US States Ditching Reusable Plastic Bag Incentives, to Reduce Covid-19 Contamination Risk

Reusable Shopping Bag. Tawbabolve / CC BY-SA (image modified)

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

At least one green initiative is facing the chop, as states and retailers worried about Covid-19 re-embrace the hygiene of single use plastic shopping bags.

States Welcome Back Single-Use Plastic Bags to Avoid Contamination

DR. SUSAN BERRY 27 Mar 20201834:55

States that introduced “green” regulations that taxed single-use plastic grocery bags in an effort to eventually annihilate them are now welcoming them back as health officials caution of possible contamination with reusable bags.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) said Thursday he was suspending the ten-cent tax on single-use plastic bags at grocery stores and other retail businesses as one of his actions “to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

“The latter move is to curb the use of personal bags that could bring the virus into a store,” reported the Journal Inquirer.

Neighboring Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) banned reusable bags in stores this week and lifted bans on plastic bags as well “as part of his administration’s latest steps to limit the spread of the coronavirus,” reported the Boston Business Journal.

“Baker announced Wednesday that stores cannot charge for either paper or plastic bags, which in some communities have previously cost 5 cents per bag,” noted the report.

Read more: https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/03/27/states-welcome-back-single-use-plastic-bags-to-avoid-contamination/

A lot of “reusable” shopping bags already end up in our trash. They make great trash bags (stronger than single use, convenient size), and frankly the thought of putting food into a bag which has already been used to carry meat or dairy is just scary.

Update (EW): h/t Dr. Willie Soon – Greenpeace has accused the plastics industry of exploiting fears about Covid-19 to overturn single use plastic bag initiatives.

84 thoughts on “US States Ditching Reusable Plastic Bag Incentives, to Reduce Covid-19 Contamination Risk

    • The only impetus for banning plastic grocery bags was the fact that it involved petroleum, nothing more. The assumption that all human technology (and petroleum) is bad drives their agenda. If you look closely at these issues, you always find that the original practice, developed by the free market, always had a more efficient and friendly approach. Activists start from the assumption that all practices developed by the free market are bad because people make money using these practice (oh, so evil).

      Low volume toilets were a disaster. The free market determined the balance between enough water to move the stuff through the sewage system and the customer water bill. Low volume toilets, seeming to be “green,” screwed the system and have led to huge sewage system backups, there being not enough water to move the stuff along. They actually created a new industry around clearing sewer systems using large quantities of solvents and sometimes, in the UK, people digging out huge fat bergs from their sewers. This would be a broken window economy, in which you create a problem and then pay people to solve it, with no actual product (wealth) as a result.

      • “The only impetus for banning plastic grocery bags was the fact that it involved petroleum, nothing more.”

        That compounds the stupidity. If you visit any one of the myriad anti-plastic straw sites, all of which contain the same text and graphics, you see that one of their concerns is allegedly over the amount of motor fuel diverted to make the straws (this from people who want to do away with motor fuel).

        Fact is, both straws and bags are made of polyethylene, which in turn is made from the components of natural gas not suited for introduction into the pipeline. Petroleum is not involved.

        Of course, their other “objection” is that when plastic bags and straws are put in a landfill, they “will be in the ground forever.” The raw material was in the ground for 500 million years before we took it out and made temporary use of it. How is putting it back permanently any different from leaving it in the ground?

        Oh, yeah. The difference is that it benefited human beings. And that, to a “greenie,” is the worst possible sin.

        • Correct, natural gas to propane, through dehydration to polypropylene

          No oil products were hurt during the making of this plastic bag

          • AND here are the numbers, taking into account all the [fossil fuel] energy to mine, grow, fabricate, transport each type of grocery bag:

            plastic single use 1 unit (as our baseline reference)
            cotton reusable 131 units
            plastic reusable 89 units
            washing/drying a reusable 180 units

            So people, you have to use a cotton reusable bag 131 times to equal the energy consumed for one plastic single use bag, then each time you wash and dry the cotton bag, you have to use it another 180 times…. Which is most unsanitary to say the least. To be safe you should wash your cotton bag every few trips to the grocery story.

            Hence it is NOT a savings of fossil fuel to displace single use plastic with either cotton or poly reusable bags! Period!

