The Future of Grocery Totes
Meanwhile, plastic bag advocates are fighting cutbacks and bans, citing job loss, paper bags' increased costs and greenhouse-gas emissions, and reusable bags' unsanitary conditions, but the latter is not necessarily an issue.
"That is true with any bag," Duffy said of potential contamination. "If you put chicken in a bag and it's not wrapped and protected and it leaks, it's going to affect any bag, right?"
"There's no health risk [with a plastic bag] because people throw it away," he added.
Therefore, grocery totes should be cleaned-either by hand or in the washing machine, Duffy said.
While sanitation may be a concern, consumers look for one main thing in a grocery tote: durability. It must be able to hold heavy groceries. Duffy advised checking its grams-per-square-meter (GSM) density.
"The higher the number, the denser the bag. The denser the bag, the more durable and more lasting it is." Duffy said.
Many bags are 80 GSM, but when made to carry weight, they should be at least 100, Duffy said. Other bag-strengthening features include a thick, black plastic polyethylene board that serves as the base and handles that are sewn down the sides of the bag.
Regardless of whether these bans continue to go into effect, will not affect sales, he said. Bag Makers began selling the totes in 2007, a year before their estimated boom, and became the first in the industry to have them.
"They're very popular because they're reusable and they're really cost-effective," Duffy said.