Bans on plastic bags harm the environment

By James D. Agresti
May 29, 2012
Corrected 6/15/12

With the urging of environmental groups backed by the celebrity firepower of actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the city of Los Angles banned plastic supermarket bags last week. The law received added support from the Los Angeles Times, which published a house editorial encouraging the city council to enact the ban. Without presenting any quantitative evidence, the editors wrote that plastic bags pose a “huge cost to the environment” and that reusable totes and paper bags are “better options.” Unsupported claims to this effect are widespread in the press and among advocacy groups, but they are at odds with scientific data.

In 2011, the United Kingdom’s Environment Agency released a study that evaluated nine categories of environmental impacts caused by different types of supermarket bags. The study found that paper bags have a worse effect on the environment than plastic bags in all nine impact categories, which include global warming potential, abiotic depletion, acidification, eutrophication, human toxicity, fresh water aquatic ecotoxicity, marine aquatic ecotoxicity, terrestrial ecotoxicity, and photochemical oxidation.

Furthermore, the study found that the average supermarket shopper would have to reuse the same cotton tote from 94 up to 1,899 times before it had less environmental impact than the disposable plastic bags needed to carry the same amount of groceries. This wide-varying amount of reuse that is required until the breakeven point is reached depends upon the type of environmental impact, but the median is 314 times, and it is more than 170 times for all but one of the 9 impact categories.

For example, a shopper would need to reuse the same cotton tote 350 times before it caused less fresh water aquatic ecotoxicity than all of the plastic bags that it would replace over this period. Given the improbability that the same cotton tote would last that long (its expected life is 52 reuses), in most cases plastic bags will have less environmental impact.

Why is this? Because the environmental impacts of supermarket bags are dominated by the energy and raw materials needed to manufacture them. Plastic bags are inexpensive because relatively small amounts of energy and raw materials are needed to make them. These same attributes that make plastic bags affordable and light also make them easier on the environment than alternatives like paper bags and reusable cotton totes.

Critics of plastic bags frequently argue that they “take hundreds of years to decompose,” and the LA Times editors advance this storyline by showing a picture of a dump with a caption that reads, “ENDURING: A plastic grocery store bag lies amid the trash at a Calabasas landfill.” Such logic ignores reality in two key respects.

First, modern-day landfills are generally benign because they have composite liners, clay caps, and runoff collections systems. As explained in a 1999 paper in the Journal of Environmental Engineering, modern landfills have “minimum odor nuisance,” “pose few problems after they are closed,” and “are a tribute to sanitary engineering.” Moreover, after being closed, landfills can be used for parks, commercial development, golf courses, nature conservatories, ski slopes, and airfields.

Second, even organic materials in landfills commonly take hundreds of years to decompose. Many people are ill-informed of this fact because of websites like WikiAnswers, corporations like Disney, major media outlets like CBS—and because they have been misled about this subject since their youth. Such misinformation flows from educational resources like the Environmental Education Exchange’s middle school curriculum on recycling, which states that paper bags take about a month to decompose in a landfill. Nearly the same content appears on EducationWorld.com, which has been honored by Apple, Microsoft, and Encyclopedia Britannica as one the world’s top education resources. These resources invoke the credibility of unidentified “scientists” to support this claim about paper bags and similar claims about other organic materials, but the scientific facts prove otherwise.

A study of landfills sponsored by the University of Arizona found that the tightly compacted contents of landfills create low-oxygen environments that inhibit decomposition. The details of the study were published in the book, Rubbish: The Archaeology of Garbage (2001), which explains that:

• “the dynamics of a landfill are very nearly the opposite of what most people think.”
• landfills “are not vast composters; rather, they are vast mummifiers.”
• “almost all the organic material” from the 1950s in a Phoenix landfill “remained readily identifiable: Pages from coloring books were still clearly that, onion parings were onion parings, carrot tops were carrot tops.”
• much of the organic material in an ancient Roman landfill that was twenty centuries old had not fully decomposed.

