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U.S. shoppers ready to ban the plastic bag

June 4, 2008

plasticbag2.JPGAs California goes, so goes the nation — or at least that appears to be the case when we’re talking about San Francisco and the increasingly out-of-favor plastic shopping bag.
San Francisco became the first and only U.S. city to ban the bags in April 2008. Now it seems that the rest of the country is also ready to outlaw the offending carry-alls, which environmentalists say endanger wildlife and can take up to 1,000 years to decompose.
More than half, 54 percent, of Americans believe that plastic, non-compostable shopping bags should be banned, according Deloitte’s Retail “Green” Survey.  
rtx5dc2.jpgThat survey of 1,080 Americans, also found that nearly one-third say they take reusable shopping bags to food stores. 

Scores of other countries from Bangladesh to China have already banned the bags.

(Photos: Reuters) 


Very interesting, do you have further details of this survey? It would be nice to see it. Thanks BP

Posted by Brian Pemberton | Report as abusive

Just because a lot of people believe that plastic bags are bad, doesn’t mean the science points at that. If we want to protect the environment, we need to look at the whole picture. Every problem that bag bans and taxes look to solve aren’t helped by taxes and bans. Ireland’s tax actually resulted in a net gain in plastic bag use as people started purchasing packaged bags to replace the ones they used to get for free. Litter is often stated as a reason to ban bags, but the solution to litter lies in changing behaviour, not in legislation. Educate people on how to properly dispose of or recycle waste to stop litter. Oil consumption is also quoted, but the amount of oil used in bags is miniscule when compared to the amount used as fuel. Bans and taxes also increase the amount of paper bags being used, the production of which uses far more energy and causes far more pollution. Please, before jumping on the ban-wagon, research the facts and make an educated choice.

Posted by Ken Holmes | Report as abusive

As anti-environmental as I’m accused of being, I’ve found that plastic grocery bags are quite effective for picking up dog poop, as well as serving as a non-odoriferous transport vehicle for poopie diapers in route to the trash can. So in that sense, I do recycle some things.

But grocery bags aren’t the only bags made of plastic. The local newspaper has plastic bags as well. Are we going to propose banning those, too? Because no one likes a wet newspaper, but we can’t be inconsistent here.

As far as that 1/3 surveyed using their own bags, I’ve only seen it twice over the last decade that a shopper brought his/her own bags to the grocery store. That survey seems just a tad overstated. Nationwide, I’d bet it’s less than 5%.


I would also like the survey reference. Having been using our own bags since 2000, I don’t see the convenience of plastic bags. In fact, before then my pantry was overflowing with plastic bags and it was quite upsetting to toss them in the trash. It was really messy. Now our tidy bag of bags sits in the car until we get to go shopping, then unload and next time we drive, we take the bags to the car. No more overflowing pantry, whew. Of course you can add the benefit of less plastic killing wildlife as a result, less oil consumption, etc etc. But for us it all started because collecting plastic bags in the pantry seemed really stupid. You could always say that you can use plastic bags many times to go to the store until they rip, but if you are going to be carrying them back and forth, why not just designate reusable bags instead… after all it is the same effort, and the reusable bags don’t break plus you don’t have to be paying attention whether you need more or not every so often. Anyways, I would like to find the reference to Ireland’s plastic bag ban failure and whether they would buy plastic bags just to use them once and toss them. As for the dog’s poop, I have come across many sites that recommend dumping pet poop in the toilet, just so it can be treated with human poop. It just seems funny that some pet owners want their pet’s bowel movements to last a thousand years. I can imagine people in the future looking at our time and rolling in the floor with laughter. I just hope we make it that far.

Posted by julie | Report as abusive

I agree with some of the commenters (Nice pun with “ban-wagon”, Ken). Most people have found other uses for the plastic bags. For instance, I use them in waste baskets. Does that mean I’ll have to buy plastic bags instead of get them for free at the store.
Having said that, I LOVE the reusable bags. They hold more, they’re VERY sturdy and have great handles. I can carry a whole trip’s worth of groceries in my three bags and bring them in at once; versus 7 to 10 flimsy plastic and paper bags that I have to go back-and-forth with 3 times to bring them all in.
How about those biodegradable corn-based “plastics” instead of banning the bag, altogether. I honestly don’t see bag litter as a problem outside of big cities. The bigger problems are cans, bottles, fast food containers, and cigarette butts.

Posted by Bryan P | Report as abusive

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