This week, reports of lead in reusable bags broke, possibly leaving many to wonder why they even try to live green. Seriously, we’ve got bunk organics, greenwashing and of course dangerous reusable bags that harbor death. Now lead. Sigh.
Be aware that this lead issue is confined to cheap reusable bags – the very same cheap store-brand bags I continually warn against.
I’m not for cheap store bags because…
- Why use a cheap bag that you’ll have to throw away sooner?
- You usually can’t further recycle or use these bags.
- You can’t wash them.
I guess now you should also avoid cheap reusable bags because some of them contain lead. None of the bags in question were cloth. All of the bags thought to contain lead have been made with polypropylene.
Money savings with quality reusable bags:
Beyond all the reasons above, you should also consider avoiding those tacky cheap store bags because they’re more expensive. For example, while cheap at first (about $1 a pop) they don’t last long at all. I’ve been given two of these, which yeah, isn’t a great sample study, but these bags only lasted for about 4-5 uses. Then they started fraying, lost their ability to hold as much (the bottoms felt weak) and the handles started to bust off.
If you use about 5 bags per week for groceries, that’s about 260 uses per year. That’s estimating very low too. Here we have a family of five and use about ten or so bags a week for grocery and other shopping plus use them to cart books and other gear around. BUT, we’ll say 260 uses a year.
If we estimate that each of your cheap bags might last about ten uses each, you’d need 26 bags a year so you’d pay $26 over a year. Not too bad. However, these cheap bags still can’t beat quality reusable bags.
My favorite set of reusable bags is my set of ACME Bags – Lightweight Recycled Cotton Tote with Dual Handles. I bought eight bags and each cost about $6.22 at the time. I’ve had these bags since May 2008, or for about 2.5 years and they’re going strong. I doubt I’ll have to replace them for another 2.5 years. A couple of them have developed holes in the side seem, but it’s nothing a quick mending won’t fix. After they really die, I’ll cut them up and use them instead of paper towels to clean with, saving even more cash.
Since I’ll get about 5 years or more worth of use out of my good reusable bags I’ll save money. It would cost me about $130 to keep buying cheaper bags, but my good bags never cost more than the original price of $50. That’s an $80 saving. That seems like spare change, but every bit helps when you’re trying to save money, plus it’s still a whole lot of organic milk (about 32 half gallon cartons) and you’d save even more over more years.
Do you use those cheap store bags? What do you think? I’ve heard that some hold up better than others, but that hasn’t been my experience.