Friday, July 2, 2010

Eco-Friendly Friday: Green But Unclean (Plus a GIVEAWAY!!!)

My sis-in-law Diana shared a very interesting article with me last week and I thought it would make for an excellent Eco-Friendly Friday post. The article is entitled, "Reusable Shopping Bags: Green but Unclean" and you can read it here.

In a nut shell, the article discusses the cleanliness (or lack there of) of reusable shopping bags. Did you know that you are suppose to wash your reusable bags after every shopping trip? This is primarily due to the transport of meat and other foods harboring bacteria. The study found that nearly half the bags sampled for this research tested positive for some kind of bacteria, including E. coli. SICK!!

If you are like me, you probably already try to carry your meats in their own bag away from other foods. This is obviously a great first step, because carrying meat separately can avoid cross contamination. But...if you don't immediately wash that bag after use, there is a chance that same bag could become your fruits and veggies bag on the following trip. Again...SICK!! The good thing is that this problem can be resolved easily. Machine washing is the most effective way to eliminate bacteria, however, many companies still promote hand washing to ensure the longevity of the bags. In the end, it's not how you wash your bags, but how often.

Another reusable item that tends to get neglected in the cleanliness department is the reusable water bottle. Some people believe (myself included) that it is unnecessary to wash a reusable water bottle after every use, especially if you plan to just refill it with water the next day. Now, I'm not saying that I went weeks without washing my reusable bottle, but when I was pinched for time and found my reusable bottle still half full on the counter, I would typically just dump it out and refill it with fresh water. Well...this is about as sanitary as tossing a raw steak in my bag of apples. So now I make sure to wash my bottle after every use. Unsure how to properly wash your reusable bottle? ReusableBags.com has a bunch of great instructional videos that not only show you how to clean your bottles, but also how to use a lot of the great cleaning utensils that can make the job that much easier. You can check out all the videos here by scrolling through the menu list on the right hand side.

Now...getting back to your groceries, I want to talk just a little more about produce. We all need to remember that just because you are transporting your delicious organic fruits and vegetables home in clean reusable bags doesn't necessarily mean your fruit is clean. My SIL reminds me all the time that at least 20 different hands touch that fruit before it reaches your home. Can you just imagine where those 20 hands were before they touched your apple? Gross.

I wish that washing fruit and veggies was as simple as running it under cold water for a few seconds. I know that is all most of us do anyway but really...can a little splash of cold water remove dirt, chemicals, bacteria, wax and a bunch of the other nasty things? No sir. You need something to help you out and that's were a good fruit and veggie wash comes in handy. My SIL and I are huge fans of Environne wash.


Never tried it before? Well today is your lucky day!!! The Apple Pie Gal herself is giving away not only a 16oz bottle of their wash, but also a package of their wipes to one lucky reader!!!!! Be sure to visit her blog to read all about the giveaway and see how to enter.

Well that's all for today friends!! I have to go wash some bags, bottles and berries. Happy Friday!!

2 comments:

  1. Great post, Jen! This study initially came out a year ago - you can read our response in our blog here: http://reusablebags.typepad.com/newsroom/2009/05/a-new-health-threat-ecofriendly-bags.html

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  2. And I am a culprit of leaving my bags in my car...not good. But how many times have I forgotten them if I don't?? A zillion. The heat just gives all the 'yuckie' stuff the perfect environment to reproduce and spread! So don't leave them in your car either! Thanks for telling peeps about the Give-Away!!

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