Policy Documents

The Crusade Against Plastic Bags

Kenneth P. Green, Elizabeth DeMeo –
December 12, 2012

Studies are mixed regarding whether plastic bag bans offer significant environmental benefits, but claims of rampant environmental harms are suspect. Proponents of bag-bans omit the most important consideration, which is what replaces the plastic bags? Other bags (including cloth) have even worse environmental impact profiles, and pose additional risks of cross-contaminating food and spreading dangerous pathogens among those who share the bags. Increasingly, studies suggest that as with other poorly-thought out environmental intervention; banning plastic grocery bags reduces some harms, while increasing others.