Does banning plastic bags work?New study finds 6 billion bags saved annually in some US states

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Plastic bags are not biodegradable and can continue to pollute the environment with harmful microplastics for hundreds of years after use.

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A ban on single-use plastic bags has successfully reduced their use and the waste and pollution that comes with it, a new study has found.

The study found that bans in five U.S. states and cities, with a combined population of about 12 million people, reduced consumption of single-use plastic bags by about 6 billion bags a year.

A ban similar to those in these regions could reduce the use of around 300 single-use plastic bags per person per year, the report said.

Why are single-use plastic bags bad for the environment?

disposable plastic bags They are a common sight along roadsides, rivers, and coastlines, and many end up dead after being abandoned.

They’re not just unsightly; They can be deadly to marine life and harmful to human health.

Messy Plastic bag Films (such as packaging) are frequently ingested by marine animals and cause more deaths of sea turtles and cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) than any other type of plastic.

manufacture, use, and disposal of disposable plastic Bags also emit emissions that harm our health and cause global warming.

Plastic bags are not biodegradable and can continue to pollute the environment with harmful microplastics for hundreds of years after use.

Banning plastic bags will reduce trash by one-third

Bans in New Jersey, Vermont, Philadelphia, Portland, Oregon, and Santa Barbara, California have saved the equivalent of 42 times around the Earth’s worth of plastic bags, according to a new report.

Nonprofits, government agencies, and more have discovered: ban on plastic bags We have successfully reduced plastic bag waste by at least a third, and some jurisdictions have seen even greater reductions.

For example, after New Jersey’s ban went into effect in May 2022, Clean Ocean Action’s fall beach cleanup collected 46 percent fewer single-use plastic bags than the April cleanup. .

Such reductions, especially in coastal areas, are likely to reduce risks. plastic According to a study by the Center for Environmental American Research and Policy, the bags are posed by marine animals.

A well-designed plastic bag ban will encourage shoppers to bring their own plastic bags. reusable Bagging your purchases or carrying them by hand are both sustainable options that minimize waste.

For example, in San Mateo County, California, the percentage of customers with at least one reusable bag at the 13 retail stores surveyed increased by 162% after the county’s ban was implemented. In Mountain View, the percentage of customers without bags has nearly tripled since the ban was put in place.

Most baggage-free zones allow distribution by stores paper Provide bags and provide an alternative if a customer forgets their reusable bag.

Paper bags are preferred over plastic bags because they are biodegradable and widely recyclable, but using a new paper bag each time you go shopping is better than bringing the same set of reusable bags each time. It is a waste.

What is the most effective plastic bag ban?

To reduce plastic pollution, policymakers need to introduce strong bans on single-use plastic bags to minimize plastic waste and close loopholes that weaken the effectiveness of existing bans, the report advises. are doing.

Grocery stores, restaurants, and retail stores should not be allowed to hand out plastic bags of any thickness at checkout.

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However, these facilities should be allowed and encouraged to genuinely distribute. reusable bags You must pay the appropriate fee to avoid being treated as a disposable bag.

Stores should charge a fee of at least $0.10 (€0.10) for single-use paper bags, the authors added.

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