Author Topic: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't  (Read 5052 times)

Dragonswan

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #50 on: May 28, 2019, 12:19:04 PM »
First the humble brag then the anecdote then the solution.  I have canvas bags (at least two of my 7) that I have used weekly since the late 1980's.  I'm not going to do the math on that but I've saved a lot of bags.  And because canvas is so strong, no double bagging or placing only 2 items in a bags to keep it from ripping is required.  I have a more recently (5 years or so) purchased insulated bag from Trader Joe's that I place an ice pack in to safely carry my meat home in on hot summer days.   

So way back in the nineties before the bring your own bag became trendy but a few stores offered a nickel rebate, cashiers would constantly tell me that their store wouldn't give me a rebate and I would tell them it wasn't about the money it was about the environment.  Even now, some cashiers sigh when they see my bags because they have think about how to arrange the items in them.  Some I have to remind to actually use the bag as their muscle memory goes straight to the plastic bag on the dispenser.

The economic incentive is to charge the customer for each single use bag they receive, rebate them for each bag they bring.  The government runs an add campaign about not using plastic bags until we're so sick of seeing every billboard, magazine and TV show interrupted with the same message: "Bring your own bag when you shop so we can stop using taxpayer funds to remind you to do your part to save the environment." *steps down from bamboo soapbox*

jim555

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #51 on: May 28, 2019, 12:23:24 PM »
Eco warriors with feel good but totally ineffective plastic bag and straw bans will create a backlash.

Exactly! And as a result I think these bag bans certainly can do more harm than good. These types of policies are perfect ammunition for fox news commentators and conservative politicians. Given the facts, its pretty easy for evil forces to make the case that these policies are an over-reach, or a solution in search of a problem, or a waste of taxpayer money, etc, etc. Its just bad policy, very divisive, with minimal impact. Good policy is accepted by as many people as possible and its positive impact is easily defensible.
I agree.  The last people I want in power are Republicans, but stuff like this makes it easy for them.

bacchi

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #52 on: May 28, 2019, 12:33:08 PM »
Eco warriors with feel good but totally ineffective plastic bag and straw bans will create a backlash.

Exactly! And as a result I think these bag bans certainly can do more harm than good. These types of policies are perfect ammunition for fox news commentators and conservative politicians. Given the facts, its pretty easy for evil forces to make the case that these policies are an over-reach, or a solution in search of a problem, or a waste of taxpayer money, etc, etc. Its just bad policy, very divisive, with minimal impact. Good policy is accepted by as many people as possible and its positive impact is easily defensible.
I agree.  The last people I want in power are Republicans, but stuff like this makes it easy for them.

They're "conservatives" for a reason and we shouldn't make policies on whether some anti-government resident of Alabama, or their favorite TV anchor, or their Representative, is going to be pissed about it.

The residents of San Francisco aren't continually whining about reusing a bag. They adapted.

Dabnasty

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #53 on: May 28, 2019, 12:33:48 PM »
Others have already alluded to this, but we should just go ahead and completely ignore the 20,000 use figure for an organic cotton bag. I have no citations to back this up and even so I can say with complete confidence that the environmental impact of 1 organic cotton bag is not equivalent to producing, printing, boxing, and shipping ~300lbs of HDPE.

Study was in Danish but with a few translations it looks like their metric was overall environmental impact. I suspect one of their metrics was severely over weighted. This makes me question the rest of their findings as well.

GuitarStv

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #54 on: May 28, 2019, 12:42:08 PM »
Here's a study of US grocery bag usage:  https://tigerprints.clemson.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1006&context=cudp_environment

The numbers I'm seeing in it are much closer to the British study than the Danish one.

mm1970

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #55 on: May 28, 2019, 01:01:20 PM »
Eco warriors with feel good but totally ineffective plastic bag and straw bans will create a backlash.

Exactly! And as a result I think these bag bans certainly can do more harm than good. These types of policies are perfect ammunition for fox news commentators and conservative politicians. Given the facts, its pretty easy for evil forces to make the case that these policies are an over-reach, or a solution in search of a problem, or a waste of taxpayer money, etc, etc. Its just bad policy, very divisive, with minimal impact. Good policy is accepted by as many people as possible and its positive impact is easily defensible.
I'm not exactly sure that's true.

