I've been in the plastics industry for the 10 years since I graduated. In and before that time I have heard various arguments of why single-use plastic bags are better than the alternatives. I won't debate these because they all miss the point. The problem is that the product, bags in this case, are being used by people who do not understand or care about the ramifications of what they do with products after they are done with them.
If all of these bags went into landfills and stayed there we would not be having this discussion. Our response to the outcry is to talk about efficiency, say that the bags can be recycled and make half-hearted efforts to promote recycling them. If we continue with this strategy they will end up being replaced with reusable or of some kind of biodegradable bags.
Like it or not, we in the plastics industry are partially responsible for our products at the end of life. Instead of really supporting rules and programs like bottle fees and take-back programs to deal with this, we fight them. Look at the automotive industry. They fought safety, emissions and efficiency mandates and they still got them. Now everyone agrees they were a good thing.
We are too focused on keeping business as usual instead of recognizing the opportunity for closing the loop and/or making better products. If we don't, either someone else will or we will be forced to. Let's lead instead of being dragged.
Assistant plant manager/design engineer