Develop vigilant cleaning habits for reusables

In our laudable haste to be eco-friendly, let us not forget the main reason for single-use disposables: health safety (Drink and throw? That's the last straw for this teen, May 30).

Other reasons are not having to wash them, saving water and reducing use of phosphate-linked detergents.

Anyone leaving a plastic straw lying around for a while would see dark green algae stains inside.

Remnants of juice or sugary liquids would also be ideal nutrients for bacterial growth in straws kept in the warm temperatures of bag interiors. That reusable replacements are opaque makes us less mindful of these dangers.

Likewise, juice or blood stains in fabric carrier bags can promote bacterial growth.

As found by University of Arizona and Loma Linda University researchers in 2011, almost all reusable bags randomly selected from customers doing their grocery shopping contained large amounts of bacteria, and half contained coliform bacteria. E. coli was identified in 8 per cent of the bags, as were many different types of enteric bacteria.

Not using disposables would require developing vigilant habits in cleaning their replacements, like brushing straw interiors thoroughly - suitable brushes do exist - and laundering fabric carriers after use.

Amy Loh Chee Seen (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 01, 2018, with the headline 'Develop vigilant cleaning habits for reusables'. Print Edition | Subscribe