North Carolina Bag Ban Under Fire

Published June 12, 2017

The North Carolina Senate passed a bill rescinding a plastic-bag ban applying to the state’s Outer Banks region.

The ban was enacted by the state’s legislature in 2010.  

The North Carolina Retail Merchants association says the replacement bags cost them 800 percent more than the plastic bags the law banned.

State Sen. Bill Cook (R-Beaufort County), the sponsor of the bill repealing the ban, says the ban has been s ineffective.

A study mandated by the state found the ban has not reduced the number of plastic bags picked up during beach clean-up drives, Cook says. Cook’s bill would allow local governments to enact plastic-bag bans if they see fit.    

Jon Sanders, director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, says the bag ban is unnecessary and restricts businesses’ freedoms.

“The ban affects retailers on the Outer Banks,” said Sanders. “It is not really effective, and it interferes with retailers doing business as they see fit.

“Any retailer that doesn’t want to offer plastic bags is free to not use them,” Sanders said. “Lifting the ban is a pro-freedom measure that makes sense.”

Michael McGrady ([email protected]writes from Colorado Springs, Colorado.


Chet Chaffee and Bernard R. Yaros, “Life Cycle Assessment for Three Types Of Grocery Bags—Recyclable Plastic; Compostable, Biodegradable Plastic; and Recycled, Recyclable Paper,” Progressive Bag Alliance, June 1, 2014:—recyclable-plastic-compostable-biodegradable-plastic-and-recycled-recyclable-paper

H. Sterling Burnett, “Do Bans on Plastic Grocery Bags Save Cities Money?” National Center for Policy Analysis, December 13, 2013: