Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Banning Bag Bans

    With recent initiatives in sustainable consumption that reduces waste, many places in the world have considered or implemented bans on disposable products. Plastic bags are one such product, and many bans have occurred in U.S cities, especially in California. The state of California actually followed the lead of its cities, and has enacted its own bag ban. In Arizona, the city of Bisbee banned the use of plastic bags in retail sales last year, and two other cities have considered doing the same. However, the state of Arizona has passed a law that will outlaw the banning of bags by municipalities. Lawmakers have stated that increasing awareness in recycling will reduce bag waste, and that plastic bags are cheaper and more sanitary than alternative bag options. The state has the support of retail organizations, including many grocery stores.
    This ban on bag bans seems very backwards to me. The state may not agree with the ban, but to make it illegal is oppressive. Are they really going to punish their cities for trying to be more sustainable? The average consumer uses 134 plastic bags each year, and bags take from 400 to 1000 years to decompose. The least the state government could do is implement alternative laws to a ban that would reduce bag use and waste. Taxes have been successful in European countries, although critics say it hurts those in a lower economic status, meaning they cannot afford the extra bag cost or to buy reusable bags. I think a solution could be to use more biodegradable bags, although I am not sure how expensive they are or how much energy it takes to produce them. Whatever method we use, reducing the amount of plastic waste we generate is crucial, and the government banning a technique for reduction is ridiculous.
--Kirby Cole

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