Bring Back Reusable Bags
This editorial is an opinion publication for The Mountain Ear published on 08 September 2020
There are a number of things we can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19 but using plastic bags at the grocery store is not one of them. Unfortunately, the corona virus was the excuse the plastic industry needed to reopen the door to removing plastic bag bans and fees, which were in force in over 400 cities, including Nederland.
Our county’s recycling center, Eco-cycle, notes that in March 2020, the plastics industry requested that the Dept. of Health and Human Services rollback bans and fees out of safety concerns. However, there is no evidence that plastic bags increase worker or consumer safety.
In fact, the virus was shown in one study to be infectious for 48-72 hours on plastic but only 24 hours on paper or cardboard. While fabric bags weren’t studied, Lisa Maragakis, MD, senior director of infection prevention at Johns Hopkins Health System, says that transmission is less likely from soft surfaces, like fabrics.
Eco-cycle says that reusable grocery bags can be safely used without increasing the risk of spreading COVID-19. The California Division of OSHA recommends that when using reusable bags that it should be the customers who bags their own groceries and that customers should leave their bags in the shopping cart while they bag.
We know enough now that we don’t have to choose between keeping safe from the virus and reducing plastic pollution in our environment. I hope our local, Nederland grocery stores once again allow us to bring our reusable bags and bag our own groceries in the cart.
For more information, see Eco-Cycle’s statement “End Rollbacks of Plastic Pollution Reduction Policies During the COVID-19 Pandemic” on their website.
Candidate for Boulder County Commissioner
...Originally published by The Mountain Ear HERE