Charity & Causes​​

Why is there so much opposition to plastic bag ban

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Countries worldwide are slowly adopting plastic bag bans, or they’re enforcing plastic bag tax to charge those who are not using the reusable fabric bags that are being sold in many stores. I’m behind the idea, and have been using reusable bags long before the stores I regularly shop at began charging 5c, but I’ve been surprised to see a fair amount of online outrage with these changes that should be positive.

https://planetsave.com/2010/05/12/why-so-much-opposition-in-plastic-bag-bans-and-taxes/
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darius-clemente
darius-clemente followed this discussion
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For people on a tight budget, having to purchase reusable bags even one time seems to be a concern. It’s even more costly for those who instead choose to pay the bag tax for every large grocery shop. Some say that a few extra bucks to save the toll on the environment is certainly worthwhile and it shouldn’t be questioned. But for those living dollar-to-dollar and paycheck-to-paycheck, every cent counts. This goes back to a common debate — environmental options are just too expensive.
4 mths
Host
What is your take on this? Should we really put a price tag on saving the environment?
4 mths
troy.sparks
troy.sparks followed this discussion
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There is no proper substitues for plastic bags that are equally good, cheap, comfortable and durable. Paper bags could be a substitute but it's niether environment friendly nor comfortable nor durable.
4 mths
Host
There is no proper substitues for plastic bags that are equally good, cheap, comfortable and durable. Paper bags could be a substitute but it's niether environment friendly nor comfortable nor durable.
I agree. Paper production requires hundreds of thousands of gallons of water as well as toxic chemicals like sulphurous acid, which can lead to acid rain and water pollution. Jute bags could be comfortable and durable but not cheap.
4 mths
Host
Plastic bags are not as environmentally damaging as we are led to believe. One important way to measure the environmental effect of a product is to calculate its"embodied energy" or the amount of energy it takes to mine the materials to produce the product, to manufacture the product, to transport the product, the use the product, and to dispose of the product. And the plastic bag is EXTREMELY efficient. For every paper bag, 100 plastic bags can be produced for the same amount of embodied energy.
4 mths
Host
Plastic bag bans are BAD for the environment.
4 mths
Host
Here in Germany (as well as in many other European countries), the supermarkets charge for bags. It's not much: maybe 20 or 25 cents for a big plastic bag. Moreover, you have to pick out the bag yourself and put it on the conveyor (and then bag your own groceries). But, as a result, everyone carefully curates their bag collection, scrupulously remembering to bring bags with them when they go to the supermarket, lest they need to buy new ones. This small fee (and the fact that you must make a positive action to buy a bag) appears totally successful in greatly reducing the consumption of plastic bags.
4 mths
Host
Here in Germany (as well as in many other European countries), the supermarkets charge for bags. It's not much: maybe 20 or 25 cents for a big plastic bag. Moreover, you have to pick out the bag yourself and put it on the conveyor (and then bag your own groceries). But, as a result, everyone carefully curates their bag collection, scrupulously remembering to bring bags with them when they go to the supermarket, lest they need to buy new ones. This small fee (and the fact that you must make a positive action to buy a bag) appears totally successful in greatly reducing the consumption of plastic bags.
Reuseable bags harbor bacteria. Bacteria can make people sick. Not the case with plastic bags that are single use. I believe keeping people healthy and free from recognized health hazards is higher priority than empowering governments to bully people into making choices that could make them sick.
4 mths
Host
"If businesses switch to paper bags, they will almost certainly have greater environmental impacts to produce, and even reusable bags have greater impacts if people start treating them as disposable and using more of them.

This is beside the point of most bans, though, because they are targeted not at reducing resource consumption but at reducing litter, and paper bags degrade and don't kill fish and birds."
4 mths
Host
The solution is not a ban, but rather designing a plastic bag that will compost in natural environments. These polymers exist already, but have a high barrier to entry because of costs. I think people are willing to pay a small price for such a bag and they do exist. However they are relatively unknown.
4 mths
Host
I also heard people argue that a plastic bag ban causes an increase in purchases of plastic trash bags, making it counterproductive, but I can't find data to support that. If it's done on a local level, it puts those businesses at a disadvantage compared to other businesses in areas without the ban.
4 mths
Host
Here in Germany (as well as in many other European countries), the supermarkets charge for bags. It's not much: maybe 20 or 25 cents for a big plastic bag. Moreover, you have to pick out the bag yourself and put it on the conveyor (and then bag your own groceries). But, as a result, everyone carefully curates their bag collection, scrupulously remembering to bring bags with them when they go to the supermarket, lest they need to buy new ones. This small fee (and the fact that you must make a positive action to buy a bag) appears totally successful in greatly reducing the consumption of plastic bags.
Some U.S. grocery stores have also started charging a small fee (usually much less, around 5 cents/bag) for bags, or offering a discount if you bring your own bag. However, this is much less successful, because typically the cashier or another store employee bags the groceries. Because the consumer doesn't have to take the positive action of deciding how many bags (s)he wants, the effect is just an almost invisible sub-$1 fee that is easily overlooked and does not seem to influence behavior.
4 mths
Host
From the limited amount of research that I have done, I have not seen suitable options that really protect the environment. Look at the straw ban taking place as well. People are trying to make that political but in reality, much like with plastic bags ban, there are not workable solutions that do what the ban is suppose to do. Starbucks paper straws will create more of a carbon footprint than plastic straws. Its hard to get your head around that.
4 mths
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If you mean total ban on plastic bags then it is unlikely to be viable because we need bags of one sort or another and plastic is one of the most economic materials to make them out of. The recent ban is supposedly about the waste as many people used them only once.
4 mths
Host
I believe that the banning of free plastic bags was another conservative con! Stores that gave free bags were very pleased to discontinue this practice because it cost them money. They could not do it unilaterally because of competition.

Perhaps the cost that they saved could be going to good causes?
4 mths