touches. Yes I eat meat on occasion, grew up on a farm where we butchered our own and live across the street from a small beef producer whose animals are well treated and get plenty of pasture). And have so far survived for more than 70 years.

    Use reusable bags and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. Those mesh bags are best for stuffing with lots of oddly shaped groceries but are surprisingly difficult to find.

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  27. John Ellis says:

    Well, I had to laugh at this. I’ve used a small rucksack to go shopping with for > 20 years. I wash it out every few months when it get smelly (presumably due to bacteria!). Since the bag only transfers bacteria to the packaging the food comes in, its hardly a big deal. And the truck that brought it to the shop is hardly a sterile environment. Things like loose carrots you put into a flimsy plastic bag anyway. Even the stuff you eat raw you wash/scrape a bit.

    Annecdote: We had torrential rain here yesterday. A lady’s eco-friendly paper bag disintigrated as she walked along infront of me.

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  28. Jiji Rentsch says:

    keep at least a dozen of cloth bags. wash them once a week with your laundry.

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  29. KJT says:

    The amount of bacteria on a reusable bag and, therefore, how often it needs to be washed depends enormously on how the bag is used?

    It you put your reusable bag on a grocery cart seat that was previously sat on by a child in a diaper you’re asking for trouble. For that matter, you shouldn’t put anything on that seat other than a child. It’s a bacteria magnet.

    If you put meat, raw chicken or other bacteria prone items in the bag and they leak out, that’s also asking for trouble.

    So don’t be a slob, use common sense, and if the bag gets dirty, throw it in the laundry with the rest of your clothes. If you have to wash it separately, all you need is hot water, no detergent, and line dry it.

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  30. Tom G says:

    How about just not using bags? Or leaving a lot more of what you buy out of bags?

    Those cloth bags do use energy and resources to produce and no doubt a good number of them are starting to end up in landfills

    A few more trips from the car to the house that an entire cart of groceries would cause isn’t much of a hardship. The vast majority of retail trips are a lot lighter than that and there would be virtually zero difference

    With such an increased interest in behavioral economics it is surprising that the extremely easy and effective solution hasn’t been implemented. Charge a five-cent tax on all bags used. Give the revenue directly back to retailers who are the only ones who would complain

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  31. Elsie says:

    I think the key here is to use these bags smartly – wash them as needed, and use common sense. The world will not end if you have groceries like raw meat , seafood and anything that could leak placed in a plastic bag for transport home.

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  32. Doghouse Riley says:

    Greg@25 “reusing plastic till it breaks”

    The thickness of the plastic bags at all our local groceries can probably be measured in fractions of a micron. It’s a good day when they get as far as the car trunk in the store’s parking lot before ripping.

    The store employees have apparently learned this and place no more than 1.5 pounds of items by weight per bag. This means that weekly shopping for our household of five puts 25+ bags in the cart with 3-4 items in each.

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  33. Don Bixby says:

    …the people who are of the conscience to use reusable bags will also be likely to recycle…

    This is becoming less true. Some people use the reusable bags because they believe it to be the right thing to do. Others use the reusable bags because they are en vogue. Others use them because they get a few cents credit per bag at certain grocery stores.

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  34. Eric M. Jones says:

    I just feed the bags to my goats.

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  35. Nicole says:

    I’ve used reusable bags for over a decade, all of which were bags I acquired rather incidentally and weren’t purchased for the purpose. I find it funny they are becoming trendy now and I get a few pennies off my bill for using them. I find the cloth bags much easier to keep clean by tossing on top of a laundry load than the two plastic insulated bags I have, which have to be washed and disinfected by hand.

    Recycling plastic is much better than throwing it out, but the mantra is Reduce – Reuse – Recycle. First you reduce your consumption, then you reuse items, and when they are worn out, you recycle them.

    When my oldest cotton bag was so worn it had more strings than an orchestra, I tossed it into my vermicompost bin. The worms happily recycled it for me into garden fertilizer.

