Should Paper and Plastic Bags Be Banned? — Supermarket Savvy
I keep hearing about places that have actually banned disposable plastic bags and even paper shopping bags altogether, and I’ve been wondering how those bans will affect such incentive programs as well as grocery prices. There are no bag bans where I live, so I didn’t know much about them. I spent a little time researching, and here’s what I found:
Around the world, with a confusing range of specifics and enforcement, governing bodies are restricting the use of disposable shopping bags (such as requiring customers to pay for each disposable bag they use) or banning them outright. Here in the U.S., Austin, Tex., just passed one of the most restrictive bag bans in the country, banning essentially all disposable plastic and paper bags at checkout counters beginning next March.
San Francisco, Portland, Ore., and many other smaller communities already have imposed bans of varying degrees on plastic and paper bags. Los Angeles, which has a partial bag ban in effect in some areas, is considering a more complete ban, a move that the Los Angeles Times just publicly supported.
Not everyone agrees that banning bags is the best solution, and there are strong opinions on both sides of the issue. I imagine it’s hard to argue with the notion that it’d be better for the planet if we didn’t have all those plastic bags floating around. But what about the impact of bag bans on the bottom line?
Grocers and retailers all acknowledge that not having to supply bags to their customers will reduce their operating costs, but they aren’t necessarily saying what those savings might mean for consumers.
What I do know is that if bag bans become universal, I’ll have an expense I’ve never had before: doggie clean-up bags.
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