Before COVID-19 blindsided us, warnings about possible health consequences of banning single-use plastics for the protection of the environment fell on deaf ears. Reusable bags can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.

Research shows that reusable bags harbor dangerous microorganisms. In fact, the sanitary nature of single-use plastics is one of the key reasons they have become so prevalent. They also require less energy and make less pollution in production than alternatives. Problems related to plastics in the environment should be addressed by proper disposal policies.

Reusable bags accumulate bacteria and viruses from being used and carried around. Reusable bags should be thoroughly washed after every use, yet very few are, if ever.

This explains why most fast food restaurants, school cafeterias, hospitals, nursing homes and medical facilities rely on single-use plastic products. The risk of disease transmission is reduced.

Single-use plastic bans amount to bad public health policy, which is why proper disposal, rather than outright bans, is the answer to this pollution. Hopefully we’ll develop new inexpensive biodegradable products….

From coast to coast, COVID-19 is claiming yet another unexpected victim: reusable shopping bags. Whether it’s COVID-19 that gets transferred or something else, we know scientifically these things are laden with germs because a lot of people just don’t clean them.
The City of Boston has issued an emergency order directing all essential business in the city such as grocery stores, liquor stores, and pharmacies to temporarily transition to only use new paper or plastic grocery bags provided by stores.