Photo by Nina Heiser
The Plight of Reusable Bags
Due to concerns about the spread of coronavirus, the once-ubiquitous reusable shopping bags were banned from supermarkets across the country, starting with the New Hampshire ban in March. Since then it has seemed that the reusables might just be washed up, hung out to dry, and placed in storage indefinitely.
The unfortunate, and I hope unintended, outcome has been the reversal of laws banning single-use plastic bags. Since 2007 when San Francisco was the first in the country to ban single-use plastic bags, many states and municipalities have followed suit in an effort to lessen the environmental impact of plastics pollution on land, in air, and at sea. This had led to ever-increasing reusable bag use-- until the pandemic arrived on the scene.
Luckily, we're beginning to see the lifting of these temporary moratoriums on reusable bags, state by state, city by town. The bags should of course be washed between uses – by hand with warm-to-hot soapy water, or in a washing machine with detergent and hot water. Disinfectants may also be used. The bags should be completely dried before storing until your next supermarket run.