Covid-19 Pandemic Reduces Appeal of Reusable Bags

(p. B5) An oft-cited study by researchers at the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University found that reusable plastic bags can contain bacteria, and that users don’t wash reusable bags very often.

. . .

In New York, John Flanagan, the top Republican in the State Senate, called for the state this month to suspend the plastic bag ban that went into force on March 1 [2020]. The ban’s enforcement had already been delayed pending a legal challenge unrelated to the virus.

“Now is not the time or place,” Mr. Flanagan said in an interview. “This is a state of emergency.” Moreover, “people miss the plastic bags,” he said. “They were very functional and useful. We need to reopen the discussions.”

Libertarian groups have joined the effort. In Albuquerque, the Rio Grande Foundation, which bills itself as New Mexico’s premier free-market think tank, has spearheaded opposition to a move to strengthen the city’s plastic bag ban.

. . .

“Is there a worse idea in this time of Coronavirus,” the group quipped in a recent posting on Twitter, “than a plan to ‘more fully’ ban plastic bags?’”

Some supermarket chains have moved ahead with their own ban on reusable bags. The Midwestern supermarket chain Hy-Vee has said it was no longer accepting reusable bags at their stores. Price Chopper said on Twitter that it was phasing plastic bags back into use at its stores in New York.

For the full story, see:

Hiroko Tabuchi. “Plastics Industry Sees Chance to Undo Bans on Single-Use Bags.” The New York Times (Friday, March 27, 2020): B5.

(Note: ellipses, and bracketed year, added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date March 26, 2020, and has the title “In Coronavirus, Industry Sees Chance to Undo Plastic Bag Bans.”)

The “oft-cited study” mentioned above, is:

Williams, David L., Charles P. Gerba, Sherri Maxwell, and Ryan G. Sinclair. “Assessment of the Potential for Cross-Contamination of Food Products by Reusable Shopping Bags.” Food Protection Trends 31, no. 8 (Aug. 2011): 508–13.

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