It’s simply shocking to me that a store or county’s decision to ban plastic grocery bags is so controversial. Duh—of course plastic bags shouldn’t be given out and if someone needs one, they can pay for it. Consider Los Angeles County’s recent ban on plastic bags in unincorporated areas of the city. It is expected the ban will affect 1.1 million residents and require them to pay 10 cents for a store-supplied plastic bag if they neglect to supply their own. It’s one of the biggest bag bans to date—and a big step in the right direction.
But apparently a lot of people don’t agree with me. The commentosphere is going crazy with rants about citizens’ rights to plastic bags, lead in reusable bags and other red herrings.
The bad news about plastic bags is nothing new-- they’re made from petroleum-based ingredients that can take hundreds of years to decompose and often end up in the ocean where they kill upwards of 100 thousand marine animals a year and on and on. (The typical consumer uses about 130 plastic bags a year, according to Earth Resource Foundation.)
It’s really difficult for me to take any pro-plastic bag arguments to heart. Frankly, plastic bags are simply a luxury we cannot afford. There is no valid argument why consumers cannot simply purchase reusable bags and train themselves to use them. And stores charging 10 cents per plastic bag needed—make it a buck, make it hurt. What about argument individuals who can’t afford to buy reusable bags (that cost a dollar at most large chains), a small amount of creative thinking can easily solve that.
It’s time for Americans to grow up and take their bags to the store.