            Of course you can fit 2-3 single use bag contents into the reusable one’s volume – but the numbers still favor single use as the least “polluting” regards energy to mine/grow/fabricate/transport.

            Disposal issues not accounted for here – but proper landfill procedure is not harmful to the biosphere.

            Reusable bags are a feel-good action which is in truth counter productive if your goal were really to reduce fossil fuels!

      • C. Higley wrote:
        “The only impetus for banning plastic grocery bags was the fact that it involved petroleum, nothing more.”

        I would disagree with this statement at least in part.

        The bigger incentive was taxes.
        In CA, (sigh, still stuck here), plastic is perfectly fine.
        So long as we pay 10 cents a bag.

        Reminds me of the good ole days of indulgences.

        At least it’s not like this is some kind of inquisition…
        Of course, nobody expects a Spanish Inquisition…

      • Charles Higley

        Great comment Charles.

        We replaced our 50 year old toilet cistern 10 years ago with a modern, ‘efficient’ item, which requires at least two flushing’s instead of the single flush old one.

        Plastic bags were invented to address the problem of chopping down trees to provide paper grocery bags. But of course denuding the planet is better than digging up a lost source of energy……..~ahem~

  1. So corona or no, reusable bags are a public health risk?

    12,000 – 20,000 died (conflicting internet information) this flu season. Not counting severe cold season cases resulting in pneumonia in especially immune challenged elderly.

    People or planet? whats it suppose to be. If the alarmists love the planet and hate people they gotta love COVID-19

    • Bill, your question is right to the point, what about everyday contagious viruses? I bet you can say the same as me: never have I thrown a plastic bag on the ground or not otherwise disposed of improperly.

      • I usually take one bag and stuff all the other bags into it. Then I take it back to the store the next week and leave it in the container by the door.

      • Ron: Never on purpose have I thrown a plastic bag on the ground. In 50 mph wind, accidents do happen and those pesky bags escape. I do attempt to find them later, but they are fast and clever in their escapes.

      • You bet correctly have never thrown a plastic bag on the ground. Never thrown a reusable on the ground either for that matter. And I love humanity as much as i love Spaceship Earth. So lets ban reusable.

        I suggest we ban morons who throw any trash on the ground especially plastic bags.

        Here is my plan. You get caught throwing plastic bag on ground. 1st offense – 90 days ground clean up with an assigned acre to include long stretches of highway. 2nd offense – 365 days clean up on 3 acres. 3rd offense – 3 years on 5 acres etc. So that it becomes self policing we will reduce you sentence by one week for every litterbug perp you catch.

        Maybe not a perfect plan but its a start. If that doesn’t make a plastic bag throwing moron wake up and stop littering. Then their is no hope of the planet but we would pass less contagion.

    • The flu season takes 30,000 US citizens every year, with over 60,000 being a bad year. How does anything reported currently come anywhere close to this?

      Close your eyes and pretend that the Covid-19 (C-19) test did not exist. Would the numbers be even a blip in the normal flu season? No, they would not.

      The “flu” season indeed includes a few annually recombined flu viruses that we try to create vaccines for, fighting time because we do not always know what the actual viruses will be. What most do not know it that the “flu season” also includes a salad of coronaviruses that move around the world using the same environmental conditions. Coronaviruses are year round, but most are transmitted in winter when people are closer together and often not taking measures. My students do not understand why I do not “high-5” anyone in the hallways, etc.

      So, this year, a person created a test for a specific virus of unknown virulence—there is a lot that is unknown here. This virus has proven to be very infectious (easily transmitted) but the relative number of deaths and positive tests shows it to be low virulence (low health impact). We have the problems of biased testing, unproven tests (yes, the PCR test was never properly verified), and the egregious assumption that this virus is virulent. As the flu season is a salad of flu and coronaviruses, a test for one virus does not eliminate the presence of other viruses. A person testing negative for flu but positive for C-19, still does not indicate that C-19 is the culprit for their symptoms. It is very likely that the person might have more than one virus (another coronavirus) at a time. Having C-19 is not an indication of why one is ill. It only indicates who was in the room when the illness occurred. No science has been done here, a la The Butler did it.

      The bottom line is that we have a test for one virus that seems to be very infectious, but, with all the other viruses out there in the flu salad, you cannot blame a person’s illness on C-19 until the rest are eliminated. The virulence of C-19 has yet to be established.

