Monday, January 24, 2011

Lead in Reusable Bags, Guess Who's Smiling?

Clear, extremely cold morning.

A lot of stores have jumped on the reusable bag band wagon. This is a good thing despite the probability that the incentive is more to make money from the current push for using reusable bags versus to not offer the option to customers.

You've probably seen the non-woven polypropylene bags folded up as a point of sale item at your local check out counter. They often are inexpensive, sometimes only a dollar, in various colors and usually carrying the store's logo on it. (And you should be asking yourself how can they make them so cheaply and pay good wages.)

It turns out that recent testing has shown dangerous levels of lead. The devil's in the colors. Color application and lead are always a concern. It is surprising that these bags got as far as they did. Yes, they are being pulled, some hands will be slapped, and a lot of bags will be wasted. And, unfortunately, reusable bags will get a bad rap. (We hope only temporarily.)

And guess who is behind the funding for this breach of consumer confidence? Why the ACC, the American Chemistry Council, aka, the plastics industry.

You see, they don't want you to reuse bags, they just want you to recycle them. The ACC hides behind the feel good campaign of recycling (they support November 15th, America Recycles Day) but is not a proponent of the entire green holy trinity - reduce, reuse, then recycle. The ACC fights every proposed bag ban with big bucks and is responsible for many bans failing. The ACC wants you to keep getting all those virgin plastic bags at the store to keep the plastics industry in business. Oh, but make sure you recycle them before you go back to the store and get another virgin plastic bag. *&$%#&@!

So what's the solution? Use a plain, canvas hemp or organic cotton, made in the USA, reusable tote bag.

1 comment:

Green Guy said...

I've always hated those bags. I never suspected they had lead but they always seemed odd to me. They don't inspire confidence when the bag is full. They're basically slightly better than regular plastic grocery bags and when I got one free from a new natural market the bottom fell out within a month.

I've used two canvas bags for about 2 years and they're still going strong. Every time I saw those racks of polypro "reusable" bags at stores I used to just shake my head. Now I think I'll hold my breath too.