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  36. RaquelCMS says:

    In my opinion, the cloth bags used for grocery shopping to decrease the amount of plastic or paper bags should not be used. The experiment showed that the bags contain large amounts of bacteria. This increases the opportunity cost of the consumer in some way. Because the bag accumulates bacteria overtime, it needs to be washed consecutively, or every time it is used. Some might say that by washing the bag after 3 or 4 trips to the supermarket might work efficiently because it takes less work for maintenance. But, these germs are produced because the groceries are put together in the same place, already carrying bacteria from factories and the supermarket it comes from. So, by having the cloth bag for a supermarket, you will need to have spare time to wash it every time used or, have bacteria around your food and kitchen.
    The alternative for this is to keep using paper or plastic bags. Not only are these bags free to the supermarket consumer, but also it spares time since you wont need to wash them. Also, these bags can be re-used as trash bags or be thrown away in recycling bins.

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  37. Emmi says:

    I really hate stories like this because they detract from the important message at hand. Plastic AND paper bags are incredibly wasteful and harmful to wildlife.

    Grocery stores are getting all kitschy and making cheap $1 bags to sell so they can make a profit – the take-away message we all need is this: being “green” is about investing in products that will last and will ulitmately not be wasteful or harmful.

    Buy a well-made, durable washable cloth bag. Chico bags also make a great product and you can send back the old bags if they rip and Chico will make rugs out of them.

    I simply throw my cloth / chico bags in the laundry along with the tablecloths, kitchen towels and oven mitts. Problem solved.

    Plastic is evil. Witness this video and sorry it contains sappy music, I’d rather the information stand on its own but it’s still vital to know.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVjue0R5tHQ

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  38. Emmi says:

    Plastics, by the way, do not biodegrade. They **photodegrade* and create toxic chemicals in the ocean. Along with plastic wrap and other sources of bpa, they create synthetic estrogen and may create much nastier illnesses (think cancer) than a simple bacterial infection.

    But lazy is as lazy does. Invest in a washable bag and then wash it. It’s not rocket science.

    If people don’t give a rat’s behind what they’re doing to the oceans or marine animals, that’s no reason to reinforce it with a doomsday post about how being green is somehow “harmful”. At least paint the whole picture.

    It takes loads of water and wood products to make paper bags too, deforestation is a severely underrated problem.

    The next challenge will to go green without using up all our water (corn products, for example). Stuff that **lasts** is our best shot. Reuse, reuse, reuse. And reduce.

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  39. Rob says:

    I already wash my clothes; what exactly is the marginal cost of throwing in a grocery bag or two on top? It’s not like I need to reserve an entire wash cycle for a single bag.

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  40. murphstahoe says:

    Those plastic bags never degrade. The cloth bag wears out, it can be composted.

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  41. Matt says:

    Every time you breathe you inhale “millions of bacteria”.

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  42. tch says:

    The solution is of course to line the cloth sacks with cheap polymer liners that can be replaced after each use.

    -Disposable plastic bags to protect the permanent cloth bags-

    Ahh, I’m not sure any longer if Kermit was right.

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  43. rachael says:

    we are sanitizing ourselves into extinction. as organic entities interacting with an even larger organic environment it would do us well to assume the age old mantra of “what doesn’t kill you makes you strong.” how much money did they spend to come to the conclusion that reuseable bags are, like everything else in the world we know, crawling with living things?

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  44. LisetteCMS says:

    Regardless of being healthier for the environment, cloth bags carry around accumulated bacteria from the food they carry. These bags were good for consumers not only because they didn’t harm the environment as much as plastic or paper bags, but also because they didn’t require maintenance time from the consumers despite their small cost. The issue presented in this article demonstrates how the users of these bags must now start washing them to avoid bacteria accumulation. So, not only will these bags cost money, but also maintenance time, while the people using them might have a high opportunity cost of doing considering that time is scarce and everybody would rather spend their time doing something more productive. When acting in rational self-interest, people would then most likely go back to using paper and plastic bags when shopping, since they wouldn’t have to pay anything for them or spend time maintaining them. The only time they’d need would be just for throwing these out for recycling. If stores were to put small prices on their bags, then people would most probably buy the cloth ones and spend a couple of minutes a week to wash the bags. It all depends on the person and the opportunity cost they have of doing this activity.