      It is telling that so very many people test positive for C-19 and are asymptomatic and only a relative few have symptoms? Are the symptomatic weaker toward this virus or is there another virus or more present?

      One can have a cold and die of cancer, so is the cold the culprit? C-19 might be simply a patsy for the flu season, taking attention from the 50–100 times more people that the flu season takes every year around the world.

        • Sorry I should have read further – when corrected for the lag between infection and death, the Lancet estimates a death rate of around 12.5 – 17.9%, and mention 20%.

        • If you remove the multiple millions of estimated P/I cases and only use confirmed cases in the calculation the death rate for P/I is much higher than C19. They haven’t used estimated numbers for C19 yet have they? I’m not trying to downplay the seriousness of C19 but shouldn’t we compare apples to apples? If I’m wrong let me know.

      • Flu patients don’t suffer and die all alone, drowning in their own blood. So there’s that. The run on toilet tissue notwithstanding, implying people are panicking needlessly over this is unfair.

      • Thank you Charles,

        Morning meanderings, pre-coffee – so may be total nonsense.

        I was discussing this very subject last night with my friend Dr. Dave, a talented specialist physician.

        I conclude that at this time we know very little about the epidemiology of this virus – we have some data from the Diamond Princess cruise ship and some from South Korea. I’ve summarized that data on wattsup, but those are both moving targets, changing with time.
        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/03/18/the-danger-of-making-coronavirus-decisions-without-reliable-data/#comment-2942582
        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/03/18/the-danger-of-making-coronavirus-decisions-without-reliable-data/#comment-2943333

        In the case of the cruise ship, we do have a closed population (almost), and ~all have been tested for the virus, but that population is biased to older people, containment was poor, and the number of deaths continues to increase.

        In South Korea, the tests that have been run to date focus on detection of the virus in people who are currently infected, and do not measure those who may have been infected but have recovered – that will require extensive testing for antibodies specific to this virus.

        In South Korea, the tests that have been run to date focus on high-incidence regions, in order to assist with containment, but this suggests that the actual incidence of infection and fatalities could be lower as a percentage of the total population.

        We think that this disease started circa 1Dec2020 in China. What if antibody testing reveals that it has been around for months or years earlier – maybe herd immunity is already partially established?

        One objective measure would simply be to count total deaths from all causes and compare that the past years, country-by-country – if the total death rate in Winter 2019-2020 (1Dec2019 to 31Mar2020) is no greater that other years, then we can start to understand the big picture. Right now, we are tilting at windmills – some people think this flu is the “end-of-the-world”, and others say it is “nothing special” compared to other seasonal flus.

        Based on my analysis of the two datasets mentioned above, fatalities/infections was about 1% at that time. That 1% could increase to about 2% for the cruise ship population, which is heavily biased toward older people. My bet is it will not increase much above 1% for the population of South Korea – we will see.

        • Trying to see the Big Picture of Covid-19 – difficult with a moving target and poor/limited data:

          Following is a simplified analysis,

          Excess Winter Deaths (EWD’s) total more than 2 million per year globally.
          EWD’s are measured in the Northern Hemisphere from 1DecYear(n) to 31 MarYear(n+1). EWD’s = Total Deaths (1Dec to 31Mar) – 0.5*Total Deaths {(1Aug to 31NovYear(n)) + (1Apr to 31JulYear(n+1))]

          In the USA , EWD’s average ~100,000 per year, and in Canada from ~5000 to ~10,000 per year. To date (29Mar2020), Covid-19 deaths total 2363 in the USA and 63 in Canada. Global deaths attributed to Covid-19 total 33,519 to 29Mar2020. There are more than 2 million global Excess Winter Deaths per year.

