Plastic bag bans: good for norovirus, E. coli & shoplifting!

Reusable grocery bag_thb

by NW Spotlight

Some communities are instituting bans on plastic bags as a way to encourage the use of reusable grocery bags. In addition to a risk of spreading a norovirus or E. coli, it now seems reusable grocery bags also increase the risk of shoplifting.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is reporting today that store owners are complaining that the plastic bag ban is causing more shoplifting – “contributing to thousands of dollars in losses for at least one Seattle grocery store.” The same store also reported a “dramatic increase in the number of hand baskets stolen after Seattle’s plastic bag ban was initiated.”

Regarding the health risk with reusable grocery bags, a 2012 report by OHSU & the Oregon Public Health Division in the Journal of Infectious Diseases on a norovirus incident noted “this also illustrates one of the less obvious hazards of reusable grocery bags.”

In San Francisco, which has had a plastic bag ban since 2007, a study of emergency room data found “a spike in the number of E. coli cases and an increase of deaths from foodborne illnesses” after their bag ban began.

As was noted in a March 2012 Oregon Catalyst article, plastic bags are 100% recyclable and are made in the U.S., using domestic natural gas and they support American jobs. On the down side, though, plastic bags are not good for spreading norovirus or E. coli and they’re not as good for shoplifting…

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Posted by at 03:34 | Posted in Plastic bags | 25 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • please read the study you cite, no evidence that the people who got ill were also people who used reusable bags!https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/02/16/is-san-franciscos-ban-on-plastic-bags-making-people-sick-perhaps-not/

    • 3H

      It doesn’t matter, they’ll keep repeating that lie. No matter how many times it’s pointed out that they’re wrong. The truth takes a back seat to politics and ideology.

      • DavidAppell

        The American right has divorced themselves from factual thinking.

        This is actually quite a dangerous situation — one can easily imagine documentary films being made in 50 years, pointing out all the absurdities of today’s right, showing how their increasing frustration with reality caused great human suffering. Future viewers will shake their heads in disbelief…. I only hope they have the means to uncover the names of those who, like here, insisted on such inanities.

        • guest

          There they go again, DA and 3H with their rants in the pants snobby lobby of bashing today’s right. Guise, your BlueOregon mother is calling, ostensibly, for a diaper change before your next discharge.

          • DavidAppell

            Sure, because we never see rants against the left here, do we??

          • guest

            You are so boo coo BlueOregon, aren’t you monsewer – flush with matters of left winger dingers down the drain of faux pas rationality.

          • 3H

            Truth hurts, doesn’t it?

          • guest

            Lord knows 3H Cyrano’s nose.

      • guest

        U R just plain nutz!

  • DavidAppell

    Where is the data showing a “spike” in San Francisco ER e.coli cases?

    As far as I know, this was from a manuscript by a couple of lawyers that hadn’t even passed peer review.

    It seems, though, that that hasn’t stopped conservatives from glomming onto the paper. As is typical.

    • guest

      what a d’oh bawl, too.

  • valley person

    Leave it to Catalyst to obsess over their freedom to pollute their communities with disposable plastic bags as something worth the effort.

    • guest

      what a d’oh bawl

  • tome

    I personally do not like the reusable bags. Not my own but other peoples. They toss them on the checkout belt and they are filthy. Then I have to put my products on there. People don’t seem to wash them. I wash mine each use. Granted they don’t set upright and harder to fill becvause they are so flimsy after several washings. Actually I would rather pay a few cents folr clrean bags ig others would do it too. I have very seldom seen anybody clean the belts unless there is a spill of water on them.

  • Oregonnative

    Just a few years ago it was plastic was best as we “Saved a Tree. Now it is plastic is bad and let us ban that. But, wait now we can not re-cycle a tree. So where is the brown bags coming from. Oh and behold we will provide you cloth made bags that may be used over and over again. Who cares if they ” might” have eColi because of whatever reason the question is. Where does the cloth they are provinding you is coming from ? As my son-in-law sez, ” whenever any family interaction… I don’t want to talk about that ! ” . Thank-you our elected officials for watvching out for all of us.

    • DavidAppell

      Have you realized that the cloth bags are washable?

      • Kristie

        have you realized that people dont wash them. Have you realized that this is just another tax on the poorest population. I live where they just started the bag ban and the stores are forced to charge 5cents they even charge the food stamp card for it, which is fraud. People dont do what you think they should, There are people that dont even shower or brush their teeth, but I guess this bag ban will transform the public to be just like white middle class America. it will be a miracle for our nation, all these amazing changes will happen. Wake up, this is just another way to nickle and dime us to death!!!

        • DavidAppell

          Why can’t people learn to wash them? If they don’t, it’s they who will get sick, not you.

          Do you realize that the oceans are choking on plastic, that it’s entering the food chain, that an estimated 100,000 marine mammals and 1 million seabirds die each year from entanglement or ingestion of plastic (J. G. B. Derraik, Marine Polltn. Bull, 44, 842, 2002)?

          Or do you just not care about any life but your own if it might cost you the slightest bit of effort?

          • guest

            begone with you monsewer lipstick on a gigolo for what’s left of US

  • Kristie

    The bag ban is a tax on the poor and disabled. In todays world all I hear from people is TAX THE RICH, but all I see them do is tax the poor. The culture of poverty has so many straggles already and now to add another charge to them is just not right. I also question about the disabled,, they have to pay also if they just cant remember to bring their bag, or what about a family fleeing domestic violence or if their house burnt down,, now they also have to pay the extra money just because they dont live a nice casual lifestyle that is fortunate to have the money to buy stability. I have not met a person that supports the bag ban that can have a decent conversation about how it is a tax on the poor. They are usually yuppies that are blind to the way other people have to live.

    Please stop supporting the nickle and dimeing of your fellow humans to death!!!!

    • DavidAppell

      You’re being absurd. Cloth bags cost about 50 cents, and can be reused for dozens of trips to the grocery store. Plastic bags are 5 cents, which might cost someone a quarter when they shop, if they forget their cloth bags.

      I am not going to believe, given food prices and the crap everyone spends their money on, that a quarter is going to bankrupt anyone.

      • guest

        u r nuts!

    • DavidAppell

      Also, do you think you weren’t paying for plastic bags *before* the bag ban? Or do you think grocery stores were giving them away out of the goodness of their heart?

      • guest

        OMG, what a maroon bawl.

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