Plastic Bags

Topics: Plastic shopping bag, Reusable shopping bag, Bags Pages: 8 (2857 words) Published: November 14, 2010
Why Should We Not Ban Plastic Bags
From LoveToKnow GreenLiving
With plastic bags causing significant damage to our environment, why should we not ban plastic bags to solve the problem? Plastic bags are one of the most visible signs of the pollution problem that extends across our planet. It is rare to see a strip of road, river bank or sea front that does not have a few plastic bags littering the environment. The result, besides being an eyesore, is often the death of wildlife. The problems that plastic bags cause, however, do not begin and end with the littering of the environment and the filling of landfill sites. Plastic bags are created using energy and non-renewable resources such as oil. The creation of each new plastic bag sucks a little more out of the environment. -------------------------------------------------

How are Plastic Bags Used?
The plastic bags that people refer to when talking about the environmental problem are the lightweight disposable bags that are given away by supermarkets, markets and shops. Heavy weight plastic bags, that can be used over and over again, and which are less likely to blow away because of their weight, don’t cause as many problems. Lightweight plastic bags, that have been designed for a single use, are often given away free. While biodegradable plastic bags are being more widely used, these are not always considered an effective solution. -------------------------------------------------

So, Why Should We Not Ban Plastic Bags?
Many people wonder why should we not ban plastic bags. Given that the main reason for disposable plastic bags is to carry purchases home from a store, replacing these bags with other options should be easy. In reality, however, while there is a move towards reusable bags, this is happening very slowly. Therefore why should we not ban plastic bags to provide an immediate solution? Many countries, cities and towns have introduced local bans on plastic bags. Shoppers are encouraged to bring reusable bags with them when shopping. This includes recycled bags, fabric bags, wicker baskets or specially designed 'eco-bags'. This ban is often reported as being a great success. Bans like this work best when the community has been involved in the decision making process and therefore feel a form of ownership of the project. Bag Tax – an Alternative to Bag Bans

An alternative to banning plastic bags is the introduction of a bag tax. Ireland introduced a bag tax and has reported a reduction in the use of plastic bags by 90%. Charging for plastic bags helps to give a focus as to whether a plastic bag is entirely necessary. -------------------------------------------------

The Problems of Banning Bags
With the banning of plastic bags appearing to be such a sensible idea, what possible problems could there be? People who are against the banning of plastic bags often cite the fact that plastic bags are very low priority when all the environmental issues of concern are taken into account. Even some green supporters are against the banning of bags, preferring instead to educate people and change habits rather than forcing the issue. Other people refer to the fact that the banning of plastic bags simply moves the problem elsewhere. Cities that have banned plastic bags often report an increase in the sale of plastic bin bags. Instead of plastic, paper bags are often used. These raise other issues, for instance the use of virgin paper pulp. Some environmentalists who are opposed to the banning of bags fear that it breeds complacency. They are concerned that people may feel that they are making their contribution towards green living by not using plastic bags and overlooking the bigger issues. They argue that the big picture needs to be considered and not just focusing on single issues. While it is undeniable that disposable plastic bags are a relatively small problem in the overall scheme of things, reducing their use is something we can all do. Governments and...
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