          Data:
          https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries
          https://friendsofsciencecalgary.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/cold-weather-kills-macrae-daleo-4sept2015-final.pdf

          Examining global EXCESS Winter Deaths from 1Dec2019 to 31Mar2020:
          33519 global deaths attributed to Covid-19 to 29Mar2020
          + (2*2662) new global Covid-19 deaths/day
          = 38843 global deaths attributed to Covid-19 to 31Mar2020
          / approx. 2 million global EXCESS Winter Deaths per year
          =1.9%
          Covid-19 Winter Deaths to date = ~1.9% of global Excess Winter Deaths

          Examining USA EXCESS Winter Deaths from 1Dec2019 to 31Mar2020:
          2363 USA deaths attributed to Covid-19 to 29Mar2020
          + (143*2) new USA Covid-19 deaths/day
          = 2649 USA deaths attributed to Covid-19 to 31Mar2020
          / approx. 100,000 USA EXCESS Winter Deaths per year
          = 2.6%
          Covid-19 Winter Deaths to date = ~2.6% of USA Excess Winter Deaths

          Examining USA TOTAL Winter Deaths from 1Dec2019 to 31Mar2020:
          https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2017/10/aging-boomers-deaths.html
          2649 USA deaths attributed to Covid-19 to 31Mar2020
          / ~950,000 USA Total Winter Deaths 1Dec19 to 31Mar2020
          = 0.3%
          Covid-19 Winter Deaths to date = ~0.3% of Total USA Winter Deaths

          Whether one considers Covid-19 deaths as ~2% of Excess Winter Deaths or ~0.3% of Total Winter Deaths, Covid-19 is not that significant as a cause of death to date.

          If Covid-19 extinguishes in the Spring like most seasonal flu’s, it will have had a minor or negligible impact on Total Winter Deaths – negligible if these people were already mortally ill and would have died this winter anyway from other causes.

          If Covid-19 deaths continue to accelerate after 31Mar, then it could qualify as a serious pandemic.

          Fasten your seatbelts. Faites vos jeux.

      • Please Charles–“The flu season takes 30,000 US citizens every year, with over 60,000 being a bad year….” that is modeling at its worst..”the same model was adopted to estimate influenza-associated deaths in the United States. This methodology has been used to retroactively calculate influenza burden, including deaths, going back to 2010.”

        These are the terms used to describe the CDCs guestimates “based on 13 geographically distributed areas” “serve roughly 9% of the U.S. population” “rates are adjusted to correct for under-detection of influenza” “data on influenza testing can lag up to two years after the end of the season, so for more recent seasons, testing data from prior seasons is used” “CDC estimates the number of people who sought medical care for influenza using data from the 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey” “model uses a ratio of deaths-to-hospitalizations in order to estimate the total influenza-associated deaths from the estimated number of influenza-associated hospitalizations.” “in-hospital deaths are adjusted for under-detection of influenza”

        Charles–they base these estimates upon estimates and adjust the estimates using a small selection of locations in the US–basically they have a very limited idea about real flu numbers. In addition, With Covid, we are likely getting better numbers, in fact very under reported numbers…the flu does not overwhelm the health care system everywhere it sweeps through and we usually have enough beds, PPI equipemnt, medications, and such–the flu is about .05 or less death rate while Covid has every indication of being 1% or more. I know you know the difference between rates and numbers in calculating this.

        Please don’t insult us with comparing this to the seasonal flu becasue Covid most probably has a 10 times higher death RATE…. Look at Italy, Spain, and now the UK –somehow they didn’t get their ducks in a row and are overreacting? Something much more dangerous is happening with Covid–and shutting down the world, thrusting us into a global depression, hasn’t been done by really stupid people who didn’t listen to you.

        https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/how-cdc-estimates.htm
        https://www.nytimes.com/article/coronavirus-vs-flu.html

  2. Common sense at last!

    I hope your President brings this in nationwide…the Greenies won’t like it, but tough…they have to consider the health of us all.

  3. I don’t know why these are called “single use”. We use these again to line bathroom trash cans and countertop trash cans. We also use them to carry small items that we want to move somewhere else. We put a few in the glove compartment of the car for misc. trash. We use them to clean up cat vomit for crying out loud. I can’t think of anything that can be used over so many different ways. I bet I have not even scratched the surface of the ways these crazily cheap bags can be repurposed. The woke doomsters are truly behind the curve in every way possible.

    • If you can use them to pick up cat vomit then you can also use them to pick up dog poo. We use them over the side mirrors on the vehicles to prevent ice and snow from sticking to the glass. I’ve used them over plants during light freezes.

    • Exactly. They never were single use. It was just a catchphrase that the greens invented to attack society. It’s how greens operate.

