Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How Green Is Your Grocery Bag?

I know... it isn't fair and it isn't nice to make a mockery of people who exchange their plastic grocery bags for environmentally friendly hemp or burlap versions.

So, I won't.

For all I know the plastic bags that are refusing to decompose in landfills will soon become an environmental monstrosity whose scope exceeds my imagination.

Today, I am happy-- well, not really happy, but alarmed-- to report the latest findings about those hemp and burlap grocery bags. It turns out that most environmentally friendly consumers do not bother to spend the time or use the phosphate-laden detergent to wash them. Link here.

The result: these substitute grocery bags are breeding grounds for another one of Nature's wondrous creations: bacteria. The bacterial load in unwashed biodegradable grocery bags is an incalculable horror; it might even become a danger to your health.

So, if you are inclined to use one of these new bags, make sure that you wash it well. If you can't, go back to paper or plastic.


Chuck Pelto said...

TO: Dr. Schneiderman, et al.
RE: How Green Was My Grocery Bag

So, if you are inclined to use one of these new bags, make sure that you wash it well. If you can't, go back to paper or plastic. -- Stuart Schneiderman

There are 'advantages' and 'disadvantages' to every course of action one can take.

Maybe NOT washing them is a 'good' thing. As in being too careful about not exposing young children to contact with bacteria in the World about them is 'bad' for them in the long run.

My opinion is that we need exposure to bacteria to keep our immunological systems up to the ever-evolving challenges of bacteria in the world about us. So long as we don't get a 'lethal' dose.

If I may refer to our 'friend', Nietzsche....

That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger.


[In the battle between you and the World, back the World.]

Chuck Pelto said...

TO: Dr. Schneiderman, et al.
RE: Of Greater Concern....

....is THIS!!!

Living a block away from a major hospital, I see them walking about in their scrubs all too frequently. With the threat of MRSA and some more recently discovered, more nasty beasties, I'm very concerned.


[I've got Parkinson's disease. And he's got mine.]

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Thanks for the comments and the link. Clearly, one of the major problems with hospital care today is the number of times patients contract very nasty diseases from the doctors and nurses themselves. MRSA and C-diff being among the worst.

We all assume that exposure to some dirt is not such a bad thing, but apparently, the bacterial load at the bottom of these unwashed burlap grocery bags is off the charts.

Chuck Pelto said...

TO: Dr. Schneiderman
RE: Getting to the 'Bottom'

It could well be a 'mess' down at the bottom of these cloth grocery bags.

But is it a dangerous one?

This seems unlikely. Quantity is not necessarily 'bad'. Rather it's the make up of the bacteria that can be bad. Our skins are literally coated with bacteria. Not to forget the lower gastro-intestinal track. But they're all 'good' bacteria....unless there's something wrong.

I would think that a better approach to addressing the problem would be in suggesting that the food they buy would likely spoil faster. Particularly fresh produce and the more expensive meats. This causing a loss of money.


[I was in the grocery store. I saw a sign that said "pet supplies". So I did. Then I went outside and saw a sign that said "compact cars". -- Stephen Wright]