Sometimes the most unexpected topics can bring spark the biggest discussions. Helped along by a link from CNN’s homepage, my post How important is a nickel that mused about my husband being handed a nickel for using a reusable bag at Target has brought in over 120 comments so far.


There are many positive comments, but there are many comments that aren’t so positive. They range from people that simply don’t want to be bothered with bringing reusable bags to those that have legitimate concerns. I thought I’d address some of the comments that struck me.

I have concerns regarding the lead content and what it may or may not mean long-term. The jury is still out on the use of those bags, but I prefer not to use them until I know for sure that they are safe.
Lead content is a concern, and some of the bags sold in grocery stores that are specifically for groceries have been found to have some led in them. The chance of the lead getting into food is minimal, but it’s completely understandable that people don’t want lead in their bags. There are many bags that shouldn’t be of concern, though. I know sing the praises of ChicoBags frequently, but they lead test their bags three separate times. There are many other reusable bag makers that take the same precautions. It’s not hard to find bags without lead. 
I try, but I tend to forget my bags in my minivan! It seems once I park, my attention goes to getting the kids out of their seats and safe through the parking lot.
I can completely sympathize with this. I forget my bags once in a while, even when I don’t have my boys with me. I don’t have any memory tricks for you, but if you do forget the bags, think about whether you can do without bags completely. If you’re just picking up a few items, ask the checker to put them right back in the cart and then transfer them to the bags in your minivan when you get there (after strapping the kids back in the van safely, of course.) If you have a lot of items and you have to take the one-time use bags, just be as responsible as you can with them. Bring them back for recycling, use them instead of trash bags, or find another use for them before they get disposed of.
They get filthy.
Yes, they can dirty, and they can even harbor bacteria from foods that have leaked inside of them. However, they can be washed.
It costs more to launder them.
Canvas bags can be put in the wash with other items like when you wash your towels and dried at the same time. It shouldn’t cost anymore. Bags that can’t be put in the washing machine can be wiped down with soap and water and hung to dry. I doubt you’ll spend more than $1 a year extra laundering your reusable bags.
I use the bags to line my trash cans. 
I understand this, but I wonder if all trash cans need to be lined. My tall kitchen trash can gets lined with tall kitchen bags, but all the other cans in my house go unlined. We just dump them on trash day into the tall kitchen can, and then rinse the cans out if they need it. Some people may say rinsing them is a waste of water, but it takes water to make plastic bags. I think it’s a pretty safe bet to say that rinsing out a trashcan consumes fewer resources than the plastic bag that lined it consumed while being created.

Some people do find very useful ways to reuse the plastic bags from the grocery store. I suppose if they choose to do that instead of purchasing plastic bags for the same jobs, it’s not a bad choice. The bags are getting used at least a second time and new bags aren’t getting created.

The convenience of having stores provide plastic bags far outweighs the cost and trouble of having to bring my own bags with me. I will never buy or use reusable bags.

Really? I’ll let other commenters on the blog respond to this one. 

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Much ado about reusable bags
120 plus comments about reusable bags brings to light that bringing your own bags can be a bit controversial? Who knew?