What Are the Negative Impacts of Plastic Bag Bans?

2 people standing on the platform watching speeding train go by holding shopping bag with caption: What Are the Negative Impacts of Plastic Bag Bans?

Breaking Down the Impact of Plastic Bag Bans

Disposable plastic bag bans are a hotly contested issue in some areas but are welcomed with open arms in others. It seems that for every pro to a bag ban there is a con, and making sense of the whole thing can be tricky. We decided to take a look at the negative impacts of bag bans.

Understanding the Reasoning Behind Bag Bans

Disposable plastic bag bans are most often a response to plastic litter. Discarded bags are an eyesore that can become stuck in trees and vegetation or end up in bodies of water. Plastic bag litter can clog drainage systems and result in those systems failing and flooding breaking out, which can result in damage.

This litter is also a serious threat to animals and their habitats. Efforts to voluntarily reduce plastic bags and recycle bags have proven ineffective. The logic goes that by banning single-use plastic bags there will be less litter. Less litter means less of the damaging impacts of trash.

The Convenience of Plastic Bags

Perhaps the best trait of disposable plastic bags is the convenience. These thin film bags are lightweight and relatively durable given how thin they are, so they make easy work of carrying a full load of groceries.

From a customer standpoint, these plastic bags are also free. Retailers work the cost of the bags into their pricing, so the bags are not truly free. However, the cost does not appear as a line item, so many customers get the impression that they are not paying for disposable bags.

When single-use plastic bags are missing from the checkout, shoppers have to find a reliable and cost-effective alternative. Going without a bag may be a viable option when only picking up a few items, but for many shoppers going bagless just won’t work.

Reusable grocery bags are an alternative option, but these bags cost money. One reusable bag can last for a few years, depending on how much it is used and how it is cared for, so that expense can be spread out. For low-income shoppers, the added expense can be a lot.

Impact on Jobs

Many bag ban opponents claim bans hurt manufacturing jobs. Prohibiting disposable plastic bags diminishes demand and ends up eliminating manufacturing jobs. However, eliminating the need of disposable bags creates a need for reusable bags, which will create manufacturing jobs for more durable alternatives.

Learn More

Find out more about the bag ban movement by checking out our map. We track efforts to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags through fees and bans. This map tells a story and helps present a wide overview of the bag ban movement.

What Can Your Brand Do

One way your brand can help shoppers go without single-use plastic bags is through designing your own customized reusable shopping bags. Whether sold or given away at trade shows or other events, reusable bags make excellent and effective promotional tools that also help your customers and the planet.

We have been in the business of creating custom reusable bags for almost 30 years, and during that time we have garnered several certifications, including GOTS, Fairtrade, ISO 9001-2015 and FEDEX. All of these certifications are a testimony of our strong quality and social commitment. We are here to help whatever the size of your organization and your order. Stay tuned to learn about the benefits of banning single-use plastic bags.


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One thought on “What Are the Negative Impacts of Plastic Bag Bans?

  1. Beth Baillie

    Banning carrier bags in South Africa is ridiculous. It has cost 2500 jobs …. Plastic bags are being replaced by paper bags and what does that do to the environment??? The chemicals to turn trees
    into paper and then the water that is use the pollution of the water steams and ocean… Has any one taken the time to benchmark Plastic against Paper???


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