Up until the second century A.D., most literature was written on papyrus, an organic paper-like product. Papyrus is very vulnerable to moisture and deteriorates quickly when handled, but some of these documents survived thousands of years to the present era simply because they were deposited in landfills and thus shielded from decay. Like disposable plastic bags, reusable cotton bags wind up in landfills at the end of their useful lives and will likely be intact hundreds or thousands of years from now.

Another common talking point about supermarket plastic bags is that they are rarely recycled, but this argument ignores the fact that a large portion of supermarket plastic bags (40% in the U.K.) are reused as garbage pail liners. Interestingly, the U.K. study found that it is better for the environment to reuse these bags as garbage pail liners rather than recycle them. This is due to the environmental “benefits of avoiding the production of the bin liners they replace.”

Environmental impact studies can sometimes produce conflicting results, but Just Facts is unaware of any evidence that would overturn the general findings of the U.K. study. The study may even understate the environmental impacts of reusable cotton totes because it doesn’t account for regularly washing them, which is recommended because they can harbor dangerous bacteria from meat drippings and other foods.

The study did find that with moderate reuse, plastic totes made from polypropylene are better for the environment than disposable plastic bags, but this doesn’t negate the fact that standard plastic bags are a more environmentally friendly choice than so-called green alternatives like paper bags and reusable cotton totes. Thus, when governments outlaw plastic bags to “improve the environment,” they actually create more pollution.

49 thoughts on “Bans on plastic bags harm the environment

  1. Well, I have not bought a plastic trash bag in nearly ten years because I use my Walmart plastic bags daily so I recycle plastic bags and I am sure others do.

    Great article on the cons of stopping plastic bags. The more government we get the more ignorance we see rule our lives. Thanks for the article.

  2. Seeing as everyone is brainwashed this comment will probably just be a waste of time,however…
    If we didn’t have to keep the black budget funding of the drug war scam,bags made of hemp plastic would actually turn into a fertilizer in landfills.
    Yes we all know that hemp is more dangerous than nuclear fission!
    Yes even Fukushima disasters are more acceptable than hemp!
    Let’s not forget depleted uranium munitions!
    That’s OK for the environment too!
    We can tolerate radiation but hemp? It is unthinkable! It is unthinkable to use industrially because then we wouldn’t buy the petrochemicals from the Oil companies to make all our bottles (full of BPA that turn everyone into girls) and bags! Bags are gonna kill us! Not radiation.
    But hemp is impossible.It is impossible because we are all trained and brainwashed that the hemp is just out of the question because the black ops money is too important to our private prison industries!
    How could black operations have an unlimited black budget for reducing the population especially at the Mexican border http://news.yahoo.com/49-headless-bodies-found-near-us-border-latest-171017335.html
    You see …that’s not a problem because it reduces the population just like they want.
    Of course we all know that we have to pretend that you can’t have a plastic bag to save the environment so it is capable of sustaining all the oil that is still leaking in the Gulf (BP) of Mexico,and so the environment can sustain the GE radiation from old nuke plants! (And a hemp plastic bag? OMG the children! What about the children!?
    We just use human fetuses for making Senomyx tasty treats in our Pepsi.
    It’s not doubleminded madness! It is Orwell.Too bad that no one can make the point that it’s ridiculous to continue on with petrochemicals and nuclear radiation
    because the black ops budgets wouldn’t have the money to keep their boot on the peoples faces if we used the unthinkable hemp plastics.
    If you wish to see how unsustainable a hemp plastic bag would be please see the video Henry Ford and Rudolf Diesel against Petroleum
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGZEMwMx2vk Pt 1
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YR58dWGeBks Pt 2
    All plastic bags must be made of the Queen Elizabeth’s BP and Queen Beatrix’s Shell Oil ,and because they are YOU cannot get a plastic bag for your GMO DNA modified foods grown with Monsanto fertilizers because there are no minerals left in the soil due to greedy cultivation and mad scientists adulterated slop at the stores designed to slow kill you.
    I’m sorry to mention hemp because even though it is a solution it is an impossibility because…..um because um…
    Just because.Forget about hemp because people will laugh at you for saying that and there is no force in this world that will ever allow hemp bags and industrial products because the oil companies just won’t allow it.

