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Don’t Ban the Bag….Bag the Ban…The Truth About Plastic Bags

    • 1 posts
    January 16, 2019 10:55 AM PST

    Despite the facts, plastic bags have gotten a bad rap.  Here are some facts about your plastic bags and why they are the right choice for the environment, your wallet, and your community:


    Litter and Composition:


     Plastic shopping bags made in the U.S. are made from natural gas


        EPA date shows that plastic bags make up only 0.5 % of the U.S. municipal waste stream


        Plastic bags are 100% reusable and recyclable. 


       Plastic grocery bags require 70% less energy to manufacture than paper bags


       The production of plastic bags consumes less than 4% of the water needed to make 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.


      Reusable and paper bags take up more space that a plastic bag in a landfill.  Paper bags take up 9 times as much space as a plastic bag.


     Plastic bags produce fewer greenhouse gasses per use than paper or cotton bags.


    The Not So Green Reusable Bags:


      A reusable bag must be used no less than 132 times before having a “greener” environmental impact that a plastic grocery bag.


     Most reusable bags are made in China and Vietnam.  It takes more energy to transport a reusable bag than it does to transport a bag made in the United States.


     Reusable bags are made from heavier and thicker plastic or cotton which takes up more energy to produce.


     Reusable bags aren’t recyclable, and reusable bag giveaways are environmentally costly when unwanted bags end up in the dumpster, often after one use.


      Research from Arizona has determined that few people wash their reusable grocery shopping bags, 8% of reusable bags harbor E. coli, and nearly all unwashed bags harbor other pathogenic bacteria.


     Reusable bags are a haven for bugs.


     Bag Bans Hurt Businesses:


      Some stores have seen declines in business. One Solana Beach, CA business saw a 25% decline in business following the implementation of the ban.


     A Grocery Outlet Store told a Portland, Oregon newspaper that they have lost over $10.000 to shoplifters using a reusable bag, and stores are reporting a loss in grocery baskets due to the ban.


    Following Seattle’s ban, storeowners surveyed post-ban reported seeing their costs for carryout bags increased between 40 and 200 %



         Cities and towns across the United States are implementing this ban which is a violation of the U.S. Constitution Article 1, Section, 8, Clause 3 -the Commerce Clause, and state constitutions. The Texas Supreme Court recently ruled against the ban.   But entities like the International Council on Local Environmental Initiative (ICLEI), an international government to government entity founded at the United Nations to implement Agenda 21 polices at the local level, and state entities like Massachusetts Green Communities,  have deemed the plastic bag a public enemy despite the above-mentioned facts.  Bad science and emotionalism lead to bad law. 


     What to do:


      Contact your local officials and present them with the above facts. 


      Refuse to buy bags that stores are forced to sell you.


     Encourage storeowners to fight the ban.  If enough of them worked together, these  bans could be overturned.  As mentioned above, the Texas Supreme Court overturned the bans on plastic bags.


     Get involved with organizations at the national and local level.   Learn more by contacting us at  and The American Policy Center:

    Here is a link to a PDF on the subject that can be used all over the U.S.: