Across the country, cities are joining the latest environmental trend – banning plastic grocery bags. Concerned about the amount of plastic that reaches our oceans and the impact on wildlife, communities have decided that banning the bags is a simple and environmentally responsible approach. But is it? What does the science say?
The evidence points to the fact that banning the bags may actually be a net negative for the environment, yielding little benefit to wildlife while significantly increasing carbon emissions and other environmental impacts.
Advocates of banning plastic grocery bags often cite impacts on marine life and mammals, but they rarely attempt to quantify that impact. Unfortunately, many attempts to quantify those impacts are simply false or misleading. For example, one city council in Washington state was told “the ecological impacts of this plastic include over a million sea-birds and 100,000 marine mammals killed by either plastic ingestions or entanglement.”