Banning Plastic Bags Harms the Environment, Raises Costs

Published December 11, 2013

Government bans on plastic grocery bags harm the environment and do not reduce consumer costs, the National Center for Policy Analysis reports in a new study.

“Bag bans are bad for the environment. The alternatives – paper bags and reusable bags – use more energy, use more resources, produce more greenhouse gases, and produce more waste and pollution than plastic grocery bags,” reported study author H. Sterling Burnett.

Plastic bag opponents have argued bag bans will reduce costs by reducing litter costs, solid waste disposal, and recycling expenses, the study observed. However, the study examined the experiences of several cities that banned plastic bags and found no such cost savings.

Plastic bag bans also harm the environment, the study found.

“In fact, plastic grocery bags are actually more environmentally friendly than alternatives, making up just 0.6 percent of all litter. According to the EPA, plastic bags account for less than 0.5 percent of the entire waste system,” noted NCPA in a press release accompanying the study.

The full study is available here.