Banning Plastic Bags – Not an Entirely Accepted Environmental Solution

With plastic bags causing significant damage to our environment, why should we not ban plastic bags to solve the problem?

They’re being knotted up in trees, littering neighborhoods, sidewalks, and streets, and blocking storm drains.

How are Plastic Bags Used?

The plastic bags that people refer to when talking about the environmental problem are the lightweight disposable bags that are given away by supermarkets, markets and shops. Heavy weight plastic bags, that can be used over and over again, and which are less likely to blow away because of their weight, don’t cause as many problems. Lightweight plastic bags, that have been designed for a single use, are often given away free. While biodegradable plastic bags are being more widely used, these are not always considered an effective solution.

Banning Plastic Bags

There’s no question about it. Plastic bags are getting a bad rap.

Between 2015 and 2016, at least 77 bills were proposed by 23 states regarding the regulation of plastic bags in retail markets. In November 2016, the state of California passed a law banning plastic bags.

On the other hand, in January, Michigan passed a bill prohibiting a ban on plastic bags. And Michigan is not the only state to stop any bans. Arizona, Missouri, and Idaho have all passed similar statutes.

Are plastic bags as bad as many people might think?

Here are a few facts about plastic bags and their effect on the environment, our communities, and our personal finances.

Through banning plastic bags, the people will learn to support local workers together with green industries.
Plastic bags are 100 percent reusable and recyclable. They can be recycled in bins outside your local grocery store.
A plastic bag is made up of natural gas.
Reusing and recycling
Plastic shopping bags are not a “single-use” item. Nine out of 10 Americans reuse plastic bags at least once. They reuse them for packing material, waste disposal, and storage.
There are more than 30,000 plastic bag-recycling locations across the country.
Recycled plastic bags are used to make new plastic bags and a variety of products — like playground equipment, backyard decks, fencing, and plumbing equipment.
Comparing plastic to cloth and paper bags
It takes seven trucks to deliver the same number of paper bags that it takes to transport plastic bags in only one truck.
Paper and reusable bags take up more space than a plastic bag in landfills. Paper bags take up 9.3 times as much space as plastic bags.
Plastic shopping and storage bags produce fewer greenhouse gasses than cotton or paper bags.
Bag Carbon Footprint

“Paper does have its own environmental consequences in terms of how much energy it takes to generate. The big difference is that paper does biodegrade eventually. Plastic is a toxin that stays in the environment, marine animals ingest it, and it enters their bodies and then ours.”

No bag is free from creating an adverse environmental impact. Reusable bags may appear to be a more logical choice — especially concerning the need to reduce our over-consumption.

However, bags may not be the real problem. Perhaps what we choose to put in our shopping bags may what matters the most.

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