    • I’m sorry, who was the brainwashed one? You sound just as washed as the rest of us, just telling a different story.

    • I used to be very skeptical about conspiracy theories back in the day when you couldn’t verify facts. We live in the information age now, so all the buried fact about hemp are “Googlable.”Hemp plastic makes sense. The reason industrial hemp is banned in the U.S. has everything to do with industrial greed and the fact that the petrochemical industry does not want to compete with a natural, safe solution. This is a sad fact and it doesn’t only affect our issues with plastic, but the use of trees for paper, and plenty of other industries as well. So paper or plastic? If it’s not made from something renewable and sustainable, you are just trading one problem for another. Hemp is the answer.

  3. This article claims a single cotton bag could hurt the environment the same as 158 years of use of plastic bags.

    That is just absolutely ridiculous and makes it impossible to take anything else said in this article seriously. 158 years worth of plastic bags would probably be the size of a house. There is no possible way a few ounces of cotton would be as damaging as that.

    • One aspect I really didn’t see given any attention is the amount of water required to make plastic. Most people don’t realize that treated water is even used in plastic production, but being in the plastic industry I can attest that an amazing amount is used. Think about that the next time you crack the seal on a bottle of water. It truly makes me sad every day at work at all the waste.

      If you really want to help, go with a stainless container and use it everyday instead of buying bottled water. Re-use what plastic bags you get from the store, and recycle whatever unused paper/plastic you can’t re-use.

      Reduce, re-use, re-purpose, repair, donate, recycle all things. Don’t fall for the consumerism traps, do you really need to buy that?

  4. I have to agree with me Newport above, although I see in the text they give a spread of “8 to 158 years before it had less environmental impact than the disposable plastic bags” – one thing is the cotton bag is not going to last that long so its not a valid statistic – they really need to make their math more transparent. Mr Wingnut also makes some intelligent points the mass media is not allowed to discuss.

  5. Yeah yeah, We all know how truthful government agency studies are. I clearly recall canabis being claimed to have miraculous powers to turn women into prostitutes, throw themselves out of windows while laughing hysterically. Or what about the ongoing global warming fiasco where we haven’t actually had any warming for over a decade and record levels of sea ice. Once too many lies to believe a word they say. Plastic is harmful to the enviornment, no argument it’s made of crude oil.

  6. The author has totally ignored the number one reason plastic bags need to be eliminated or chemically changed so they break down into their original elements. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is an area of the Pacific ocean near Hawaii that consists of billions of bits of plastic floating on or near the surface. The area of the Garbage patch is estimated to be as large as the continental US. This is one of a number in the world. The plastic gradually breaks into smaller particles while remaining a Polymer right down to the molecular level. These are ingested by sea creatures and leach out undesirable chemicals such Bisphenol A and others. It is estimated that 80% of the plastic comes from land based sources and 20% comes from ships.
    Only a person that is unutterably stupid or a sociopath could write an article like this, considering how much we now know about the deleterious effects of plastic in the environment. Using an example of Roman garbage sites as a comparison to our modern landfill sites is treating the reader like he or she is a moron. It doesn’t take a PhD in Archaeology to know that Romans used
    only materials that they got in nature and didn’t possess the technology needed to make plastics. What didn’t break down in the environment at Roman dump sites has been naturally deteriorating and not polluting the environment like plastics would.

      • Jeff M,
        Obviously you did not read the article you posted about the garbage patch. Talk about needing to check your assumptions. IF you had read the article, you would know that the patch does exist, it is just not a solid floating island but is instead “millions of small and microscopic pieces of plastic, about .4 pieces per cubic meter, floating over a roughly 5000 square km area of the Pacific. This amount has increased significantly over the past 40 years.” You might try reading past the headline next time.

  7. This article is a wonderful piece of spin doctoring by the plastics industry. This guy could write an article about Herpes that would make you want to go out and get yourself infected.

