Most people are aware that plastic grocery bags can be harmful to the environment and more and more shoppers are choosing not to use them. In fact, some countries have an outright ban on them – including Bangladesh and Rwanda. Other cities in England, India, Australia and Mexico have started to ban or tax them as well. The United States has followed suit, with some cities – such as Los Angeles, California; Westport, Connecticut; Bethel, Alaska; Brownsville, Texas and Edmonds, Washington – banning plastic bags. And it looks like more will follow their lead. So, with canvas bags poised to become the primary transportation of groceries to home, what’s the best way to use and care for canvas bags? Community Blog Online has some tips for shoppers who are going greener.
When using canvas bags, it’s important to separate vegetables and meat. Just like in the refrigerator, people need to be wary of cross contamination between raw meat and vegetables. Raw meat is occasionally contaminated with salmonella, which is destroyed when properly cooked. However when the meat is raw, bacteria can be transferred to cutting boards, counter tops…and reusable bags. So, it’s important that reusable bags are washed often.
However, the issue of meat aside, even bags that are designated “vegetable bags” need to be washed frequently. Little bits of vegetables may fall off when being transported, and that can cause bacteria to grow.
Also, between washings people should not store their reusable bags in their car – especially in the summer. That will cause bacteria to grow even faster. Even though it’s convenient to store bags in the car, make sure that they are clean when they are stored there.
Using reusable bags can be a bit more involved than just throwing out plastic bags, but it’s not difficult to help the environment and stay safe at the same time. Canvas bags can be washed just like sheets or towels, and non-woven polypropylene bags can be scoured with soap and water and air-dried.