The problems when we ban plastic bags

With the banning of plastic bags appearing to be such a sensible idea, what possible problems could be there?

People who are against banning plastic bags (from HDPE/LDPE/LLDPE) often cite the fact that plastic bags are very low priority when all the environmental issues of concern are taken into account. Even some green supporters are against the banning of bags, preferring instead to educate people and change habits rather than forcing the issue. Other people refer to the fact that the banning of plastic bags simply moves the problem elsewhere. Cities that have banned plastic bags often report an increase in the sale of plastic bin bags. Instead of plastic, paper bags are often used. These raise other issues, for instance the use of virgin paper pulp.

Some environmentalists who are opposed to the banning of bags fear that it breeds complacency. They are concerned that people may feel that they are making their contribution towards green living by not using plastic bags and overlooking the bigger issues. They argue that the big picture needs to be considered and not just focusing on single issues.

While it is undeniable that disposable plastic bags are a relatively small problem in the overall scheme of things, reducing their use is something we can all do. Governments and world organizations need to make decisions on some of the bigger environmental issues, however the reduction of the use of plastic bags is within the power of all of us as individuals regardless of whether there is a local or national ban.

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