Understandably, there are widespread questions surrounding sanitation practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the most stressful situations right now for many is the idea of heading out to the grocery store to stock up on food and household supplies. What was once a routine task has now become one filled with much uncertainty and doubt, leaving many wondering how to make the trip as safe as possible.

As these changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have developed, a prominent question that many have right now is whether or not it’s safe to shop while using reusable grocery bags. In fact, a number of states and provinces across North America have suspended previously agreed upon legislation banning single-use plastic bags due to these concerns. Furthermore, some stores are even temporarily banning the use of reusable bags in their stores. Fears of how long the virus can live on certain objects has pressured governments towards a short-term transition back to plastic bags, as many are concerned that reusable bags are a less sanitary option.

However, up to this point, there has been no link found between reusable bags and the COVID-19 virus. Reusable bags have not been proven to be a risk when it comes to spreading the virus, and should not be the main focus of bag bans in 2020.

Single-use plastic bags are still exceptionally harmful to our environment, and it’s important to remember the reasons why they are being banned in the first place. The amount of plastic waste produced by single-use bags is beyond substantial. For instance, a plastic grocery bag that gets lost in the ocean can take around 20 years to decompose, while less than 10 percent of all plastics get recycled using the proper means. Thus, we should all remain conscious of the amount of waste we are producing, even during these troubling times.

It’s also important to remember that plastic bag bans will resume after the COVID-19 pandemic phases out. So instead of making the switch back to single-use plastic bags, it’s still wise to stick with your reusable bags while also implementing proper cleaning and disinfecting habits. Depending on the material, reusable bags can be cleaned inside and out by hand using disinfectant or soap and water. Air dry your bags before storing them away, and they will be good to go the next time you need them.




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