Plastic Industry-Funded Study Finds That Reusable Bags Shoud Be Washed More

The Los Angeles Times recently ran an article entitled What's in your shopping bag? Bacteria. (But, hey, it's natural!)

The article discusses a study on reusable bags that was funded by the American Chemistry Council - the biggest plastics lobbying organization in the country.

The researchers asked shoppers if they wash their reusable bags.  97% of shoppers polled reported that they do not regularly wash the bags.  83 out of the 84 bags sampled contained bacteria.  No bacteria was found in new plastic or cloth bags (surprise!).  Machine-washing reusable bags reduced bacteria by more than 99.9%

Our conclusions:

  • The study was created to stir up unwarranted public health concerns over AB 1998;
  • A very small sample size of only 84 bags was used;
  • Machine washing would eliminate the threat of bacteria, therefore plastic bag laws should require that reusable bags be machine-washable and perhaps require a warning that  the bags should indeed be washed.