The Plastic Bag: Ban Or Save?



The Plastic Bag: Ban Or Save?

As part of the conservation and environmental movement worldwide there are several campaigns aimed at banning the plastic bag. These fit in perfectly with going green at home and with our longer term life styles.

A quick search on the web will take you to the San Francisco Bay Area, “Bay vs Bag”, to the Daily Mail’s (UK) “Banish the Bags” as well as similar situations in Canada, Holland, China, elsewhere in the US and even Zanzibar.

A lot of the focus is based on the damage done to wild life, including sea mammals and birds; the effects on waste and the average number of bags used per person in different countries. In one of the lists I saw, Singapore was topping the list at 625 bags.

One of the targets is to reduce by 10% the yearly consumption of these bags.

On the other hand there are also “Save the Plastic Bag” campaigns, with the plastic industry behind it. Their main focus is highlighting what they call misinformation. Their points are based on “exaggerations” on the damage done to wild life; errors in how plastic bags are made (from ethane gas that would otherwise be burnt and not petroleum); effects of co2 vs methane; potential job losses and so on.

On the banning side of the argument, there can be exaggerations as well as questionable scientific data – questionable as in anybody can question it, after all to have an argument you must always have at least two points of view.

From the “saving” the industry point of view, there can be many counter arguments to the data that is presented. And this is quite understandable, after all their industry could be hit very badly. (This just reminds me that all businesses have a life time curve that goes from birth, to growth, to maturity and finally to demise. The time scale can be as short as a year to as long as a hundred years or more, but the end result is that it is replaced by something else).

Some of the arguments are saying that nets and not plastic bags are causing marine life casualties, that paper bags are a worse alternative (side stepping the plastic bag issue) and basically attacking the “plastic bag misinformation campaign”.

Very probably both sides are looking to make their points by reducing or ridiculing their opponents point of view. But the overall issue is still there – are plastic bags affecting our environment?

To get back to the plastic bag banning situation, where paper bags have the negative effect of more trees cut, the information that is being retrieved is very important. But it must also be as objective as possible. Having said that, we know that it takes literally centuries for plastic to degrade and this should be the foremost argument.

Just to expand a little on the paper bag argument, which is totally reasonable, the option is not to cut more trees. The options are to recycle and use bio-degradable alternatives.

In the old days, when plastic bags hadn’t been invented but grocery shops had, natural fiber bags were used and the customers were the ones who brought their own to the shop.

With just a little effort on the individual front, these campaigns wouldn’t be necessary.

Want to know about environment and natural living? Information, news and facts can be found at: http://natural-living-tips.com/


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