Plastic bag ‘problems’ more complex than ban can solve

The Herald Journal recently published a guest column on the complexity of plastic bag legislation. Regulating plastic bags may seem like a good solution, but the topic is very complex. In 2011, the UK’s Environment Agency published a life-cycle assessment of plastic bags where their impact categories aligned with the Global Warming Potential assessment of the 2007 IPCC report. They found that the actual re-use rates for plastic bag alternatives did not meet the threshold for environmental benefit. Paper bags have a higher carbon footprint. Reusable cotton bags require tons of water to produce and are generally not recyclable. Other bags must be used more than 100 times before they become environmentally beneficial.

Visit the Herald Journal to read the full guest column.

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