Culture

In COVID-19 World, Plastic Bag-Banners and Reusable Bag-Lovers Are Now Forced to Admit They Were Wrong

(Photo by Victoria Taft)

Just try to bring your reusable bags to the grocery store in many large cities. Just try. Store personnel will treat them like so much toxic waste. That’s because they basically are. And it’s about time somebody said it out loud.

After norovirus found on a reusable bag sickened a girls’ soccer team a few years ago, the jig should have been up for the fairy tales about reusable bags, but the story seeped into the ether. Yet another case of newsheimers.

But now, even the likes of San Francisco, where this “single-use plastic bag” ban got started, has had to admit, OK we were wrong about the reusable bags.

The Washington Times gleefully reported:

San Francisco has reversed its 13-year ban on plastic bags and will now prohibit the reusable bags city leaders once championed because of the coronavirus.

The city announced the switch this week as part of its plan to curb the spread of coronavirus. Barring customers from bringing reusable bags, mugs and other household items into stores was adopted as a measure “to prevent unnecessary contact.”

San Francisco is not the only place that has reversed its reusable bag policy, but it is certainly the most surprising. The city was at the forefront of eliminating single-use plastic bags in 2007.

How did we get to the place where reusable bags became the preferred conveyance for your groceries?

Let’s recap for those who haven’t lived through the life cycle of the reusable bag claptrap.

  1. Save trees, don’t use paper bags
  2. Plastic bags are better than paper bags
  3. Plastic bags are bad
  4. Thinner “plastic” bags are better
  5. Charge people to use plastic and paper bags
  6. How dare you use those thinner “single-use” plastic bags
  7. Outlaw use of “single-use” plastic bags
  8. Create thicker, recycled plastic bags
  9. Must pay for thicker, recycled plastic bags at store
  10. Must use reusable bags
  11. Reusable bags are gross
  12. Shut up and use reusable bags
  13. Reusable bags are disease carriers
  14. Reusable bags are gross
  15. Ban reusable bags because they’re disease carriers and gross
  16. Reusable bags banned from stores in COVID-19 pandemic
  17. We’ve discovered a new thing called “paper bags”

I hope this clears things up.

California outlawed plastic bags nearly four years ago, replacing the plastic bags with thicker, recycled plastic bags. Shut up and don’t ask questions. A premium was put on using those plastic bags, however, incentivizing Californians to bring their own gross bags with the deteriorating vegetable and meat juice detritus in the corners.

My Plastic Bags by Victoria Taft

Reusable bags have become a metaphor for the gullibility of mayors and sky-is-falling scolds who tell the rest of us that we don’t believe in science. Portland’s former mayor told voters there was literally a plastic bag garbage patch twice the size of Texas off the coast of Oregon to sell the idea of government-provided reusable grocery bags. Lawd.

My great-grandmother, who came over from Sweden 100 years ago, could have told you this is what would happen with reusable bags. “Återanvändbara väskor är grova!” she would have said.

I use these bags all the time but there’s one thing I won’t do with a reusable bag: Pick up dog poop. But sometimes I fear that the guy in front of me at the store, whose bags were just on the same conveyor belt as my food, did.

And now even San Francisco and other major cities around the country have seen reusable bags for what they are: germ carriers.