There may be some truth to that for old people (like me, and boomers) who will grumble about stuff.

But, say, younger Gen X'ers than me and millenials will just adjust their buying habits from the start.

I can tell you that I live in California.  Years ago, we had a grocery strike.  I ended up shopping at Trader Joe's.  Trader Joe's was really pushing reusable bags.  In fact, had drawings to win things if you brought them.  After about a year or two of this, they no longer needed to have the drawings, because most people brought their own bags by then.  This was long before the bag ban in California.

My first reaction to the bag ban was "WTAF??"  But now, I bring reusable bags, I have reusable produce bags, I take my own containers to the bulk bins.  If I could figure out a way to get out of bread bags without having to bake all my own fucking bread (and I'm gluten free, rest of family is not), I'd totally do it.  I'm about to start making my own yogurt again because yogurt containers aren't recyclable.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2019, 01:02:54 PM by mm1970 »

bacchi

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #56 on: May 28, 2019, 01:03:40 PM »
Others have already alluded to this, but we should just go ahead and completely ignore the 20,000 use figure for an organic cotton bag. I have no citations to back this up and even so I can say with complete confidence that the environmental impact of 1 organic cotton bag is not equivalent to producing, printing, boxing, and shipping ~300lbs of HDPE.

Study was in Danish but with a few translations it looks like their metric was overall environmental impact. I suspect one of their metrics was severely over weighted. This makes me question the rest of their findings as well.

Page 17, Table IV,

http://orbit.dtu.dk/files/151577434/2018_Life_Cycle_Assessment_of_grocery_carrier_bags_Environmental_project_no._1985.pdf

For climate change, an organic cotton bag needs to be reused 149 times to make it worth it. That's definitely in line with 131x.

For "all indicators," the study has the 20,000 number. "All indicators" (21) includes,

Quote
CCClimate changeODOzone depletionHTcHuman toxicity, cancereffectsHTncHuman toxicity, non-cancer effectsPOF Photochemical ozone formationIRIonizing radiationPMParticulate matterTATerrestrial acidificationTETerrestrial eutrophicationMEMarine eutrophicationFEFreshwater eutrophicationETEcosystem toxicityRDfosResource depletion, fossilRDResource depletion, abioticWaterWater resource depletion


This is actually what the NPR article wrote. :) It still seems excessively high.

Quote from: npr
The Danish government recently did a study that took into account environmental impacts beyond simply greenhouse gas emissions, including water use, damage to ecosystems and air pollution.

There are a number of studies here, too.

http://www.allaboutbags.ca/studiesstats.html


tampaite

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #57 on: May 28, 2019, 03:55:23 PM »
Here is a thought - since companies won't do much and neither the local governments - how about getting this issue on a ballot for voter's initiative? Would that be the best way to legislate this?

OR

just like your credit score which tells how you manage your finances vs risks - how about a social credit score for companies and individuals? If your score is < X, you pay $Y in taxes - just a thought.

rantk81

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #58 on: May 28, 2019, 04:15:48 PM »
I live in Chicago.  They haven't banned plastic bags, but they have added a tax of like a dime or so per disposable shopping bag.  I do remember to bring my bags most of the time.  But I think it's unreasonable to expect people to always be carrying around enough bags  -- especially for folks who get around primarily on-foot.  An out-right ban on it would be super inconvenient in my view.  Also, when buying things such as raw meat, it's really worth it to just pay the tax and bag those items separately, without worrying about contaminating other groceries -- or worse, the "reusable" bag.

Telecaster

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #59 on: May 28, 2019, 04:24:43 PM »

So we can safely assume that the breakeven point is somewhere between 131 and 20,000 uses.  At an estimated 500 uses for cotton bags, I don't see that as evidence for a need to change public policy or personal behavior.  We need a more precise breakeven point.  Part of the problem with "green" initiatives, at least in the US, is there is a lot of propaganda.  After all the tax incentives for electric vehicles, we find that their carbon footprint is not much better than gas vehicles.  We need to stop letting politicians make a name for themselves by pushing agendas before the cold hard facts are in.  It might feel good to "go green" but lets be objective and smart about it.

