Plastic bag fee needed to wake up shoppers – USA

Posted on May 27, 2016 by DrRossH in Plastic Limiting Regulations

To the Editor:

Source: Plastic bag fee needed to wake up shoppers

Once we realize plastic bags are an “icon of waste” that will profoundly degrade life on this planet, we realize we have three choices. 1. Ban them. 2. Charge a fee. 3. Carry our own recyclable bags.

1. Banning: Jennie Romer, a leading expert on environmental law, observes that banning bags gets lots of support because people like to ban things. But banning does not work because it usually invites legal battles with organizations like American Chemistry Council and because many people use some of the bags for things like pet waste. Banning also leads to paper bag use which creates many of the same problems as plastic.

2. Charging a fee, as Athens, Ohio, is doing, is preferable to banning because it leads shoppers to think about choices: “I’ll pay 10 cents or bring my own bags.” Still, fees are hidden taxes, the collected fees going to store owners, and the bags still accumulate.

3. Bringing our own reusable cloth, washable bags sidesteps the fee, the ban, the political and legal battles, and lets us wash our own cloth bags to guard against bacterial contamination. This makes the best logical sense, but it does not take into account human nature — many will forget to supply our own bags and end up buying bags.