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  • Topic: Plastic shopping bag, Shopping bag, Reusable shopping bag
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PAPER OR PLASTIC? THE ECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS OF PLASTIC CARRIER BAG LEGISLATION IN THE UNITED STATES.

A THESIS Presented to The Faculty of the Department of Economics and Business The Colorado College

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Bachelor of Arts

By Leeland C. Smith May 2009

PAPER OR PLASTIC? THE ECONOMIC IMPLICAnONS OF PLASTIC CARRIER BAG LEGISLA nON IN THE UNITED STATES. Leeland C. Smith May, 2009 Economics Abstract

This study aims to detennine the best possible option for the United States to reduce the number of disposable plastic carrier bags consumed each year. First an evaluation of the economic and environmental implications associated with disposable carrier bag use is discussed to justify the research question. An analysis of global plastic bag regulation is used to demonstrate strategies that can be pursued in the United States. Several initiatives have been introduced by city and state governments within the United States. to control plastic bag consumption. These examples are analyzed and discussed Retailers including Whole Foods, Wal-Mart, and IKEA have also chosen to voluntarily reduce the number of plastic bags used in their stores. The results of these voluntary initiatives are examined in case studies. Two surveys were conducted to compliment the qualitative analysis in this report with quantitative statistics used to predict plastic bag consumption. The results of this analysis indicates that the United States should balance voluntary reductions with legislative actions. KEYWORDS: (Plastic Bag, United States, Legislation)

ON MY HONOR, I HAVE NEITHER GIVEN NOR RECEIVED UNAUTHORIZED AID ON THIS THESIS

Signature / /

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ABSTRACT ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

1ll

IV

1 INTRODUCTION 2 BACKGROUND
Definition - Plastic Carrier Bag The History of Carrier Bags Waste Affect on Marine Ecosystems Consumption Statistics Life Cycle Analysis Plastic Bags Paper Bags Reusable Bags Conclusion

1 5 5
6

3 LITERATURE REVIEW
Government Responses Retailer-Based Levy Consumer-Based Levy Plastic Bag Ban Voluntary Response The History of Corporate Social Responsibility What is CSR? Why is CSR Necessary? Arguments Against CSR Stakeholder Theory CSRTheory CSR in Practice

10 15 17 19 21 23 24 25 27 29 30 32 34 38 39 40 42 45 49 51 54

CSR and Plastic Bags Status Quo Bag Management by the Retail Industry Conclusion 4 ANAYLSIS OF BAGGING IN THE UNITED STATES Bagging Legislation in the U.S. Voluntary Plastic Carrier Bag Reductions Case Study #1: Whole Foods Market The History of Whole Foods The Whole Foods Philosophy Whole Foods and Sustainability Whole Foods and Bagging Case Study #2: Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The History ofWal-Mart The Wal-Mart Philosophy Wal-Mart Sustainability Wal-Mart Bagging Case Study #3: IKEA History of IKEA The IKEA Philosophy IKEA Sustainability IKEA Bagging 5 DATA AND METHODOLOGY Survey Methodology Data Survey # 1 Analysis of Data Data Survey #2 Analysis of Data Regression Methods Results Conclusion Interview Methodology 6 Conclusion Solution

56 56 58 60 61 61 66 67 67 68 69 70 74 74 75 76 79 85 85 86 87 90 94 94 95 95 97 97 99 99 100 101 101 102 108

Targets Timeline Reusable Bags Conclusion

109 110

111
112

APPENDIX SOURCES CONSULTED

LIST OF TABLES

3.1

5 STRATEGIES TO REDUCE PLASTIC BAG USE

28

3.2 SEVEN REASONS WHY CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY EXISTS 5.1 Various Descriptive Statistics

44 95

5.2 Various Descriptive Statistics 5.3 Independent Variables

97 100

LIST OF FIGURES

2.1 MARGARET KNIGHT'S PAPER BAG MACHINE 2.2 PLASTIC WASTE GENERATION AND RECOVERY IN THE U.S. FROM 1960-2007 2.3 CHRIS JORDAN'S RUNNING THE NUMBERS; AN AMERICAN SELF PORTRAIT EXHIBIT 2.4 PLASTIC LITTER 2.5 PLASTIC'S EFFECTS ON MARINE LIFE 2.6 FLOATING PATTERNS OF WASTE IN THE NORTH PACIFIC 2.7 GENERIC LIFECYCLE OF A PLASTIC BAG 2.8 GENERIC LIFECYCLE OF A PAPER BAG 4.1 IN-STORE ADVERTISING 4.2 WHOLE FOODS PAPER BAG...
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