Sure about that? 

Cranky

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #60 on: May 28, 2019, 05:47:22 PM »
I live in Chicago.  They haven't banned plastic bags, but they have added a tax of like a dime or so per disposable shopping bag.  I do remember to bring my bags most of the time.  But I think it's unreasonable to expect people to always be carrying around enough bags  -- especially for folks who get around primarily on-foot.  An out-right ban on it would be super inconvenient in my view.  Also, when buying things such as raw meat, it's really worth it to just pay the tax and bag those items separately, without worrying about contaminating other groceries -- or worse, the "reusable" bag.

I prefer reusable bags exactly because I do a lot of my errands on foot. Disposable bags are only good for wheeling groceries to the car and driving home. They are terrible for actually carrying things any distance.

seattlecyclone

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #61 on: May 28, 2019, 07:32:04 PM »
I live in Chicago.  They haven't banned plastic bags, but they have added a tax of like a dime or so per disposable shopping bag.  I do remember to bring my bags most of the time.  But I think it's unreasonable to expect people to always be carrying around enough bags  -- especially for folks who get around primarily on-foot.  An out-right ban on it would be super inconvenient in my view.  Also, when buying things such as raw meat, it's really worth it to just pay the tax and bag those items separately, without worrying about contaminating other groceries -- or worse, the "reusable" bag.

I prefer reusable bags exactly because I do a lot of my errands on foot. Disposable bags are only good for wheeling groceries to the car and driving home. They are terrible for actually carrying things any distance.

Exactly. The reusable bags can often be thrown over your shoulders for carrying longer distances, while the single-use plastic bags tend to have handles that are designed for the hands only. Carry them even a couple blocks with any sort of weight inside and your hands won't be feeling too good.

NorthernBlitz

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #62 on: May 29, 2019, 04:01:58 AM »
Maybe the best answer is something like what happens at warehouse stores?

No bags, just reusing cardboard boxes things were shipped in.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2019, 01:46:55 PM by NorthernBlitz »

Tris Prior

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #63 on: May 29, 2019, 07:33:42 AM »
I live in Chicago.  They haven't banned plastic bags, but they have added a tax of like a dime or so per disposable shopping bag.  I do remember to bring my bags most of the time.  But I think it's unreasonable to expect people to always be carrying around enough bags  -- especially for folks who get around primarily on-foot.  An out-right ban on it would be super inconvenient in my view.  Also, when buying things such as raw meat, it's really worth it to just pay the tax and bag those items separately, without worrying about contaminating other groceries -- or worse, the "reusable" bag.

I prefer reusable bags exactly because I do a lot of my errands on foot. Disposable bags are only good for wheeling groceries to the car and driving home. They are terrible for actually carrying things any distance.

I agree with rantk81. I don't have a car, and a lot of times I'll realize I'm walking right past Store X where I can buy Item Y that I've run out of - except I don't have a bag on me because I hadn't planned to shop right then. Yet, I'm still going to go in and get the thing I need, especially if it's snowing or below zero and it's going to be hard to motivate myself to walk home (or fight CTA), get a bag, and go back out in that. So I pay the 7 cent bag fee. That being said, if it's a planned errand, then I always bring my bags.

I work in Evanston just over the Chicago city limits border and have taken to running a lot of my errands there, where there is no bag ban, simply to get bags for free to scoop the dirty kitty litter into. Haven't yet found a solution to that. My building is very old with temperamental plumbing so I don't dare flush it.

cerat0n1a

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #64 on: May 29, 2019, 07:59:12 AM »
England has had a 5 pence (about 6 or 7 US cents) charge for plastic carrier bags since 2015, resulting in an 86% drop in the number of plastic bags used at supermarkets and more than 1 billion fewer bags used in that time, according to the supermarkets. There's been a similar fall in the plastic bag count in marine pollution/on beaches. Each supermarket chooses a charity to receive the money raised. The amount of money is tiny but it seems to be enough of an incentive to remind people to bring bags when they go shopping.

It's bogus to compare plastic bags with cotton and to use that as a reason to do nothing. Cotton growing is pretty disastrous environmentally, due to the high water and pesticide requirement - the disappearance of the Aral Sea is being blamed on cotton. There's plenty of other materials that can be used to make bags. The main effect of the charge in England has been that people simply re-use the same plastic bags.