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  45. MariolaCMS says:

    People started using these bags as a way to help the environment and reduce costs. However, in my opinion this is basically the same as using those dispensable plastic bags you get in supermarkets. If you have to wash these bags every time you use them because of the bacteria they held, you are going to be using a lot of resources. These are: time (very valuable), water, detergent or soap, therefore you’ll be using electricity and spending more money on soap, since you will have to wash EVERY bag. Isn’t this the same as using dispensable plastic bags?
    Maybe, if they find other solutions to these bags, we could save more and help the resources and environment. A possible solution could be creating recycling areas in the businesses where they use this bags. Every time you go, you drop the previous bags that you had used, and they take care of sending them to a recycling company… who knows, maybe it could be more efficient.

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  46. JoseACMS says:

    This is a very interesting discovery, who would’ve thought that these “environmentally healthy” bags actually contained high levels of bacteria in them. Upon reading the article, the fist thing that crossed my mind was the effect this discovery would have on the bags productivity. If this information goes mainstream, the demand for these bags may drastically go down. Needless to say, consumers will go ahead and buy other bags that even if they are a bit more expensive, will surely keep them healthy.

    I have to point out however, that this is being blown out of proportion. The truth is, that there are thousands of bacteria everywhere we touch. In our keyboards, cellphones, handles etc. Us humans, by nature, have bodies that were made to withstand many of these bacteria. So if the marginal cost of having these bags will be to wash them every so often, while having the benefit of a bag that will last you long and that probably won’t make you sick, so be it.

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  47. MonicaCMS says:

    Its better to use the plastic grocery bags, rather than a cloth bag. Though one is recyclable, the input money to care for them is high. While you can think that you are helping the environment by not using plastic, you are using other sources to input pollution to the air. Moreover, you have to spend all this extra money on products to wash this bag and to take care of it. Washing something many times diminishes its quality, and knowing fabric, it disintegrates the more you wash it. So it’s not an investment neither for you or the environment. I would personally stick to the plastic bags and try not to break them often, take care of them and re use them until they break. Plastic is cheaper than cloth.

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  48. keylaCMS says:

    The benefits of using reusable grocery bags exceed the benefits of using normal plastic bags. First of all, washing the reusable bag will not make you use up any more resources than you already are using, since you can just throw it in with your normal load of clothes. Second of all, you will always have the same bag to use for your groceries, instead of getting tons of them every time you get groceries and throwing them away, which causes great harm to our environment. I have seen reusable bags made out of many different types of materials (not only cloth) and if people really want to use them they can go ahead buy a different type. Also it should be obvious that after you use a cloth bag, it should be washed. To me it is not a surprise that these carry tons of bacteria, but bacteria are everywhere, especially in grocery stores, and there is no way to avoid that.

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  49. theflyingdragonCMS says:

    In my opinion after the discovery of these results, grocery stores should stop using the bags. In one hand you are doing the world a favor by re-using bags and thus using them more productively and effectively. In the other hand the bacteria found on these bags could really hurt the consumers. Hence this comes down to trade offs, what are you more willing to sacrifice your health or the Earth?s wellbeing? As stated before I would be more willing to sacrifice millions of bags that consequently hurt the environment than getting sick.

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  50. BGuhl says:

    But what kind of bacteria? What kind of “cloth”? There is nothing here that proves a health risk.

    But if you are wondering what type of bag is best for CO2 emissions, look no further:

    http://bioblog.biotunes.org/bioblog/2009/09/25/paper-or-plastic/

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  51. ChristianCMS says:

    “Am not using more recycled bags” is the common reaction people will make once reading this article. Recycled bags are used everywhere from supermarkets to shopping bags. After one reads this article you react and say you will not go to places that use recycled bags affecting those who use the bags. Besides that, in order for supermarkets or store to avoid getting less consumers their demands for recycled bag will decrease (shifting left DEMAND CURVE on demand for recycled bags).

