Plastic bag ban
A plastic bag ban is a scam growing in popularity. (All plastic bags are 100% recyclable.) The scam is supported not by environmental groups but by grocery store chains. The grocery store chains bribe politicians into an official law banning plastic bags. If the grocery store chains really object to plastic bags, they can only use paper. Trader Joe's only uses paper, but once the plastic bag ban is in effect, they begin charging 10 cents for each paper bag they used to give away for free. Even with a ban, they never have to charge for the bags--some of the Whole Foods and CVS stores do not even charge a fee at all. Of course 7-11 stores charge 3x the standard fee for bags because the bag ban is simply about greed both from grocery stores and the government getting more taxes. The ban simply is an excuse for grocery stores to profit by charging 10 cents per bag for a bag that costs then last than 1/10th of a cent to buy. Grocery stores would like to rip people off this way and can but then they would lose all their customers; however with a law in place, they can just claim the government is forcing them.
Some areas have this for supermarkets only. Other areas have this for all stores, even office stores and hardware stores.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) aka the Grocery Lobby is the group behind these bans. This group literally wants to exterminate the American people. The Grocery Lobby who pushes these bans for profit also pushes to oppose labeling of genetically modified food. California Proposition 37 (2012) required labeling of genetically modified food and prevented them from calling themselves "natural" and one of the biggest groups spending $2,002,000 that prevented the bill from passing was the Grocery Manufacturers Association! This group also pushed through the "The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act" in 2015, named in Orwellian Doublespeak, more honestly called the Dark Act by its nickname because this bill bans labeling of genetically modified food.
The truth about the environmental impact
As for the environmentalism lie: Paper bags cost far more in resources to make than plastic. Plastic bags have a lower carbon footprint than paper and reusable bags. Plastic bags also are 0.4% or less of the USA's municipal solid waste. Plastic bags are 100% recyclable--just melt them down and use them again, unlike paper. In 2011, an estimated one billion pounds of plastic bags, sacks and wraps were recycled, an increase of 55% since 2005. In 2010, 14.7% of plastic bags were recycled, an increase of 23.8% from 2009. It takes 91% less energy to recycle a pound of plastic than it does a pound of paper. It is cheaper to use recycled plastic bags than to make new and so there is a growing demand for them. Some places have pushed for compostable plastic bags, however unlike the standard recyclable plastic bags being banned, compostable plastic bags do not break down anywhere except special composting facilities that are extremely rare.
Studies have also found that customers do not buy reusable bags, they just subtitute plastic for paper.
Unlike standard plastic grocery bags which are recyclable, the "reusable bags" are not. The "reusable bags" are made from non-recyclable nonwoven polypropylene and people use them less than eight times on average before they wear out and people throw them away where they where they take up much more space than plastic bags.
Plastic bags use 40% less energy to produce and generate 80% less solid waste than paper. In contrast, paper bags generate 70% more emissions and 50 times more water pollutants to make than than plastic bags. Even paper bags made from 100% recycled fiber use more fossil fuels than plastic bags. To make all of the plastic bags in the USA requires less than .05% of a barrel of oil. Plastic bags use 70% less energy to make than paper.
Plastic bags take up 85 percent less space than paper bags in landfills 95% of all litter in white countries is cigarette butts, chewing gum, and candy wrappers, not plastic bags. Paper accounts for 40% of a landfill's contents. Newspapers alone take up around 13% of landfill space. Plus paper does not break down in landfills because of how stable and dry it is--newspapers from the 1960s there have been found to be intact and readable.
Paper bags are worthless
When paper bags are forced, you then see people carrying their bags from the bottom instead of the top because paper bags have less carrying strength than plastic. Paper bags also tear easily from the sides when putting in groceries so not many re-uses can be had out of them.
California which is always suffering a water shortage is now trying to ban plastic bags statewide. Manufacturing paper bags uses a large amount of water. And then keeping these bags uses even more water to kill all the germs they spread.
Reusable bags carry plagues
Grocery stories also sell re-usable cloth bags at an extremely high markup. These re-useable bags have been found to contain endless germs. Health investigators have traced plague outbreaks to reusable grocery bags, which shopping carts themselves also carry. So these re-usable bags may be the bringer of the next super-plague! So it is necessary to wash them regularly, using more environmental resources and money.
People also will store their groceries in these bags in a hot car which encourages the bacteria on them to breed and infest your food.
The California Department of Health had a huge advisory warning about contamination from reusable bags about keeping foods separate, heavily sterilizing everything the reusable bags touch and everything put in the bags. They even said to grab those free plastic bags from the produce aisle and put them around meat, fresh produce, and pretty much any food item before putting them in reusable bags. So people are still getting disposable bags just to keep using their reusable bags!
Reusable bags are toxic
Economic harm of plastic bag bans
So billions of dollars in profit for grocery chains at the expense of making their customers miserable, big government even bigger, and economic harm by taking away from the plastic bag industry. Plastic grocery bags are made locally while the "reusable bags" are made in China and this transfers jobs away from the local area to a distant foreign country.
This also makes those who create plastic bags lose their jobs and the fees charged for bags mean consumers have less income. Plus in areas where the ban is in effect, if people live near an area where the ban is not in effect, they will shop there instead. A 2012 study by the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), found that a ban on plastic bags negatively impacts retail sales, and thus employment. In Los Angeles County, they found that stores within the area lost business and had to lay off their workers while stores outside the area got an increase in business.
The tax on paper bags also is an illegal tax.
Reusable shopping bags increases shoplifting.
How to bypass it
If you live somewhere where grocery stores charge 10 cents a bag for those worthless paper bags, simply go to the garbage bag aisle in the store. In that aisle they have really cheap bags, like 100 plastic ones for $1. So just buy a pack of those and bring it to checkout and say you got your bags right there. If they feed you a line about the environment, just mention the truths about the ban and how you will be re-using the plastic bags. Then tell them to bag your groceries in them because you don't want to have to bag them yourself. Plus since you brought your own bags, many stores give you discounts for every one of your own bags you bring in, so with any luck you'll have paid for these bags you bought with the discount.
- How California's plastic bag ban could backfire