Malkynn

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #65 on: May 29, 2019, 08:19:13 AM »
England has had a 5 pence (about 6 or 7 US cents) charge for plastic carrier bags since 2015, resulting in an 86% drop in the number of plastic bags used at supermarkets and more than 1 billion fewer bags used in that time, according to the supermarkets. There's been a similar fall in the plastic bag count in marine pollution/on beaches. Each supermarket chooses a charity to receive the money raised. The amount of money is tiny but it seems to be enough of an incentive to remind people to bring bags when they go shopping.

It's bogus to compare plastic bags with cotton and to use that as a reason to do nothing. Cotton growing is pretty disastrous environmentally, due to the high water and pesticide requirement - the disappearance of the Aral Sea is being blamed on cotton. There's plenty of other materials that can be used to make bags. The main effect of the charge in England has been that people simply re-use the same plastic bags.

Not to mention, a lot of reusable bags exist out there initially for other purposes. I don't have a single reusable garbage bag that I actually purchased, I just cleared about 30-something of them from my trunk because I have a near endless supply of them from business events and other purchases. I would rather repurpose a promotional bag than use plastic bags.
That said, I actually use a Clever Crate for groceries...

Personally, I'm all for some kind of single-use plastic policy, even if it creates push back, because it's so important to have more and more highly visible policies for the environment, to acclimate everyone to government intervention that is so critical moving forward.
Maybe it will work, maybe it won't, but what we've done so far is obviously an epic failure, soooo.....


FireMath

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #66 on: May 29, 2019, 08:56:39 AM »
Others have already alluded to this, but we should just go ahead and completely ignore the 20,000 use figure for an organic cotton bag. I have no citations to back this up and even so I can say with complete confidence that the environmental impact of 1 organic cotton bag is not equivalent to producing, printing, boxing, and shipping ~300lbs of HDPE.

Study was in Danish but with a few translations it looks like their metric was overall environmental impact. I suspect one of their metrics was severely over weighted. This makes me question the rest of their findings as well.

Sorry about this being my first post, I may partake in more conversations on this forum, but I tend to just read and not participate in online forums.  However, this is a topic that is very interesting.

There has been several studies, as has now been mentioned here.

Here is the Danish one:  https://www2.mst.dk/Udgiv/publications/2018/02/978-87-93614-73-4.pdf

Page 80:  "In order to provide a comparable performance to LDPE in all impact categories, the number of
reuse times for cotton and composite bags increased to thousands of times"

And the British one:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/291023/scho0711buan-e-e.pdf

Page 7.  A cotton bag would need to be reused over 300 times to equal the environmental impact of a single use grocery plastic bag.  Even paper bags require 7 uses.  Who uses a paper bag 7 times?

The data seems pretty well studied and clear.  That single use bags have far less environmental impact than reusable bags.  Unless you are like the poster above who has used the same bags for decades, of course.  But the problem is, most people don't.  So for every person that doesn't use a cotton bag 300 times, you are just adding more uses to those that do to offset environmental impact.  The numbers get out of control, fast.

I see some "US is so stupid" comments here, but these are studies from other countries that show bag bans are counter productive.

Personally, I have mixed feelings. I don't like any single use items in general.  But, plastic bag bans seem to be pointless, and probably harming the environment more than helping. I think we are focusing on the wrong things.  Picture the average shopper at the grocery store with a cart full of groceries.  A single packaged item in their cart will have more plastic and harmful material than all of the bags used to bag up their order.  When I hear about bag bans like it's going to save the world, I just can't help but picture a cart full of groceries in massive amounts of single use plastic, foam, and paper products.

In light of data suggesting reusable bags have more environmental impact and the tiny amount of plastic actually being used compared to all of the single use packaging, it seems like plastic bag bans are more a feel good measure that most likely does more harm to the environment than good, while at the same time taking focus away from very real changes that we could be focusing on that would make a real difference.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2019, 08:58:22 AM by FireMath »

Kris

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #67 on: May 29, 2019, 09:06:50 AM »
Others have already alluded to this, but we should just go ahead and completely ignore the 20,000 use figure for an organic cotton bag. I have no citations to back this up and even so I can say with complete confidence that the environmental impact of 1 organic cotton bag is not equivalent to producing, printing, boxing, and shipping ~300lbs of HDPE.