  8. In response to the previous 6 comments:

    I’m not a cotton or hemp industrialist, but the amount of energy and materials needed to farm and process both materials is probably similar. Thus, hemp bags are likely no better for the environment than cotton bags.

    With regard to the breakeven timeframes for cotton bags, “nygrump” asserts that “the cotton bag is not going to last that long so its not a valid statistic.” Incorrect. The statistic is not based upon a cotton bag lasting that long but how long it would need to last in order to have the same environmental impact as plastic bags that carry the same amount of groceries. The fact that cotton bags won’t typically last long enough to reach these breakeven points shows that plastic bags are easier on the environment.

    The claim by “Brad” that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch “is estimated to be as large as the continental US” is nonsense. Although such statements have been repeated ad nauseam, they have no basis in fact. Actually, a scientist with direct knowledge of the situation estimates that the patch is about 1% of the size of Texas: http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2011/jan/oceanic-“garbage-patch”-not-nearly-big-portrayed-media

    Although “Brad” makes the Great Pacific Garbage Patch the centerpiece of his argument, he provides zero evidence that plastic bags even contribute to the Pacific garbage patch, much less constitute a substantial portion of it. “Brad” also totally misinterprets the point about the Roman garbage dumps, which is that organic materials commonly last for thousands of years after they are deposited in landfills.

    Other comments like, “That is just absolutely ridiculous,” and “We all know how truthful government agency studies are” contribute nothing of value. If the study has a flaw, someone should be able to identify it. Let’s deal with facts; not innuendos, conspiracies, and prejudices.

    • I am reading this in 2014, and even in 2012 I believe you were misinformed. True, cotton bags don’t deteriorate but not all reusable bags are cotton. Plastic bags themselves never really deteriorate, and they DO take non-refillable fossil fuels to make. I also noticed that all evidence you used was outdated. This makes all of it irrelevant. It may have been true at the time but science, much like people, evolves.

  9. How many cotton bags made 158 years ago during the civil war era are still around, clogging up streams and landfills?

    You say “the amount of energy and materials needed to farm and process both materials is probably similar”

    Well, what makes you so sure of this “probability”, other than just pulling numbers out of thin air like 8 years or 158 years?

    A cotton plant actually uses up CO2 as it grows, so I have no idea how you think that it’s somehow some kind of huge environmental demon.

    Cotton has been used since 5500 BC and the ancients never had problems with pollution like we do. Alarmist sites like this do a huge disservice to legitimate environmentalists.

    You’re just crying wolf and making it so people tune out genuine environmental concerns because they’re sick of the silly hype like claims that a square yard of cotton is as damaging to the planet as 158 years of plastic bags.

    Give me a break.

    • The figures of 8 and 158 years are not pulled “out of thin air.” These figures come from a detailed study conducted by the U.K. Environment Agency, the U.K’s equivalent of the U.S. EPA.

      My statement that “the amount of energy and materials needed to farm and process both materials is probably similar” is backed by fundamental knowledge about these materials. Below is a quote from the U.K. study about the environmental impacts of cotton manufacturing. Read up on hemp manufacturing, and you will see these same basic processes are involved:

      “The energy required to process cotton into cotton yarn is the main contributor to abiotic resource depletion, acidification, human toxicity, freshwater and marine ecotoxicity, and photochemical oxidation. For eutrophication, cotton growing is the main contributor, from the use and production of fertilizer. Cotton growing and the energy consumed during cotton processing contribute almost equally to terrestrial ecotoxicity.”

      This argument is senseless: “Cotton has been used since 5500 BC and the ancients never had problems with pollution like we do.” The fact that cotton was used in ancient times has no bearing on the thousands of other factors that affect pollution levels.

      Finally, it is misleading to claim that “the ancients never had problems with pollution like we do.” Despite far lower population levels, the ancients had some significant problems with pollution: http://www2.sci.u-szeged.hu/eghajlattan/akta03/005-015.pdf

    • Nick, you’re clearly venting out of your own predispositions as opposed to citing either published study or fact. While you give great credit to your own “obvious” assumptions, I really don’t care about those at all. There are many blogs for this and I’d encourage you to find them and give your two cents worth. I don’t see that being the thrust of this particular page.