    I suggest to stop using this bags because the opportunity cost of spending time and money on cleaning a bag rather than cleaning the stores or markets is high. MHMM i got a feeling all those entreprenuers that seeked economic prosperity on making recycled bags got to find a new job.

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  52. MunirCMS says:

    In my opinion, cloth bags are not the best ideas, and now that they carry high levels of bacteria. Supermarkets should stop using those cloth because its both bad for them and bad for the customers. First, if customers see that the bags they are putting their food in make them sick, they would stop going to that supermarket because they give out infected bags. This would also be bad for consumers because they would have to take out time to wash the bags making sure they are not infected. Overall, supermarkets need to stop using cloth bags and start using plastic bags because they are both recyclable and not infected.

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  53. Tg3 says:

    I have a really hard time remembering to take the cloth bags to the store when I go. Now I have to wash them? No.

    How are you going to play me like that, Science?

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  54. Rui says:

    I have to say this is a kind of “no news”..

    The same study was made regarding womens hand bags, and that study is more shocking that this one, included some coliphorme bacterias on them.

    In a world with extra sanitization maybe a good dose of bacteria could be more helpfull that we think.

    Just think of the unintended consequences of sanitization in children growth of allergies.

    Regards

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  55. Emmi says:

    @Monica, Mariola and Munir CMS

    Just an FYI, I’m not sure where you got the idea that these bags use tons of natural resources and time. I have a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies – I can assure you, plastic and paper bags are extremely harmful to the environment. Reuseable bags are helpful.

    The cloth bags are made of a type of cotton. Chico bags are a type of nylon. Both are extremely strong and should last a lifetime, they may even last long enough so that your children can use them.

    The bags are flat. When people are done unloading the groceries, they toss them in the laundry bin with the rest of the laundry. The time used is exactly one swing of your arm. Maybe less than one second a week.

    The natural resources cost is zero. The bags are flat – they fit in with the rest of the laundry and in fact a fuller load means you’re making the most of the soap and hot water.

    The cost of paper bags is wood products – forests with trees whose leaves filter the air and reduce global warming. Tons of water is required to make mass amounts of paper bags.

    Plastic is a petroleum product. Remember the Gulf oil spill? This is what you’re supporting. Also the plastic bags get blown around and end up on islands. There, birds skim the water for food and end up ingesting the plastic. It fills their stomach so they cannot eat and they starve.

    Watch the video to which I posted a link to earlier. Or read Eye of the Albatross by Carl Safina to see what shocking harm these bags are doing to our oceans.

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  56. Andreas Kadavanich says:

    Did anybody test some disposable plastic bags for bacteria?

    I’m just asking because they’re usually stored in rather publicly exposed places with hundreds of people passing by each day before they get used.

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  57. Stephanie says:

    Well, the bacteria don’t spontaneously arise from the bags, they come from whatever you’re putting in the bags, which means that this immense variety of bacteria is already on your food… so it doesn’t really matter what kind of bag you’re using.

    I wash my bags after every 5 uses or so, or whenever food or coffee gets spilled in them. It doesn’t take up more water because I just put them in with my clothes.

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  58. Shane says:

    I have tried to use my regular old school bag for carrying groceries and other shopping. Unwashed ;) Probably not that clean or healthy, but I haven’t even had a cold in several years!

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  59. recycle says:

    Thanks for bloging about this. Something else that you might find interesting in return is this video I saw on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LRbBJilO3I

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  60. Terence says:

    I throw my bag in with my weekly laundry. Using the same amount of water and detergent. Also, a few less bags to clog up the ocean.

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  61. Murthy says:

    It is unnecessary to worry so much about bacteria. Your cell phones are worse from this perspective… so do you wash your cell phone everyday or twice/thrice everyday? you never wash your cell phone;

    reuse cloth bags; wash them after several use; should not be a problem;

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  62. houseofmidi says:

    “”We’re talking in the million range of bacteria,” she said.” – is that a SI unit of Bacteria?