Study was in Danish but with a few translations it looks like their metric was overall environmental impact. I suspect one of their metrics was severely over weighted. This makes me question the rest of their findings as well.

Sorry about this being my first post, I may partake in more conversations on this forum, but I tend to just read and not participate in online forums.  However, this is a topic that is very interesting.

There has been several studies, as has now been mentioned here.

Here is the Danish one:  https://www2.mst.dk/Udgiv/publications/2018/02/978-87-93614-73-4.pdf

Page 80:  "In order to provide a comparable performance to LDPE in all impact categories, the number of
reuse times for cotton and composite bags increased to thousands of times"

And the British one:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/291023/scho0711buan-e-e.pdf

Page 7.  A cotton bag would need to be reused over 300 times to equal the environmental impact of a single use grocery plastic bag.  Even paper bags require 7 uses.  Who uses a paper bag 7 times?

The data seems pretty well studied and clear.  That single use bags have far less environmental impact than reusable bags.  Unless you are like the poster above who has used the same bags for decades, of course.  But the problem is, most people don't.  So for every person that doesn't use a cotton bag 300 times, you are just adding more uses to those that do to offset environmental impact.  The numbers get out of control, fast.

I see some "US is so stupid" comments here, but these are studies from other countries that show bag bans are counter productive.

Personally, I have mixed feelings. I don't like any single use items in general.  But, plastic bag bans seem to be pointless, and probably harming the environment more than helping. I think we are focusing on the wrong things.  Picture the average shopper at the grocery store with a cart full of groceries.  A single packaged item in their cart will have more plastic and harmful material than all of the bags used to bag up their order.  When I hear about bag bans like it's going to save the world, I just can't help but picture a cart full of groceries in massive amounts of single use plastic, foam, and paper products.

In light of data suggesting reusable bags have more environmental impact and the tiny amount of plastic actually being used compared to all of the single use packaging, it seems like plastic bag bans are more a feel good measure that most likely does more harm to the environment than good, while at the same time taking focus away from very real changes that we could be focusing on that would make a real difference.

Single use packaging, of course, ought to be banned, as well.

And I may have just glossed over it, but in the "are plastic bags better or worse than paper, cotton, etc." here, I'm not seeing any talk about microplastics, their impact on the environment, deaths of sea life/birds, etc. that ingest them and thus fill their stomachs and die of starvation, growth of trash islands the size of continents, etc.

bacchi

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #68 on: May 29, 2019, 09:11:47 AM »
I think we are focusing on the wrong things.  Picture the average shopper at the grocery store with a cart full of groceries.  A single packaged item in their cart will have more plastic and harmful material than all of the bags used to bag up their order.  When I hear about bag bans like it's going to save the world, I just can't help but picture a cart full of groceries in massive amounts of single use plastic, foam, and paper products.

No one has declared that bag bans will save the world.

We can also care about more than one thing at a time.

Dabnasty

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #69 on: May 29, 2019, 09:19:59 AM »

Not to mention, a lot of reusable bags exist out there initially for other purposes. I don't have a single reusable garbage bag that I actually purchased, I just cleared about 30-something of them from my trunk because I have a near endless supply of them from business events and other purchases. I would rather repurpose a promotional bag than use plastic bags.


I don't think I've ever purchased any either, yet I have 10-15. I also use them for purposes other than grocery shopping, like as a suitcase :)

This is an important variable in the equation. Ideally, we wouldn't be handing out t-shirts and little plastic trinkets at every event but so long as we are, there will be an environmental cost to all of those things. If we replace some of those t-shirts that might be worn once or twice with a reusable shopping bag, what is the true cost of it now?

mm1970

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #70 on: May 29, 2019, 11:38:05 AM »
Quote
The data seems pretty well studied and clear.  That single use bags have far less environmental impact than reusable bags.  Unless you are like the poster above who has used the same bags for decades, of course.  But the problem is, most people don't.  So for every person that doesn't use a cotton bag 300 times, you are just adding more uses to those that do to offset environmental impact.  The numbers get out of control, fast.