    • My “single use” shopping bags always ended up as kitchen-catcher type garbage bags. Very well suited to the job; I even have a special bag holder attached to the inside of one of my lower kitchen cabinet doors.

      “Single use” is one of those fabricated phrases used by the Blob, just like “cosmetic lawn chemicals” and “open borders”, to push their agendas.

      • The wife and I have, on occasion, locked horns on just who gets the bags. Like you, I use them for vegetable peelings, meat trimmings, etc.

        She’s a special ed teacher – takes them to school for diaper changes.

    • The ones I don’t properly recycle get used mainly for cleaning the cat litter box. Hasn’t depriving them to the homeless led to more human feces in the streets?

  4. I’ve never understood this ‘single use’ nonsense. The plastic bags we buy to line our kitchen waste containers are definitely single use – were they planning to start banning those as well?

    • I wonder that, too. Where I live, the wind makes bagging trash essential or you have a trash covered prairie. I also asked one of the grocery stores where I shop that is doing away with plastic bags what I was going to use for putting produce like apples in. No one had any idea….

  5. YAY!

    Headline: Truth Triumphs Over Pseudo-Religion

    Hope this comes to my state (Washington).

    Moreover, I hope the facts about plastic bags (at least, in the U.S.) prevail permanently to correct the ignorance resulting in conversations like this:

    Customer: Ooo, no. (smug little laugh). I don’t do plastic. Here. (tosses grimy, tie-died, cloth, bag onto my check-out counter)

    Me: (In a cheery voice, with a smile (while neatly folding and stacking her purchases beside the bag – I ABSOLUTELY refused to touch it)) None of the plastic from around here ends up in the ocean. It is all incinerated in the desert of Eastern Washington where the parts per million are —

    Cust: — Plastic is killing the planet.

    Me: How? (still very cheerful)

    Cus: Well, “climate change!”

    Me: There isn’t one piece of data proving plastic or petroleum or any human activity is causing “climate change.” None.

    Cus: (lips pursed, shoving her polyester shirts, socks, and sweater into the bag) Well, I just KNOW that plastic is killing the ocean. I saw it on TV. And my yoga instructor says so. And so. Does. My. Life coach AND a nutrition expert I know. (triumphant stare)

    Me: (still cheerful). Would you like your receipt with you or in the bag? (one can only do so much educating as a sales person)

    And off she strides, her holy bag over her arm, out into the parking lot where she will get into her holy hybrid/electric car and
    drive back to her holy cramped, no-yard, house, and
    sit down to eat a holy meatless burger with
    a glass of holy (LOL, my phone just suggested “cow,” here) “organic” pop.

    Phew. Thanks to her trusty rucksack, she can go to confession (her weekly zen group or whatever quasi-religious group she is part of) with a clear conscience.

    #(:))

      • (shrug)

        “Love your home”

        [100 feet]

        “Love the earth”

        [100 feet]

        “For best prices”

        [100 feet]

        “Shop in Perth.”

        [100 feet]

        Burma Shave.

        ********

        Hi, down there, Patrick. Hope all is well.

        • I am good. I wish I had, some of, this goodness back in October 2019, but maybe I was supposed to go on this “journey”. *SHRUGS* Either way I have found the people I have had to deal with, outside work and family etc, some made selfless offers, in person, initially, but then, and others, turn to be out to be vile, filthy individuals who hide behind “social media” and the “authorities” seem to be “Ok” with that. Love Australia!

          Many “things” exploded right in front of me, some my fault, many not! But then sometimes somethings happen and you have no idea why they “slot” in or “mesh” together just exactly right when all involved need it.

          Divine intervention or chance? I err on the latter, but my mates used to call me “The Cat”, among other “names”, because I always landed on my feet. Is my 9th life up yet, not sure! But sure as H#ll do not want to go through what I have been through these last 3 months again. I will risk the CV-19 virus over that ANY DAY!

          • So sorry you had to go through all that, Patrick. Glad it’s in the rear view mirror, now. Just keep your eyes on the road ahead and hold on tight to that beautiful woman sitting beside you.

            Believing in “the former,” 🙂

            I will be (and have been …. God’s ways are not always ours) praying!

            Take care.

        • That’s great! I remember those Burma Shave signs on the side of the road.

          Winnemucca, Nevada, did something similar in the mid 1980’s if I remember right. A series of billboards on Interstate 80. “Winnemucca: City of Paved Streets!”

