Warning: This Unintended Consequence Could Kill You

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

The past few years have seen a whole lot of unintended consequences. The real estate industry is a prime example. And there's no doubt that there's more of that to come as regulations stemming from the Dodd-Frank Act come into effect.

But this unintended consequence has little to do with your career - except for the fact that it could put you in the hospital and unable to work. Or worse.

According to an article at Newsmax.com, California's plastic bag ban is making people sick - and not just sick. To quote the article, "the San Francisco County ban is associated with a 46 percent increase in deaths from food-borne illnesses.”

Why? Because consumers are using re-usable bags, and they aren't washing them between visits to the store. Thus, the bags are becoming incubators for E. Coli and coliform bacteria.

The message: If you use reusable bags - throw them in the laundry every time you return home from the store!

P.S. Is it AR or my computer - couldn't add a photo!

Comments (49)

Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Sharon -Maybe you haven't used them to carry drippy meats?

Jan 27, 2013 06:07 AM
Cynthia Larsen
Cotati, CA
Independent Broker In Sonoma County, CA

My county is about to ban plastic and that is the main concern here. And I have never washed my canvas bags.

Jan 27, 2013 08:02 AM
Lisa Von Domek
Lisa Von Domek Team - Dallas, TX
....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless!

Hello Marte,

I've read about this before, great post to spread the word on what should be common sense...wash those bags!

Jan 27, 2013 08:11 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Cynthia - Does anyone in California use paper any more? Here in the woods they still say "Paper or plastic?" at the checkout.

Lisa - It seems like even if they didn't get smelly, they'd start to look grubby after a while.

Jan 27, 2013 08:37 AM
Jennifer Fivelsdal
JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571 - Rhinebeck, NY
Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection

Marte this is  important information for consumers.  Re-usable bags do need washing after each use.   I think signs should be posted in stores.

Jan 27, 2013 10:02 AM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager
No, the meat goes in plastic. But the bags are just the beginning....the check out people and baggers touch every item we buy, possibly passing on serious germs. We not only handle the items when we get home, we also place them on our counters. We don't stand a chance!
Jan 27, 2013 10:33 AM
Nina Rogoff
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Medfield, MA
Sells Real Estate!

Marte, this is good information. I confess, I bag my meat and poultry in a plastic bag and then put it in my canvas bags. The idea of putting raw meat juices in with the veggies, fruit or soaking into a cardboard box is just not something I can do. Still, I do try to collect the plastic bags and recycle them all periodically at the supermarket recycling center.

Jan 27, 2013 11:10 AM
Jeanne Kozak
RE/MAX In Action - Martinsburg, WV
REALTOR and Broker/Owner in WV and VA

I have read about this before. Wonder what they will come up with next to try to force consumers to use. I tryo t be careful with mine and never put anything leaking like meat. But I will be more careful. The bags are usually so cheap, they will never hold up to much washing I bet.

Jan 27, 2013 11:20 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Jennifer - it wouldn't be a bad idea to remind people.

Sharon - I just passed along an article to my son, who likes to stop on his way to work for an espresso. It said to carry antispectic wipes, and wipe the lid before drinking. Why? The server uses her hand to push the lid in place. I think the same advice would go for soft drinks you buy with the lids already in place - who knows if that server just sneezed her cold germs into her hand before affixing your lid.

Nina - I wish we had a place here to recycle plastic bags. As it is, I just re-use them in many ways. (I haven't purchased waste basket liners in years.) And I'm not the only one trying to re-use. Our library collects bags and uses them for the monthly book sale - and when I stopped at the health food store this week the lady gave me my purchases in a bag from a chain grocery. It saves the store money and helps the environment a little at the same time.

Jeanne - It's only smart to put the drippy stuff in plastic. Even if the store used paper bags, they'd soak through and either fall apart before you got them home or drip in your car - or both.


Jan 27, 2013 12:21 PM
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

I actually use re-usable bags and had never considered this consequence which is so unlike me. Hmm...makes you think.

Jan 27, 2013 01:26 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Tammie - I'm glad it didn't bite you!

Jan 27, 2013 03:04 PM
Steve Warrene
Your Town Realty - Lower Burrell, PA
Pittsburgh Real Estate Investment Specialists

I have family and friends that uses those reusable bags, they will be hearing about what you said in your post.

Jan 27, 2013 09:36 PM
Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A.

I wash mine, but yikes, not after every trip--need to do it.

Jan 27, 2013 11:16 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Steve - I think it's kinda scary.

Norma - I expect the bags that carried canned goods, bread, cereal, paper towels, etc. probably don't need to be washed every time.

Jan 28, 2013 12:12 AM
Pat & Wayne Harriman
Harriman Real Estate, LLC (203) 672-4499 - Wallingford, CT
Broker/Owners, Wallingford CT Real Estate

Hmm, we've been using reusable bags for years without washing them, with no ill effects. Still, as they say, an ounce of prevention...

Jan 28, 2013 02:11 AM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

California is the classic example of the Pyrrhic Victory.

Otherwise known as shooting ones self in one's foot.

To quote RR, the government isn't the solution, government is the problem.

Jan 28, 2013 02:40 AM
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Marte, I guess this is one time when I may be glad that I always forget to take them into the store and then berrate myself at the cash register.


Jan 28, 2013 12:51 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Pat and Wayne - Yes, you never know when that ounce will be the one that saves you.

Lenn - I find that you and I think alike more often than not.

Sharon - I know just what you mean. I do the same thing.

Jan 28, 2013 02:33 PM
Gail Robinson
William Raveis Real Estate - Southport, CT
CRS, GRI, e-PRO Fairfield County, CT

Marte - My bags are vinyl so I can't throw them in the wash, but after reading the article I will use a separate bag consistently for the meats.  

Feb 04, 2013 10:03 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Gail - You could rinse your "meat bags" with a peroxide solution to kill any bacteria left behind.

Feb 05, 2013 01:54 AM