Plastic Bag Banners Rebuked In New Study

David Williams President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance
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A new study from the Reason Foundation has again proven what we’ve known for a while now: plastic bag bans don’t help the economy or the environment. The only result of plastic bag bans is the government filling their coffers with more money to be wasted.

The study examined bag bans generally, ultimately finding that legislators “who are genuinely concerned about reducing litter and other environmental problems should focus their efforts on solutions that have been proven to work.”

Specifically, it found that banning or taxing plastic bags, in all that regulatory excess, equates to a “minimal impact on litter.”

There’s no evidence in waste reduction or collection and, worse still, bag bans are actually shown to harm the environment. It’s well-documented that reusable bags take more energy to be produced and are less likely to be reused. This was reinforced by the Reason study.

Reusable bags are bacteria-laden and shown to increase health risks when not properly washed. Given the radical lot pushing these bans, it’s not ridiculous to envision a vicious cycle of even more bag regulations coming if the plastic bag eradication is allowed to continue.

After all, it doesn’t make sense to them to go back to what was working perfectly fine in the first place.

Not only does the study show a negative environmental impact, but bag bans do damage on the economic front also. The costs of implementation wind up falling mostly on the poor than anyone else, all for the sake of a system that uses more energy and drains resources from the economy.

More telling still is the study that specifically examined the would-be impact a statewide ban would have on California.

The proposed statewide ban would saddle consumers with an estimated $1 billion in additional costs, and all for nothing beneficial. Expected litter reduction from banning plastic bags in small retail stores could possibly amount to just 0.5 percent reduction in litter, whilst a large retail store ban is “unlikely” account for reductions at all.

It reads like déjà vu. The study also shows that a statewide ban wouldn’t slash the amount of plastic in the ocean or prevent marine animals from being impacted by that plastic in any discernible way.

This doesn’t even take into account the study that shows an uptick in water usage if the proposed ban is implemented statewide.

In essence, what we’re left with here is something so far off the mark it’d be laughable if it hadn’t become such a real threat in cities across America. And now leave it to California lawmakers to push it on an even larger scale.

Don’t be fooled by such delusions of grandeur, plastic bag bans do nothing to fulfill their promise of lower costs economically and greater protection environmentally.

It’s the opposite across the board. Bag bans offer no gains for the environment, in fact the opposite when it comes to conserving energy, and will straddle taxpayers with more costs at a time when our GDP just contracted.

In just one paper there’s enough evidence to justify scrapping plastic bag bans altogether. Wanton fees, higher costs, and more regulations aren’t a prescription California, or the rest of the nation, can afford to pay for something that’s not a problem in the first place. Consumers lose and governments win, which is always a bad combination.

David Williams is the president of Taxpayers Protection Alliance.