Should we ban plastic bags? | The Tylt
California is the first state to ban single-use plastic bags in large retail stores, and activists are pushing states across the country to follow suit. Countries like New Zealand and the U.K. are implementing efforts to reduce the use of single-use bags to better protect the environment. Critics say the government shouldn't tell people what to do. Besides, in the big picture, bag bans are just feel good measures which do little to stop pollution. What do you think? ♻️
Should we ban plastic bags?
Advocates of single-use bag bans say plastic bags are completely unnecessary and should be phased out from use. They have an outsized impact on the environment, persist for huge amounts of time as needless landfill, and cause a lot of harm to wildlife and ecosystems. According to the EPA, over 380 billion plastic bags are used each year in the U.S. alone, requiring 12 million barrels of oil to make. Advocates say plastic bags are not worth the damage they wreak on the environment.
Environmental groups say the ban will help stem pollution and prevent sea animals from eating or getting entangled in the flimsy plastic that drifts into waterways. Every year, about 15 billion single-use plastic bags are given out to California consumers, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office.
Critics of bag bans say the efforts to ban single-use bags are misguided. People treat the reusable bags as though they're single-use bags. But reusable bags have a significantly larger carbon footprint than single-use bags. The bag bans are feel-good efforts that have a negligible impact on the environment.
Some of the loudest complaints about the ban aren't coming from conservative opponents, however, but from the same voices that advocated a ban in the first place. Activist Jordan Parker, founder of environmental advocacy group Bring Your Bag Chicago, notes that the thicker reusable plastic bags, which take five times as much energy to produce, harm the environment much more than the single-use bags. This is a problem because it's unknown how many consumers are reusing the "reusable" bags and how many are simply throwing them away.