MountainStar Health - November 20, 2019

Have you been thinking of using eco-friendly reusable grocery bags instead of the standard paper or plastic? Good for you! By switching, you can do your part to reduce plastic pollution, which threatens the health of our oceans and harms wildlife. But before you grab the first reusable bag you see, let's look at the options, starting with the least expensive.

Nonwoven polypropylene: Made from inexpensive plastic-based fabric, these strong bags are easiest on your budget if you need multiple bags. To clean, hand-wash or machine wash on the gentle cycle and line dry. Laminated polypropylene bags are more durable and can be cleaned with disinfectant wipes.

Polyester or nylon: This material is thin and durable. They're generally machine washable, but logos or artwork on them may be damaged when washing.

Hemp, jute or bamboo: Natural fibers can make strong bags that are biodegradable an environmental win since all bags eventually wear out. Check washing instructions, since some of these need to be washed by hand.

Cotton: Though it's the easiest bag to clean and the longest lasting, environmentalists point out that cotton requires lots of resources to grow, harvest and process, so they may actually be less eco-friendly than plastic .

Big Bag Tips

  • Designate one easy-to-wash bag for meat only. This prevents cross-contamination.
  • Be careful about over packing bags. They can get too heavy to carry easily.
  • To ensure you remember to take your store, fold them after use and keep them in the front seat of your car.
  • Purchase a couple of larger bags for other shopping trips. Reusable bags are not just for groceries!