Todd Wynn, vice president of the libertarian Cascade Policy Institute, has a thoughtful column about plastic bag bans on OregonLive.com. "Plastic Bags: It's time to get beyond 'ban, ban, ban,'" argues that plastic bags are not the environmental nightmare that some environmentalists make them out to be. Litter and marine debris problems are not the result of plastic bags existing -- they are the result of bags not ending up in the proper place -- landfills, trash cans and recycling bins, Wynn says.
The problem is littering, yet the only solution proposed is an outright ban. The argument doesn't make much sense anyhow. Plastic doesn't just exist in bags. It is in a whole host of products that the world consumes. What's next? Banning all plastic on Earth? It is unfortunate that supposedly well-intentioned advocacy organizations put all their efforts into outright consumer bans. These organizations could work towards creating public awareness of a perceived problem and organizing a grassroots movement to use alternatives voluntarily. The only way to effect meaningful change is to change culture, which requires voluntarily winning hearts and minds.The column doesn't have any reader comments yet, but I imagine that will change soon. The bag ban issue is heating up in Oregon. I'll be checking back on this debate.