OK, so you try to do the right thing. You purchase a reusable grocery bag at the store. It’s one of those thin canvas or polyethylene bags from your local grocer. You feel good about your purchase, thinking you’re joining the fight to clean up our environment and create less waste. Good for you!!
Days go by. Than weeks. You use the bag several times a week for groceries, trips to the pharmacy, the farmer’s market, toting your must-haves around, maybe even a trip to the gym – simply out of convenience. Then one day you’re shopping at the store, you grab your reusable grocery bag only to find the smell knocks you (and your checkout person) over as you begin to pack it with groceries.
Hhhmmmm …. you pause and realize you’ve never actually cleaned this bag after using it over and over again. You’ve put raw meats and fish in that bag nestled side by side with your apples and lettuce. Enter, sinking feeling.
So here’s the scoop on those inexpensive reusable grocery bags. Warning: This might make you run to the bathroom to heave.
First off, most of the bags purchased at your local grocer (e.g. Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Wal-mart, Home Depot) .. .well, they are made overseas (China, Vietnam, etc.). Yes they are cheap but they don’t last long and are difficult to clean well (if they are not machine washable). So buying them takes jobs away from Americans and takes a toll on the environment as those bags make their way to the USA.
Secondly, people forget that “reusable” doesn’t mean “self cleaning”. According to the Chicago Tribune, researchers from the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University asked shoppers in Arizona and California about their reusable shopping bag washing habits. The results were astonishing. “97%, in fact — reported that they do not regularly, if ever, wash the bags.” ICK! They also confirmed that most people do not separate out their groceries, putting raw meats in a separate bag from their veggies and fruits. DOUBLE ICK!
“The researchers tested 84 of the bags for bacteria. They found whopping amounts in all but one bag, and coliform bacteria (suggesting raw-meat or uncooked-food contamination) in half. And yes, the much-feared E. coli was among them — in 12% of the bags.” Feel free to faint now .. or hurl.
So now you’re feeling bad about your purchase. (Sad face)
Enter ECO Chic bags and shopping totes. This is one of the main reasons I created my company. I wanted to reduce environmental waste. Look, I have a 5 year old and I passionately want her to have a healthy clean planet as she grows up. It’s my responsibility as a parent to want that for her. Not to mention that I am a HUGE animal advocate. It breaks my heart to know that we are littering our oceans with waste and our marine life has to feel the ramifications of that. How would you feel if someone dumped their trash in your house?
I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been at the beach and my little one will clammer to collect a plastic bag floating in the waves and than proudly recite that she just saved a turtle’s life because he won’t be eating that bag for lunch. (proud mama!)
I also want to keep you safe and healthy which is why I make my bags and totes machine washable. You use it and throw it right in the machine. Voile! It’s all clean and ready for your use again. That is my main goal, even before fashion, when scouring for new fabrics for my designs. No matter how gorgeous or perfect a fabric may be (and I’ve had to pass by many gorgeous fabrics), if it’s not machine washable, it doesn’t make the cut.
I would have to say durability is the other factor in my creations. I take great pride in designing and sewing these bags to be long lasting and durable. My mom still uses bags I made for her back in 2012 at the start of my company. They still look perfectly new after repeated use and many, many washings.
I don’t want you to feel disheartened about your reusable bag purchase from your local grocer. Your heart was in the right place and you are helping to clean up our planet. But now that you know the facts, maybe it’s time to switch? And if you find a reusable grocery bag that you like better than ECO Chic … buy it!
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Each and every time.
Bye bye nasty grocery bag germs. You’re history.