Sunday, June 15, 2014

Grocery Bags Can Carry More Than Food

Yesterday I bought several packages of meat at the grocery store.  At the checkout I had them put the meat into the reusable bag I'd brought in with me.  One of the packages hadn't been wrapped well and some meat juice seeped onto the nylon bag.  Normally when that happens I just spot-wash the bag well with soapy water and let it dry, but when I realized it had been a while since any of my bags had been thoroughly cleaned I decided to throw them all into the washer and take care of the job all at once..

Did you know that reusable grocery bags get dirty?  I didn't until I heard about a 2010 study from the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University in California that found food-borne bacteria like E. coli in as many as in half of the bags they sampled.  Some sources recommend you wash the bags after each use; others recommend weekly or monthly cleanings.   My bags hadn't been done within even the longest time frame.

I have a motley collection of bags (which I store folded inside a tote bag) that I've acquired from a variety of sources.  The ones that are shaped like paper bags with flat bottoms and sturdy handles get used on every shopping trip.  Several others are pulled out on big grocery store runs, and a couple of them hardly ever get unfolded.

Half of the bags are made out of polypropylene, and I turned those inside out as I threw them into the washing machine. The rest of the bags are cotton or cotton blends. I didn't bother turning them. When the load was done the natural-fiber bags went in the dryer. I hung the others outside on the deck chairs. The weather was warm, and it didn't take long for them to dry.  I folded all the bags and put them back into the car, where they're waiting for tomorrow's grocery shopping trip.

Five years ago today: Gluten For Pun-ishment

14 comments:

  1. Yep... that is a job I need to get to. I really need to get to USING them.

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    1. I had to train myself to bring bags into stores with me. Now it's second nature.

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  2. I had heard how germy they become...just something that we don't think about!
    I used them faithfully until I got all these cats. Now I prefer the plastic recycled ones at the grocery...they are great for litter scooping. lol....

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    1. You're doing your part by reusing the bags you get :-)

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  3. I hardly ever see anyone using their own bags here. I do reuse the plastic bags I get at the store.

    I did know that you should wash them periodically though. And that does make sense.

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    1. I do my 'big' shopping at Aldi (where you have to pay for grocery bags). Most people bring some type of bags with them.

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  4. yes I did know that we have to wash the re-usables...they are about due.

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    1. You're welcome for the reminder :-)

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  5. I have used my own bags for over 30 years, and a couple of mine are that old. A local grocery store gave them away and even today, when I use them at that store, the clerks are amazed that the store gave them out and that I still have them. I do wash them regularly. The stores in California pretty much require your own bags or they will charge you for a bag. Just had this happen at Nordstroms.

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    1. Although one of my bags was one Son Donald used in preschool (and he just turned 26!), the rest are substantially newer than that. I find that the washing process isn't kind to some of the promotional models.

      I have a lightweight tote made from an old sari that stows into an attached stuff sack that I keep in my purse for any time I need a bag and have forgotten to bring one.

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  6. That's one of those jobs that never make it to my "to do" list - until now. Thanks for the reminder!

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    1. You're welcome! I help you, you help me. That's the wonder of the Internet

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  7. And here my husband told me that I should throw them out and replace them periodically. I have some cloth/paper/meshy types that seem like they would disintegrate in the washer. Have you washed those? I didn't know the polypropylene bags could go in the washer either. (Didn't even know they were polypropelyne ( I call them plastic/meshy). I have a number of those and will try washing them.

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    1. If you wash them and they fall apart then you'll be FORCED to replace them :-)

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