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Backlash grows against reusable grocery bags

Backlash grows against reusable grocery bags

as COVID-19 spreads Need to protect workers

THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO  ~~~  March 25, 2020  (LSN)  Four years after being Massachusetts' first municipality to ban the use of plastic bags and impose fees for acquiring others at grocery stores, Cambridge this week issued an emergency order temporarily forbidding the use of reusable bags at retail stores, reflecting a growing fear they could spread the coronavirus.

CTV is reporting that  many stores are working to enforce physical distancing rules by marking spaces at check-out lines with floor stickers and hanging signs reminding patrons not to crowd each other in shopping aisles.

Some grocery stores have changed their reusable bag policy in light of the outbreak. Save-On-Foods has temporarily suspended bottle returns and the use of reusable bags in stores. Loblaws has also removed the fee for plastic grocery bags at its stores, asking customers to limit the use of reusable bags. The company notes that customers who bring reusable bags will have to bag their items themselves.

Many stores have also begun staffing employees at entrances to disinfect shopping cart handles before handing them off to customers.

While we understand how strongly the Cambridge community cares about recycling items whenever possible, reusable checkout bags that have not been sufficiently disinfected could potentially contribute to the spread of COVID-19 among staff and customers at these establishments,” Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui of Cambridge said in a statement, adding that the order also eliminates fees for bags. “This immediate action is necessary to prevent and minimize the spread of COVID-19.”

New Hampshire took similar action last week, apparently the first such statewide ban on reusable bags. Governor Chris Sununu ordered all grocery stores, supermarkets, and other retail stores to use paper or plastic.

“With identified community transmission, it is important that shoppers keep their reusable bags at home, given the potential risk to baggers, grocers, and customers.”

As we combat the coronavirus pandemic it’s important for Americans to note that many environmental initiatives that purport to “save the planet” not only restrict consumer choice and hurt the business sector— it also puts the public safety at risk.

In an effort to “go green” many states have banned disposable plastic bags at supermarkets and other retail locations causing a massive consumer shift to reusable shopping bags we’re now learning could contain the virus.

The coronravirus can live on surfaces for days, including on reusable shopping bags, which are notoriously filthy. Studies have shown that most people don’t clean their reusable bags.

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