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the Plastic Bag Myth

In Ireland, starting 2002, a plastic bag cost 15 cents. The plastic bags given out by stores immediately decreased 93.5%.

The vast majority of plastic bags end up in landfills.
Isn't that the ultimate in CARBON SEQUESTRATION versus chopping down trees for paper bags?  -- reducing the number of trees taking carbon out of the air !

A study showed that both Compostable-plastic and  Paper bags require more materials and greater energy, per bag, in the
manufacturing process than standard plastic bags.


bulletEnergy & Materials used in manufacturing and
bulletFuel (used in the transportation of the materials & finished product),

for Compostable and Paper bag systems are far MORE than that of the standard Plastic bag system.

The Standard PLASTIC bag:
bullet1. has significantly lower environmental impacts than a 30%-recycled-content-paper-bag
bullet2. manufactures with :
bullet3.4 times less energy than a Paper bag and
bullet1.8 times less energy than the Compostable bag.
bullet3. produces:
bulletone sixth the SOLID WASTE ( by weight) of Paper bags and
bulletless than one half that of Compostable !
bullet4. emits:
bullethalf the Global Warming potential (CO2 equivalent) of Paper bags and
bulletone seventh that of Compostable

( because it does not decompose like Paper & Compostable and
emits 5 times more Carbon in production )

bullet5. in manufacturing it uses:
bullet1/25th WATER than Paper and
bullet1/17th of Compostable !

Here are how many uses are needed to equal
the Environmental Impact of
one use of
one of the old thin plastic bags:

New reusable plastic bags at the grocery store (LDPE) 4.2
PET reusable plastic bags 10-11
Non-woven polypropylene fabric bags 11-13
Polyester bags 42
Cotton bag 131
A PET reusable plastic bag is the plastic square kind you can buy at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.
A polypropylene bag is the semi-fabric boxlike kind often given out at expos or festivals.
Cotton bags are the nice cotton totes you might buy for their cute design or charm. source

ENGLAND 2015: Just 8 cents (5p) on a plastic bag reduced use by 85% (7 billion were used the previous year)
IRELAND: with a tax of 15c per bag, the amount given out in stores is reduced by 93.5% - folks wont be littering with
them at that price -- just putting wet trash in them -- for the garbage and landfill. ( the tax is now 31c).
Carrying them became socially unacceptable — on a par with wearing a fur coat or not cleaning up after one’s dog.
The impact of Plastic bags on litter, the latest figures, 2013, suggest there has been a 20-fold decrease since the levy was introduced in 2002.

If someone's going to buy a bag -- better it be the more environmentally friendly plastic than paper.
In the US  we clearly need to tax ALL bags equally -- at over 15c and ban none !

data from a Boustead Consulting & Associates report:

The number of plastic bags handed out in stores was slashed by 80% - the equivalent of 650 million - in the first year, 2015, of Scotland's 5p charge.