          • Thank you, kindly, Michael 2!

            Now, here’s a jingle
            Just 4 U

            Cherry paint job

            [100 feet]

            Want it saved?

            [100 feet]

            In Winnemucca

            [100 feet]

            “Streets are paved!”

            [100 feet[

            Burma Shave

            #(:))

  6. Same here in Oz, they’ve started giving us ‘single use’ bags in shops again, after being illegal for a year or so.

    • Here in Canada, they were never illegal, but the local stores had all started virtue-signalling and banning them over the last few months (except one who changed their mind and just discouraged their use because customers were pissed off about the idiocy). The stores are now back to handing out bags because they don’t want to get infected.

      Just about everything the ‘greens’ push for, such as high-density housing, public transport and reusing bags is a godsend to contagious disease. There’s a reason our ancestors wanted to get away from those things.

  7. Was it California or Oregon that were first in the nation to ban single use toilet paper?

    With the current nationwide runs on toiler paper, there is a rhumor that California will institute “roll your own” toilet paper in the very near future.

    • Can’t wait for someone to start selling corn cobs. Maybe Sears could start reissuing their 3″ thick catalog and charging $5 for it!

  8. “the thought of putting food into a bag which has already been used to carry meat or dairy is just scary”

    Meat I understand, but dairy?

    • I think he meant poultry. That scares me.

      I do put prewrapped poultry in reusable insulated bags when inside of single use double baged bags. Add some reusable ice to transport 100 miles home.

    • The can cross contaminate. Same principals apply to these items stored in a fridge. I live in shared accommodation at the moment and simply won’t put any fresh food in the fridge that isn’t sealed somehow and then only unseal it and use it immediately.

    • that had me puzzled also
      dairys well sealed, TOO well sealed I slashed a thumb open trying to lift the clear plastic lid on sour cream recently!
      meats pretty much the same,
      the odd leaky pack of mince maybe?
      if noted at/before checkout I just grab a freezerbag n pop it into that first
      if youre super anal then you could turn it inside out n spray some nice chemicals onto it;-))
      prob more risk from them than whatever leaked as other foods etc later are sealed.
      but thanks for the laugh

      ps its always made me smile they banned the flimsy easy to reuse bags, ideal for dog poop and other uses and replaced with far thicker larger bags that are harder to use for the smaller tidies.
      and everyone who used the thin ones for bin liners now just has to BUY binliners they didnt before
      saved the environment how???

  9. Not much chance of the law forbidding these bags being rolled back in Oregon.
    The resident enviro/climate nazis would rather die.
    (Well, they would rather that we all do…)

  10. Give me the tall old-fashioned paper bags. Fewer trips up and down the stairs. I won’t buy groceries from Wal- Mart because of no paper bags.

  11. These are not ‘single use’ plastic bags. Once home from the store we put them in a bag under the sink and reuse them on multiple occasions. They make great pet ‘poo’ bags.

  12. So, what about backpacks? — Disposable back packs?

    What about the clothes you wear? — Disposable clothes?

    Car seats? — Rip ’em out and replace, after each trip?

    Sheets? Bed spreads? Pillow cases? Eyeglasses?

    At what point do we admit that we are ridiculously afraid of living?

    • Agreed…..it’s a roll of the dice every time you get lout of bed in the morning/get in at night! Not blaming beds, it’s life. We all live!!,,until we don’t…..My self I just try to keep on keeepin on!!!

    • Somethings make sense to re-use, some things don’t. Grocery bags don’t.
      Trying to force a one size fits all solution on everyone is what totalitarians do.

  13. No more bags from home at my local market in California. However, the tax is still in place unless you are on food stamps…

  14. Plastic bags where free.
    Then came the tax, so they became 5p.
    They had the shops advertising on them.
    So where charged 5p to advertise the shop.
    10p was charged for reusable plastic bags no tax.
    The 10p bigger reusable plastic bags where then replaced.
    With reusable paper bags with the shops advertising on the for 25p.
    You can not wash a paper bag?

  15. I have to think mass transit is in trouble too. I think the impact on the NY Subway is going to be tremendous. It’s one thing to be in the store and have someone go into a coughing or sneezing fit. You can get out of the store or move to another area of the store. Busses and trains are not going to fare well for the near and medium term.

