Ban those plastic bags, cut down more trees

Do bans on plastic grocery bags save cities money? That is a question one organization aims to answer in a new study.


by Chris Woodward

Source: One News Now

The National Center for Policy Analysis looked at a claim from proponents of plastic bag bans that they save money from solid waste costs, picking up litter and in recycling.

NCPA senior fellow Sterling Burnett says six municipalities were studied, three of them in California, because "they're the leaders in the movement," he says.

Burnett explains: "We said, Okay, if you have an estimate, tell us how much it's costing you to do all this stuff and we'll see if you're saving any money. What we found was, not a single city could show any savings from a plastic bag ban."

In a previous study, the National Center found cities and stores with plastic bag bans are losing money, as customers were opting to shop in places that did not have such bans.

Meanwhile, Burnett says reusable cloth bags that are meant to be alternatives to plastic could spread bacteria if they're not cleaned after carrying meat. Even then, those reusable bags are made in a factory, which means energy and emissions.

As for recycled paper bags, Burnett says it still means trees are being cut down and nearly everything winds up in a landfill at some point, including plastic bags, which people often reuse before tossing them in the trash.