What Does a Plastic Bag Ban Even Mean?

  • Typically, a Plastic Bag Ban declares the distribution of all plastic bags of a certain thickness or type to be illegal.

What are the Weaknesses of Plastic Bag Bans?

  • Instead of resorting to a more eco-friendly option, stores instead offer heavier plastic bags that still comply with the new law.  
  • Unfortunately, people continue to “use-and-toss” these heavier bags as they did with the thinner bags: as long as there continues to be an option of a “free” bag, consumers often just replace the banned bag with the current available options, and definitely aren’t motivated to reuse them hundreds of times each. They know that if they forget to bring their thick plastic bag back to the store, they’ll just get another one for free.  
  • Thicker plastic bags require more fossil fuels and energy to manufacture, thus plastic bag bans may indeed have a worse environmental impact than before they were enacted.

 

Are Plastic Bag Bans alone effective?

  • In short, no.  
  • Plastic bag bans do not effectively change our disposable economy mindset.
  • If a ban is to be effective, all carryout bags given away for “free” must be prohibited. (3)
  • Otherwise, consumers will just accept the other disposable bag option and perpetuate the “use-and-toss” method.