    This statistic is meaningless unelss its compared to the average occurabnce of colonies of bacteria in say the supermarket itself or the home.

    these sort of numbes aare pure fear-mongering.

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  63. pedro mardones says:

    you know that the rise in allergic disease are due in part because we are living to clean so a bit of bacteria could be good, perhaps we had less allergy before bacause of the reutilizabe bags our mother and grand mothers use.
    Just check if the dirt is to much and clen it if there is somthing spoil in it
    If you persist A good idea could be to incorporate cooper in the bag it has a antibacterial efect

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  64. Jill says:

    Funny, we sterilize everything that goes into a baby’s mouth, and then– baby starts eating dirt. Maybe that baby’s onto something…..

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  65. Rosie says:

    Throwing a few reusable bags in the washer with the rest of the laundry does not use more water or more soap!

    Just have enough bags so you always have fresh clean ones! You don’t need to be a genius to figure this one out!

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  66. ikana says:

    One theory about autoimmune diseases is that some may come about when people aren’t exposed to *enough* bacteria.

    And yeah, how hard is it to throw the cloth bag in the wash if it starts to get a bit sticky?

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  67. Kathy says:

    Most likely these bacteria are not harmful, and they have to attach themselves to your food, most of which is still over-packaged, so the risk is small. But remember – most bacteria need moisture to live – so the easy solution is to turn your bags wrong side out after you unpack them, and leave them somewhere where they’ll dry out before your next trip to the market.

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  68. echo says:

    If you throw them in with a full load…you won’t be “wasting” resources” and there is no need to wash after every use…but rather, on a regular basis, like your dish towels, etc. Just to reiterate, a little bacteria is not harmful as long as you take the normal culinary precautions of washing produce and cooking meat, etc.

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  69. Project GreenBag says:

    Just wash your bags with your clothes. Boom, zero added impact!

    A Project GreenBag is the sustainable, eco-friendly alternative to plastic bags. 100% organic cotton, biodegradable, made in San Francisco CA.

    http://www.projectgreenbag.com
    http://www.facebook.com/ProjectGreenBag
    http://twitter.com/ProjectGreenBag/

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  70. Iris says:

    Big surprise – there are microorganisms in our lives, and they even live within your shopping bag. I have used cloth shopping bags for 20 years. Most of these get washed maybe once a year, otherwise just shaken out. I buy food from the farmers market and the store every week. I have yet to get sick from these bags. Would be interesting to compare the risk from your reusable shoppiing bags to that of touching a door knob.
    Why not talk about the long-term risks of putting all that plastic into the environment which is just breaking down into smaller pieces of plastic, and which we are all starting to eat? Or the stuff that is coming out of the plastic packaging and contaminating the food?

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  71. The time just isn’t too far off when we can be ready to use our cell phones in physical stores to get coupons and redeem them, without ever utilizing any paper or copying anything. And these are not simply predictions. There is certainly a company working on this suitable now. It really is called ShoppingTrip360. It uses smart light sensitive shelves in order to know when a product is picked up or place back down. It can alert the store to a stockout immediately, and it can even alert the staff to a misplaced item, as long as that item has a completely different shape than the item that is supposed to be in that place. But what does that have to do with coupons? They’re also working on extending that program to provide cell phones with information about the solutions near the customer. Then the cell phone would be in a position to search out coupons for the customer based on the goods suitable next to him or her! That way, without obtaining to look stuff up and bring stuff with you, you’re able to decide the lowest priced product on the shelves right in front of you just after taking coupons into account! It shall be a no-hassle approach of obtaining coupons.

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  72. MC says:

    Grow all your own food. Then you don’t have to go to the store and use something to carry it home in.

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  73. Seapebble says:

    Another great solution is to use reusable bags that can be wipe cleaned. I am using kerribags (www.kerribag.com) for four years now and I never had a hygiene issue.
    I also think that all environmentally-conscious shoppers that proudly tote to the grocery store with their reusable bags have every right to be proud.

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