With bag taxes and bans popping up so many places, it begs the question: is there a real environmental benefit to bag legislation? Todd Myers -- environmental director of the free-market focused Washington Policy Center and author of "Eco-Fads: How the Rise of Trendy Environmentalism is Harming the Environment," recently wrote that bans "may actually be a net negative for the environment, yielding little benefit to wildlife while significantly increasing carbon emissions and other environmental impacts." His July 31 column, "Plastic Bag Bans: Another Feel-Good Eco-Fad," Myers picks apart some criticism of plastic bags, highlighting the bag litter hyperbole that we've written about previously in The Plastics Blog. He makes the case that bag bans actually have an environmental cost, and that communities should "sincerely weigh." "Unfortunately, few do any analysis because the political symbolism of banning the bags is powerful. It is often easier to ignore the science that indicates such bans may actually harm the environment than make an honest effort to weigh these difficult issues." Myers is right on the mark about the political symbolism of banning bags. Many legislators aren't willing to stand up for the plastics industry -- even when it's a question of killing jobs during the Great Recession. In some communities, concern about litter -- especially marine debris -- trumps all other arguments. So the industry needs to come up with a strategy that effectively addresses that concern.
Bag bans: Environmental benefit, or fads?
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