Why Should the United States Ban Single Use Plastic Bags?

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Wondering Why a Bag Ban in The United States is Needed? Here’s Your Answer

Cities and counties throughout the United States are banning disposable plastic bags or taking measures to reduce the use of these single-use bags. The objective is typically the same: reduce the negative impacts caused by single-use plastic bags. Disposable plastic bags are the culprit behind a whole slew of environmental problems from the destruction of animal habitats to the deterioration of the food chain and marring the natural beauty of the outdoors and resolution to these problems can require a hefty expense.

Check Out Our Bag Ban Map for the Stories Behind Bag Bans Worldwide!

Throughout the world, many countries have taken measures to ban or greatly reduce plastic bag use and the impact has been positive. The United States needs to seriously consider saying goodbye to single-use plastic bags and all of the problems these bags cause.

Bans on Disposable Plastic Bags Create Positive Results

When individual cities and counties ban single-use plastic bags, there is less litter and fewer damaging impacts caused by litter. A reduction in trash means there is less danger to animals and their habitats. Less trash to clean up allows municipalities to direct the money that would have gone to cleanup efforts to other areas where it is needed, and there is peace of mind knowing that drainage systems are not packed full of garbage and will function properly when needed.

Litter is also an eyesore that makes areas look rundown and destroys the beauty of parks, beaches, and your own backyard. A ban on disposable plastic bags can drastically improve the appearance and safety of the environment.

Check Out Just How Much It Costs Your City to Clean Up Plastic.

Reduced Dependency on Petroleum

Many disposable plastic bags are made from oil – crude oil is heated until ethylene gas is produced and it is converted into polyethylene which is stretched into a thin film. Only a small percentage of the disposable plastic bags produced are recycled, the majority of plastic bags are thrown in the trash or end up as litter. When recycled disposable plastic bags can be processed back into new single-use bags (and this would be a compromise), recycling is just not effective.

Despite a lot of hard work, recycling rates continue to stay low and it is estimated that Americans throw away about 100 billion disposable plastic bags a year. Without single-use plastic bags, the U.S. can lessen its dependency on petroleum. As a nonrenewable resource there is only so much oil to go around and by reducing the applications we use petroleum for, the better off we’ll be financially and environmentally.

Reusable Shopping Bags Can Easily Do the Job of Disposable Bags

Opponents of single-use bag bans are quick to point out that implementing a ban on disposable bags will be at the expense of jobs. Disposable plastic bag manufacturing jobs would indeed be lost; however, without disposable bags, there will be more of a demand for reusable shopping bags which will create new manufacturing jobs.

One reusable grocery bag can do the work of thousands of disposable bags all without any of the negative environmental impacts. It would be in the best interest of the planet if the U.S. were to ban disposable plastic bags, but you don’t need to wait for a country-wide ban to kick your single-use plastic bag habit. Make the switch today to reusable bags for a cleaner environment and a lighter carbon footprint.


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