    • Use of public transport here in Sydney has dropped up to 80%. That’s largely on the back of companies making working from home mandatory, cafes/pubs etc and retail shops just shutting down sending all causal workers on to welfare.

      The Federal Govn’t has now forced rents to be frozen, or even lowered, for people who have been made unemployed because of the panic over this virus.

      Only 12 people have died in New South Wales so far and the first 3 were over 90 years old, frail and with health issues and in an aged care centre out of a population of near 6 million.

  16. Just last week Governor Inslee (D) of Washington State signed a law to ban single use plastic bags and charge extra for paper bags. Now he is being inundated with requests to at least suspend this law.

    • Many cities in the State of WA have had this for a year or two. The State law would have almost no impact.
      For example, this has been the norm in Ellensburg where we (mostly) shop.

      Jay Inslee is an “idea-free” individual.

  17. I shop at Coop here in calgary and they use compost able bags, which I then use to line my compost bin in the kitchen
    Assuming they are actually compostable and won’t actually gum up the city compost system it seems like a good approximation of the circle of life

  18. We have used cardboard boxes, such as an apple box, with handles. Our local grocery gives us 5¢ for doing this, while those that ask for a paper bag with handles get charged 5¢.
    I will be extremely upset if I do not continue to get my nickel!!

    Note that produce and meat counters have plastic bags there to hold anything taken from that section. Only the bags at the check-out have been banned.

    Note, also, that every order from a pharmacy comes in a (hard) plastic single-use bottle. Could you take them back when getting a refill? I don’t think so.
    Over the counter medications (ex: Acetaminophen) all come in hard plastic bottles.

    Local governments obsess over these meaningless, and sometimes intrusive and costly, issues. Meanwhile they do nothing to assure a strong local health services footprint.

  19. I think in general, the unsung hero of this virus issue, is Fossil fuel. Yesterday, here in Ireland, A Jet took off from Dublin Airport and left for China to bring back much needed PPE equipment etc, so our excellent front line health workers can go about their work efficiently and safely. It returns fully laden, to land again at Dublin, a bit later today.
    There is much use for disposable plastics in our day to day health care. Not to mention (or leave it out) reliable energy from fossil fuels to power the Hospitals demand, as they keep our family members, friends and loved ones, alive. Not just during a Global emergency either.

    Best to all, stay safe. Eamon.

  20. Here is my thought on the plastic bag:
    Single use–not to people that realize they are getting a free bag they can reuse again. The plastic bags are only single use for those that are being taught they are only for single use. That’s pretty easy to change–don’t throw that away! Reuse it! Here, take this bag and go clean up your bedroom/bath/car..whathave you.

    The problem with the term single use is that it’s being TAUGHT that way. What we are not teaching is the way to reuse the bag before tossing it into the recycle bin at the grocery store. That’s wrong IMO.

    And here is my thought on re-usable bags–and no I don’t mean the ones you buy at the store so keep that in mind:
    I made my own re-usable bags out of good cloth WITH a cleanable liner–great buy btw, an entire bolt of pvc liner they use in diaper bags. Why did I do this? Because I like to carry as few freaking bags as possible. That’s the only reason. And I know how to sew. My bags are based on a paper bag design that fits inside the plastic bag holder and stand up straight so the bagger (me or the checkout bagger) can stack the food in it properly without it rolling all over the back of my car while I turn out of the parking lot. Because I made them, they get cleaned out, wiped down and I have dedicated ones for meat and poultry (labeled as such and designed as such because most people do not read)–so they are separated. I have a total of 5 bags, each very cool and I am very proud of them. Each with a non-leak, non-cross contamination liner and each made to last a long time with proper care. I’ve been using the same bags for close to 5 years and they look brand new. They get tossed into the washer once a week and stored like my linens.

    Now why did I make them? Because those ridiculous “cloth” bags they foisted on everyone around here were non-woven plastic that attracted every scrap of fur, fuzz, dust, mites and gawd only knows what else. You couldn’t wash them properly with hot water–they disintegrated. Yes I bought them for the same reason I made my own later….because I’m tired of bags breaking or not being able to put more than 3 items in them and have my groceries roll all over the back of the car and smash my eggs by simply turning a corner.

