GENIUS: San Francisco Finally Banned Reusable Grocery Bags Due to Coronavirus Transmission Risk

David Duprey

As the Great Plastic Bag Ban wars of the 2010’s raged in California, freedom lovers pointed out a number of problems with forcing customers to use reusable bags/totes instead of single use plastic bags, arguing that the single use bags were actually better for the environment and public health because reusable bags harbor bacteria and viruses.


Finally, the geniuses in charge in six California counties that have the highest rate of the Wuhan coronavirus infection have seen the light. In a March 31 update to the “Shelter in Place” order, the Bay Area counties added this provision: “Not permitting customers to bring their own bags, mugs, or other reusable items from home.”

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that COVID-19 can live for hours or days on surfaces, and that it can live for three days on polypropylene plastic, the type of plastic reusable shopping bags consist of.

Environmentalists, not surprisingly, are still embracing deadly policies that put blue collar workers’ lives at risk:

Recycling advocates said they would prefer a statewide policy that says customers can still bring their bags into stores, but grocery employees don’t have to fill them.

“This fear of bringing reusable bags into the stores is misguided, but I certainly understand why store employees don’t want to handle somebody else’s things,” said Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste. “I wouldn’t have any expectation that somebody is going to put my groceries into my bag that I brought from home.”


Indeed, a 2018 study by the National Environmental Health Association found that “reusable bags are very effective in transmitting infectious viruses from private homes to supermarket grocery carts and checkout stands,” and a California study concluded that due to cross-contamination, one contaminated reusable bag puts 9 out of 10 shoppers in a grocery store at risk of infection.

The risk isn’t just theoretical, and isn’t limited to Wuhan coronavirus:

In 2010, several Oregon teens and adults fell ill after attending a soccer tournament. Scientists traced the sickness to a reusable grocery bag, “which had been stored in a bathroom used before the outbreak by a person with a norovirus-like illness.”

Reusable bag advocates pooh-pooh these findings and say that everyone should just spend the time to thoroughly wash their plastic bags with 140-degree water to significantly lessen the risk. As Greg Gutfeld recently said on The Five:

The problem is, is that we have to rely on people like me to wash their bags. Sometimes I wear the same gym shirt three days in a row. I just dry it out on the shower. So I’m gonna do that – like people grab their bag and they just go to the place. You have to wash this bag every day, which is worse for the environment because of the chemicals you’re using, I read somewhere.


A University of Arizona study found that 97 percent of people never wash their reusable plastic shopping bags, so Gutfeld’s onto something.

Polypropylene plastic reusable shopping bags are petroleum-based, many contain high levels of lead, and – here’s the worst part – they’re imported from China. See, they really are trying to kill us.


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