Reusable shopping bags need monthly bath – Bangor Daily News

Reusable shopping bags need monthly bath – Bangor Daily News.

Lots of people are turning to reusable bags when they shop. They may be reacting to estimates that hundreds of millions of plastic shopping bags are used once and thrown away every year. They may believe (correctly, we think) that carrying a reusable bag to the supermarket or farmers’ market is a way of acting locally.

But they may not be doing enough, and their health may suffer as a result…

Here is where the rest of the local action comes in. Reusable bags can hold water much better than plastic; they need to be washed regularly, either by hand or in the washer.

Washing removes virtually all the bacteria and greatly cuts the risk of spreading them. Give the same treatment to cloth lunch bags, and use bags that carry food for that purpose only.

Jason Bolton of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension says washing the bags at least once a month is key. He suggests having meats and uncooked goods wrapped separately before being placed in the reusable bags.

Enjoy the foods you love, and carry them in a way that makes you feel good. But make sure to guard yourself and your family against unwanted side effects from your efforts.


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