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Misleading reusable bag study: Canada panics

The results of a recent study on reusable produce bags has been making the news for weeks, and it might have been a lot more interesting if the study wasn’t conducted on behalf of plastic bag manufacturers.

Last year, testing of reusable bags conducted by the Canadian Plastics Industry Association, on behalf of the producers of plastic grocery bags, found several types of bacteria and mould in reusable bags. Lots of people, from local politicians to  environmental groups (like the Toronto Environmental Alliance) condemned the study as a desperate attempt by plastic bag manufacturers to save their dying industry.

It’s also likely that some of the more nasty bacteria found in the bags during these tests depended on their uses. Some reusable bags had been used for more than three years, never washed, and could have been used to cart around gym shoes or stash a dirty diaper: one-third of consumers who use reusable bags use them to carry non-food items.

Making the news now is another recent study by the American Chemistry Council (who represent plastic bag manufacturers through their Plastics Division), which had similar results as the first study.

Left out of the studies were single-use plastic bags, which are frequently reused around the home before being thrown out or finally deteriorating, which can also contain the same bacteria after coming into contact with various grocery items like uncooked meats.

Lots of consumers hold on to their plastic grocery bags. It’s a feel-good way to slow down their journey to the landfill, side of the road or our oceans, and they can be used to line household garbage bins, contain pet waste or pack a last-minute lunch. In most cases, they still end up in the garbage.

There are also no reports of people getting sick from reusable plastic bags because most food carried home from the grocery store in the bags is washed or cooked before eating.

The best reusable bags are washable and are the only type of bags we carry at ICE GREEN. As for frequency, we recommend washing your reusable bags every so often with soap and hot water, as is recommended by Health Canada.

About ICEGREEN Reusable Bags:
Ice Green is one of the largest manufacturers of lead free and contaminant-free reusable bags, and custom reusable bags in North America, serving a wide variety of businesses and industries both small and large (Beverage Companies, Grocery Stores, Hotels, Pharmaceuticals and much more.)  With distribution centers across North America and factories as far away as China (ISO-9001-2000-certified), we regularly manufacture and ship around the globe. And, as the manufacturer, you’re dealing directly with us, saving you time and money.  Looking for the best in lead free reusable bags?  Contact ICEGREEN today.