      If you want to challenge the studies/statements cited, just google them. 95% are available on-line. If you’re looking for the contrary opinion, then type whatever you want and add “debunked.”

  10. Well, as I see it we have got to keep the oil based society train rolling along so those poor, poor oil company’s keep on selling the black goop that makes all of those little plastic bags that your all so concerned about, what’s the matter with you people, don’t you have the slightest bit of corporate patriotism in your miserable chemical filled bodies, why are you all so opposed to being subservient to those who control your very lives, after all, it’s your responsibility to give them as much of your money as you can so they in turn can LAUGH AT YOU all the way to there off shore accounts,… your all IDIOTS !

  11. Pingback: James D. Agresti: Bans on plastic bags harm the environment | JunkScience.com

  12. “Read up on hemp manufacturing, and you will see these same basic processes are involved…”

    Well sir, the fact that you would dare use the word conspiracy to shut down any useful discussion of alternative use materials is indicative of who you represent. That and plus the use of a government study to try and debunk the use a plant product just shows whos side you are on: corporations and their millions of dollars that are used to lobby officials into publishing their profit-enhancing schemes. Much like the GMO’s which are just fine for consumption by humans and animals thanks to government-funded studies, but yet are not even allowed in either the same corporations kitchen or the cookhouse of the highest ranking polititian in the us.
    And then we find out you are the spokes-piece of another Snopes, BadAstronomy, Quackbuster disinfo site that is here to shut down any discussion of alternatives, we can see who you are sir. Troll elsewhere, thanks.

  13. Good article with valid references. Unfortunately can’t say the same for the posters criticizing the article who as usual post only opinion and not surprisingly can’t seem to provide any facts to back up their opinions.

    • Exactly. I find it ironic that they’d come to cite that’s “JustFacts” and then spout nothing more than opinion. Truly, the education system is in the tank…and that’s opinion based on the posts in response to this article.

  14. Eliminating plastic bags is not going to save our environment. Making paper and cotton bags take more energy and will eventually find there way into the waste stream as well. Recycling the plastic bags is the answer along with taking responsibility that they are not thrown onto the landscape. Let people, not the government decide whether they want to use plastic, paper or a fabric bag.

  15. is the author of this article an idiot or perhaps a shill for the plastic bag industry? i’d be hard pressed to find another article so laden with half-truths, misrepresentations – and so much inaccuracy that i have to assume it’s intentional… because NO ONE could be THIS stupid – it must be by design…. or perhaps the author realizes that his audience consists primarily of gullible, uneducated redneck idiots and middle-american ignoramuses, so he can get away with pretty much anything.

  16. Plastic is an immensely useful material. It is safe, hygienic, low-cost, printable and really versatile – so why are so many people against it? They are against it because if it gets into the open environment it can lie or float around for decades, and the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” has already been mentioned.

    That is true of old-fashioned plastic, but plastic can now be made at little or no extra cost with an additive called d2w which causes it to convert at the end of its useful life into a completely different material. At that stage it is no longer a plastic and has become inherently biodegradable in the same way as a leaf. For a video of plastic film degrading, visit: http://degradable.net/play-videos/4

    Despite what you may have read in the press, the City of Los Angeles did NOT vote to ban plastic bags. It instructed staff to examine the issue, do an environmental review, and report back in the future with a draft ordinance.
    While they are doing this they should not only consider the 2011 LCA commissioned by the UK Government from Intertek, but also the 2012 LCA (see http://www.biodeg.org/files/uploaded/Intertek_Final_Report_15.5.12(9).pdf) done by the same international consultancy. These studies put the environmental credentials of d2w plastic bags way ahead of conventional and bio-based plastic.

  17. Sorry I’m going to be the name-caller. Bob- it’s people like you that just show up and start saying absolutley nothing that are giving the opposition a bad name. You name call and say it’s crap but have absolutley nothing to back it up. And “L” you, sir or madam, are the troll. If you are going to contradict then maybe you should have some FACTS to back it up. I’m waiting. Mr. Agresti is citing sources and stays unnemotional and direct. He doesn’t sound like a overemotional, overreating mainstream media crap follower. I know, not very adult but I just had to say it.

