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June 17, 2009

Why We Don't Support Bag Bans

Bag_salutes_usflag One of the most common questions we face in customer service is "what do I do about a trash can liner now that I've rid myself of plastic bags?"

It's a great question - why go through the life-altering experience of saying no to plastic bags just to buy box after box of more plastic bags? It just doesn't make sense. But this simple question hits on something much larger than just garbage bags, something that's absolutely core to our mission at ReusableBags.com.

We are not, and have never been anti-plastic bags. Instead, we focus on promoting sensible solutions for over-consumption of plastic bags. The bottom line is, we take more plastic bags than we need. It only makes sense to stop blindly taking these non-biodegradable, petroleum-wasting bags every time you go to the store. Instead, bring reusable bags and only take home the few plastic bags you'll actually reuse. We're so passionate about it we even offer several solutions for reusing plastic bags! (And to answer your question - we strongly encourage people to reuse their plastic bags for small garbage can liners, pet waste and other dirty jobs!)

So what do we have against bag bans? Well, lots of things.

For one, bans aren't a practical solution for the consumer. There's a time and a place for plastic bags and banning them outright isn't fair to anyone.

Also, bans are an emotional response to the problem, but they miss the point. The point is being mindful of our consumption and changing the way we think, act and make purchases.

We actually have a whole list of reasons why bans don't make sense, you can see them all here. But you get the point. Rather than bans, we support fees - like the one Seattle is fighting for right now. Ireland's PlasTax is a great example - consumers there are charged for paper and plastic bags at check out. Since the tax, Ireland has seen a 90% decrease in use-and-toss bag use.

The funds collected can be used to raise awareness, subsidize reusable shopping bags, to develop compostable "plastic" bags, and to generally clean up the environment. (A nation-wide $.20 bag fee in the US would generate $2 billion each year!)

And that, you see, is why we can't support bag bans but will always support bag fees. Now - what are we going to do about all these paper coffee cups?


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