    Do I still get plastic bags at the grocery store? You bet I do, I’m not going to turn down a free bag that I can re-use or donate to our local businesses that run out of bags all the time. I recycle. Why? Because I can. Because I do not live in a single use disposable viewpoint. Anything useful can be re-purposed or donated to give it more life to someone else. But more importantly, I am teaching my children to do the same. Recycling does not mean simply put it into the recycle bin after you are done using it.

    • Several years ago, here in the UK, when supermarkets were considering ceasing the use of single use carrier bags they started selling ‘Bags for Life’. We bought one, but inevitably it fell apart. I pointed out to the cashier I was still alive and wanted a replacement. After some ‘discussion’ with the management we were given another one. One advantage I have noticed from the ban on free single use bags is the lack of them shredded and flapping in the neighbourhood trees.

  21. Personally I like my reusable shopping bags. They are made of nylon and have sturdy handles that won’t break on me no matter how much I load them up. The store people never have to even touch them because they have special hangers on them that clip to the sides of the shopping cart and hold them open – the bagger just has to put the packages inside. They also won’t come apart if they get a little damp on a rainy day, and if something inside does leak, it won’t soil the car seat. They are easy to clean and it only takes a few minutes to do it. People with cloth bags can just toss them in the wash with everything else.

    I understand why people don’t want to be forced to use reusable bags, but they shouldn’t be prevented from using them either. Frankly the cashiers and baggers have already maximized their risk of cross contamination from touching the purchased items since they were all touched by the customer. The reusable bags don’t represent any additional risk at that point. People in retail should be washing their hands frequently and using hand sanitizer between every customer anyway.

    This is just another symptom of the panic that is gripping the world right now. The media and the public “experts” need to sit down and seriously think about what kind of messages they want to communicate right now. A breakdown of the economy and civil society will ultimately cost a lot more lives than this virus, and will in fact make it harder to fight this virus. Don’t Panic! Wash your hands! Try to reduce how much you touch your face! Those three things will reduce the problem to a manageable level and will help protect you from other viruses like the Flu.

  22. “Greening Our Way to Infection: The ban on single-use plastic grocery bags is unsanitary—and it comes at the worst imaginable time.” by John Tierney on March 12, 2020
    https://www.city-journal.org/banning-single-use-plastic-bags-covid-19

    “… reusable tote bags can sustain the Covid-19 and flu viruses—and spread the viruses throughout the store. Researchers have been warning for years about the risks of these bags spreading deadly viral and bacterial diseases, but public officials have ignored their concerns, determined to eliminate single-use bags and other plastic products despite their obvious advantages in reducing the spread of pathogens. In New York State, a new law took effect this month banning single-use plastic bags in most retail businesses…”

    “The Covid-19 virus is just one of many pathogens that shoppers can spread unless they wash the bags regularly, which few people bother to do. Viruses and bacteria can survive in the tote bags up to nine days … An earlier study of supermarkets in Arizona and California found large numbers of bacteria in almost all the reusable bags—and no contamination in any of the new single-use plastic bags. … The researchers also found that the vast majority of shoppers never followed the advice to wash their bags. One of the researchers … said that the findings “suggest a serious threat to public health,” particularly from fecal coliform bacteria, which was found in half the bags.”

    “In a 2012 study, researchers analyzed the effects of San Francisco’s ban on single-use plastic grocery bags by comparing emergency-room admissions in the city against those of nearby counties without the bag ban. The researchers .. reported a 25 percent increase in bacteria-related illnesses and deaths in San Francisco relative to the other counties.”

    “… New York Department of Health … advises grocery shoppers to segregate different foods in different bags; to package meat and fish and poultry in small disposable plastic bags inside their tote bags; to wash and dry their tote bags carefully; to store the tote bags in a cool, dry place; and never to reuse the grocery tote bags for anything but food. …Anyone who has studied consumer behavior knows that it’s hopelessly unrealistic to expect people to follow all those steps. If the Department of Health actually prioritized public health, it would acknowledge what food manufacturers and grocers have known for decades: disposable plastic is the cheapest, simplest, and safest way to prevent foodborne illnesses.”

  23. Walter Sobchak
    March 29, 2020 at 10:23 am

    Thanks Walter…that article says it all!

Comments are closed.