  18. Pingback: Commentary on the LA Plastic Bag Ban « The Greenroom

  19. Pingback: Bans on Plastic Bags harm the environment « Newsbeat1

  20. Well said. I’m sick of all the hysterical “opinions” out there with little to no facts to back it up. I’ll take Mr. Argresti’s calm, scientific reasoning over the ignorant, hysterical rants any day of the week. Good job by Mr. Argresti.

  21. Premise: the statement that the processes used to turn cotton into tote’s as well as the cotton growing process harm the environment.
    Minor Repair: Some cotton manufacturing/growing processes must be this way it would make sense as inevitably questionably practices will be used by some portion of the industry to try and compete with the rest of the market. Chemicals will be used, advanced fertilizers etc. This does not however invalidate the premise of the perceived argument which is that: Cotton is less harmful than Plastic. Because some Companies choose to create harmful cotton does not mean all companies choose to create harmful cotton. 300 years ago cotton bags were spun into thread on the spool and woven by the loom and the fertilizer used was your neighbor’s cow poop. Upon failure cotton bags could simply be cut apart for other uses, burned or thrown away. Creating cotton in this manner would be much more expensive but that is not the argument.
    Your premise stands based on your evidence it is currently more damaging to use modern cotton bags that are readily available than the much less energy necessary, easily recycled, commonly available plastic bag. That being said if you made the most environmentally responsible plastic bag and the most environmentally responsible cotton bag my belief is that the cotton would win.

    Possible counter-arguments requiring further evidence.

    Cotton farm land removed and turned into conservation & factories taken offline vs, environmental damage caused by plastic bag decomposition and the damage of oil wells & facilities necessary to produce it. Essentially the ?: what is the potential environmental change moving to or from cotton.

    Plastic recycling. would it be possible to develop a net zero recycling system for plastic?

    Other containers: what about cardboard.

  22. Pingback: Dear Green Police: Make up your mind, would ya’?? « Two Heads are Better Than One

  23. Fatal flaw at the article’s end. To suggest that environmentalists view paper bags or any form of paper as a green alternative is no different then handing a treehugger an axe, rediculos.

  24. “The study did find that with moderate reuse, plastic totes made from polypropylene are better for the environment than disposable plastic bags!” Most reusable bags ARE made of polypropylene or polyester!!! Your focus on cotton and hemp processing is a diversion from this important FACT. And wouldn’t Heavy reuse be better than Moderate reuse? Of course it would. I reuse them heavily.

  25. People blame “govt” but remember , especially at the local level its lots of regular people forming opinions that drive govt to ask for laws. People who may not have all the facts can believe they are doing good.

    Many people reuse grocery bags for kitchen garbage taking it out daily. and the alternate is often way more plastic use- thick, big hefty bags.

    The problem of littering-trash in parks , waters ,etc from mostly liquor and snack food sales should have been addressed, instead of tossing the baby with the bathwater cause its easier.

  26. Great idea encapsulating all the garbage in sealed sites. They can be mined by future generations when we run out of petro chemicals and therefore plastics.
    But what about all the billions of plastic bags that never make it to these sites because:
    – of all the countries in the world who can’t afford to build such ‘safe’ sites
    – they are thrown into the environment by those who don’t care
    – that kill hundreds of thousands of marine animals every year
    – they break down into smaller pieces (that never really go away)

    I make my reusable shopping bags from recycled cotton bed linen and clothing
    that would otherwise end up in landfill, then when they get too worn I put them in my worm farm.

