Why Are Single-Use Plastic Shopping Bags Being Banned Around the World?

Banning Single-Use Plastic Bags Around the World…What’s The Common Thread?

There is a growing trend around the world to ban single-use plastic bags. In Africa, Asia, and Europe, these bans are typically implemented at a country-wide level, but similar measures are gaining in popularity in the United States. However, Stateside these bag bans are applied at the city or county level. The world is a diverse place, and yet it seems that banning single-use plastic bags is a commonality – something that people from drastically different cultures can agree on and see value in. I have broken down why disposable plastic bags are being banned across the world.

Single-Use Plastic Shopping Bags Have Overstayed Their Welcome

Single-use, disposable plastic bags are responsible for a lot of problems. Whether intended or not, single-use plastic bags end up as litter and this trash ruins habitats and ecosystems, it harms and even kills animals and it mars the natural beauty of landscapes.

Coastal communities tend to feel the negative impact of single-use plastic bag trash the most since discarded bags floating in the water are very visible, and marine animals can easily mistake floating plastic bags for food and consume the bags, but this plastic trash epidemic is not contained to the coast.

Locations inland have trouble with single-use disposable plastic bag trash and there are instances of animals on land ingesting plastic bags and suffering from health problems and even death. Plastic is not biodegradable, so it will not break down ever. When single-use disposable plastic bags become litter or end up in a landfill, they are there for good.


Draining Non-Renewable Resources

If all of the environmental harm weren’t enough of a reason to ban disposable plastic bags, there are more drawbacks, like the use of non-renewable resources. Plastic is made from petroleum which is a non-renewable resource, so when we’re out that’s it.

There is no sound reason why we should continue to waste this resource on disposable plastic bags when it can be put to other and better uses.

Recycling Disposable Plastic Bags is Not a Suitable Solution

Single-use plastic bags are recyclable, but there’s a catch – not all recycling locations accept disposable plastic bags so this makes it difficult (i.e. less likely) for single-use plastic bags to be recycled. Over the last several years many supermarkets have begun to accept plastic bags for recycling, and increased outreach and education have improved the recycling rates of single-use plastic bags. However, the single-use plastic bag recycling numbers are still very low. The vast majority of disposable plastic bags created will end up in landfills or as litter where they will sit indefinitely.

Banning Single-Use Plastic Bags Is the Best Solution

Between the environmental harm, the waste of non-renewable resources, and the lack of and difficulty recycling it is no wonder cities and countries around the world are banning disposable plastic bags. To get a rundown of the places that have banned single-use plastic bags check out our map.

Track the movement and learn more about disposable plastic bag bans, as well as cities and counties that have attempted to pass bans without success and places that have levied fees on disposable bags and supported the use of reusable shopping bags made from recycled materials instead.

Do you know of a location that should be on our map, but isn’t? Let us know in the comments!

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