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Reusable Grocery Bags-Ecofriendly Shopping Bags!

Updated on June 2, 2010

Since the late 1990’s, some supermarkets have started todiscourage the uses of disposable plastic bags and have been offering thealternative reusable environmentally friendly shopping bags for a small fee. Inmost cases the non-woven polypropylene bags cost them around 25 cents and are beingsold for a dollar or two. Because of this the reusable shopping bags, made fromfabrics such as canvas or woven recycled synthetic fibers, are finally startingto take over for the nature endangering plastic bags. The reusable shoppingbags are becoming one of the popular new fashion trends to carry everythingfrom groceries, to fabrics, to small appliances and hardware. The clothing industryeven started promoting reusable shopping bags as sustainable fashion. Famousdesigners quickly jumped on board and are now offering their ‘original logos’ etc.on shopping bags. For example check out the UK designer Anya Hindmarch, whoprinted ‘I'm Not A Plastic Bag’ onto unbleached cotton bags then went on tosell them for 15-20 bucks.

Finally, very slowly yet encouragingly steady we as a societyworldwide are becoming aware of environmental concerns. ‘Going green’ or ‘being green’ is becoming alifestyle or fashion trend and bringing one's own shopping bag makes one apart of it all.

Unfortunately, a problem has come up with the reusable bag. Shoppers do not wash these shopping bagsnearly enough and are in danger of contaminating their groceries. Increased casesof food poisoning and such are being reported everywhere. Repeated exposure toraw meats and vegetable are increasing the risk of food born illnesses. Recentstudies found that high levels of bacteria, yeast and mold contaminating thesereusable shopping bags.

The good news is that if you follow some or all the suggestionsyou’re going to be fine using your reusable shopping bags for years.

  • Always treat these grocery bags the same you doyour food prep surfaces. Use the samecleaners and hot water etc.
  • Have different colored bags and only carry rawmeats, poultry or fish in the ones designated for that only. Raw vegetables andfruit should not be carried in these bags and neither should ready to eatfoods; such as non-sealed bread for example , French stick or baguettes.
  •  Canvas shopping bags, can be washed in thewashing machine and dried in the dryer. The non-woven polypropylene bags, canbe wiped out with hot water and antibacterial dish-soap or a biodegradable soap. Now I have to admit that I have washedthese poly-bags in the washer too in hot water but did not dry them in thedryer. (This will shorten their lives considerably and will fade the colors butI think it’s well worth to know that they’re nice and clean.) It’s important tomake sure that they stay open until totally dry as you do not want mold to growin between the seams.
  • If you're handy with a sewing machine you can make your own reusable shopping bags. If you do then you can kind of 'color-code' them. The produce ones could be green, the ones for for fish blue, the ones for meat maybe red or pink or... just so that it becomes an obvious choice when you're packing up the groceries at the store. This way the ones you use for produce, meat and fish are the ones you have to take more attention to and if there was a leaky situation they're easy enough to throw into the washer.


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