    Small things do make a difference

  27. Pingback: Fact-based poll reveals fictions believed by voters

  28. Pingback: New Poll Reveals Divisions Based on Misinformation | Jefferson Policy Journal

  29. Pingback: Fact-based poll reveals fictions believed by voters (Score 13 Conservative vs 5 Liberals)

  30. The author of this article should never have mentioned landfills. While collection and sorting operations aren’t nationwide, major cities have very successful programs. Bottle bills, like that of California, have excellent recycling rates and using state certified convenience zones recyclers can set up operation with grocery store relationships. If there’s that much collection and sorting available to ensure that no contaminated materials make it into the resource stream, I see little reason bags should be banned. A ban is an admission of inability and I’m sorry but that does not apply in this case. What happened to Americans being innovative and fixing problems? I’ve worked in recycling for 10 years and have upcycled 65M tons of polystyrene from landfills to a consumer product (now Trimfinity). It is possible to connect the waste stream to manufacturing creating jobs the entire way through. It’s not waste/garbage, it’s a resource. I leave you with a thought, if the US spends hundreds of billions of national defense of oil superiority on the globe, why is the waste collection system no set up to capture the resource we’ve fought so hard to capture with lives and tax payer money. Can we afford to continue to squander? The disposable mentality need not go away, but we should be smart enough that the system is in place to capture those resources with minimal effort to the consumer via convenience.

  31. this poly bags are irritating than also i dont know why people are using it when they know the harm it provide to the environment.

  32. Pingback: Bans on plastic bags harm the environment | Just Facts Daily | Where do the Children Play...?

  33. Check out my new blog: http://fighttheplasticbagban.com/

    On my blog I have a downloads menu item. If you click on that there are a number of papers that I have written that can be downloaded.

    One paper titled “Negative Health and Environmental Impacts of Reusable Shopping Bags” deals with the health issues more extensively than you did in the article above. For example, in addition to bacteria, viruses and virus transmission with reusable shopping bags could make other sick. Also, people who have AIDS or a suppressed immune system may be more sensitive to bacteria in reusable bags then people who have normal immune systems. About 20% of the population fit in this category.

    Also, when bag bans are implemented people always complain about all those plastic bags that end up in the landfill. But they have never stopped to calculate all the stuff going into a landfill after a plastic carryout bag ban compared to before. It would surprise you to know that 3 to 4 times the amount of material goes into the landfill post ban than pre ban. Those plastic carryout bags are sure looking good. see my article titled “Fact Sheet – Landfill Impacts” for the details and the calculations.

    There is much more.

  34. From an “upintheair” status, from a senior who walks to the market from his apartment—and back, natch—regarding pending plastic carryout bans/paper bag surcharges in the City of Los Angeles: I reuse the paper parts of my “paper-in-plastic, please” grocery carryouts (the two together give maximum strength and viability) to empty my trash, and garbage, into the dumpster—almost every day of the year! The paper works better than plastic, because it stands up straight, on its own, etc. I could perhaps live, i.e., survive, with paper only (even at ten cents a bag) IF they had handles on them. But various markets, eg., my local Albertsons, don’t want to bother.
    IF they ban plastic, then here’s to a law that requires paper bags with handles, statewide. By the way, good ‘ol $99. cents stores (at least the one in plastic carryout bags are already banned Pasadena) has the best such bag. Shows sometimes you actually get better than what you pay for.

  35. Check out my new blog: http://fighttheplasticbagban.com/

    On my blog I have a “downloads” menu item. If you click on that there are a number of papers that I have written that can be downloaded.

    One paper titled “Negative Health and Environmental Impacts of Reusable Shopping Bags” deals with the health issues more extensively than you did in the article above. For example, in addition to bacteria, viruses and virus transmission with reusable shopping bags could make other sick. Also, people who have AIDS or a suppressed immune system may be more sensitive to bacteria in reusable bags then people who have normal immune systems. About 20% of the population fit in this category.

    Also, when bag bans are implemented people always complain about all those plastic bags that end up in the landfill. But they have never stopped to calculate all the stuff going into a landfill after a plastic carryout bag ban compared to before. It would surprise you to know that 3 to 4 times the amount of material goes into the landfill post ban than pre ban. Those plastic carryout bags are sure looking good. see my article titled “Fact Sheet – Landfill Impacts” for the details and the calculations.

    There is much more.

  36. Pingback: They Banned Brookline’s Brains!–UPDATED! | The Natural Truth

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>