Reusable bags are good for the environment, but it turns out they might not be so great for your health.
Right now, you probably load your groceries into them without a second thought. Produce, meat, dairy — anything goes! But have you ever thought about all the kinds of bacteria that could grow in there? After all, it wouldn’t take much. Small leaves could fall off your veggies and begin rotting inside, or meat juice could seep out of its packaging, forming a bacteria colony in the bag’s lining. Which brings us to our next point: When’s the last time you actually washed your reusable bags?
Probably never, right? It’s time to start changing that.
“How can I put it delicately? We would never wear underwear for a whole week and not wash it,” said UBC microbiologist Dr. Karen Bartlett in the video, above.
Basically, she’s saying these bags can get as dirty as the clothes rubbing up against your nether regions. And that’s a big statement coming from a microbiologist.
But to see just how dirty it can get in there, the folks at CTV News brought Bartlett a few reusable bag samples to be tested. Swab samples were taken from each bag and wiped into a Petri dish and then left in a lab fridge for 48 hours. Here’s what was growing in there the whole time:
Appetizing, isn’t it? The good news is, Bartlett didn’t find any traces of bacteria linked to food poisoning. But in some cases, illness-triggering bacteria could definitely find its way into your bag. So the next time you do laundry, throw them all into your machine.
That way only you’re reusing the bags, instead of the bacteria.