March 12, 2020

TO AVOID COVID-19 AND OTHER ILLNESSES, DON’T USE “SUSTAINABLE” GROCERY BAGS: Greening Our Way to Infection.  The campaign to eliminate single-use plastic bags at the supermarket could prove deadly during the coronavirus outbreak. It has forced shoppers to switch to reusable tote bags that have proved quite “sustainable” for viruses and bacteria from food. The pathogens can linger for days — and then be spread all over the supermarket, especially at the checkout counter.  Researchers have repeatedly demonstrated that the pathogens in the bags are a serious public-health hazard unless grocery shoppers wash the bags regularly, which few people do.

The plastic-bag bans have never made any sense, because the replacement bags are harmful not only to people but also to the environment, as I’ve written. I compared the bag bans to medieval sumptuary laws — which forbade commoners from wearing certain clothes or using certain products that offended their social superiors — but perhaps I was unfair to the medieval rulers who made the laws. At least their edicts didn’t sicken or kill their subjects.

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