See, I think this is pretty ridiculous.  Who DOESN'T reuse bags 300 times? 

I mean, I realize that I am old.

I have a variety of bags that I've gotten, for free, (or for very little) at conferences or garage sales.  Some cotton even. 

I do literally ALL my grocery shopping with reusable bags.  I have been doing so for over 5 years.  Probably closer to 8 years.  I grocery shop at least once per week.
8 years x 52 weeks per year = 416 uses.  For only 8 years.  I'm probably gonna live another 30 years.

If we are going to attack cotton and the environment, maybe we start with fast fashion?

afox

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #71 on: May 29, 2019, 10:17:46 PM »
what;s ridiculous to me is using a "disposable" bag once. I use the disposable bags a minimum of 2 times but often upto 5 or more times. Their final use for me is always to transport messy garbage (baby diapers, kitty litter, kitchen garbage). Somehow through the unexplained laws of nature the number of bags I get with my groceries equals out to about the number of bags that I need. The problem is without the free bags I now have to buy thicker expensive plastic bags for these purposes. Regardless of the number of uses you get from a cotton bag, for me there is no net reduction in plastic bags, there is even an increase since you cant buy extremely light bags of the grocery store variety in a roll.


Adam Zapple

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #72 on: May 30, 2019, 02:03:06 AM »
I think the value of some of these plastic bag bans is, as Malkynn alluded to, their visability.  Most people put very little thought into how much plastic they use.  This helps combat that.  Many municipalities where I live are beginning to enact these bans.  I hope they move onto more plastic items.

StockBeard

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #73 on: May 30, 2019, 03:15:47 AM »
We pay for plastic bags here in Canada (I can't remember if it's 5 cents or 25).  I'd say about half of people use reusable bags.

Japan does the same thing.  At the time I was living there, it was either 5 or 10 yen per bag.

Here again, probably depends on the store or the city. In Tokyo, convenience stores always provide plastic bags for free, often even "double wrap" your stuff. Internet grocery stores send all of the groceries inside plastic bags (themselves inside boxes). A week of groceries on Seiyu (Walmart) for my family of 5 brings us 20 plastic bags. Their site gives you no way to opt out.

Popular supermarket Aeon have stopped distributing plastic bags, but this mostly looks like greenwashing since almost everything they sale is wrapped in plastic that is way thicker than your typical grocery bag. They even wrap bananas and oranges in those.



Pastries at the baker's are individually wrapped in plastic bags, then put together in another plastic bag.

Vending machines in every street promote pet-bottle drinks.

Popular American brands that have "banned" plastic straws in US and Europe such as Starbucks and McDonald's still haven't made the move in Japan (My guess is because nobody here cares?). McDonalds also includes a plastic bag with every takeout order (in addition to the paper bag! 100% useless)

Japan is plastic paradise. Our family of 5 throws away 50 liters of plastic a week, and that's coming from a family trying to reduce our garbage output, but there are no options to do that in Tokyo (the countryside might be better if there are options to buy local stuff or in bulk maybe).  Plastic supposedly gets "recycled", I think the reality is that it used to be sent to China, which is now refusing it, so I assume they burn a majority of it now, but I have no idea. 

seattlecyclone

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #74 on: May 30, 2019, 10:20:19 AM »
what;s ridiculous to me is using a "disposable" bag once. I use the disposable bags a minimum of 2 times but often upto 5 or more times. Their final use for me is always to transport messy garbage (baby diapers, kitty litter, kitchen garbage). Somehow through the unexplained laws of nature the number of bags I get with my groceries equals out to about the number of bags that I need. The problem is without the free bags I now have to buy thicker expensive plastic bags for these purposes. Regardless of the number of uses you get from a cotton bag, for me there is no net reduction in plastic bags, there is even an increase since you cant buy extremely light bags of the grocery store variety in a roll.

How strange. Our family also uses grocery store plastic bags for our trash, and we use perhaps one per week for this purpose. We can't even get these bags in town anymore. The last time I was traveling to somewhere without a bag ban we bought $20 worth of groceries and they gave us about a dozen bags. I can't imagine making so much trash that I would need to fill bags at this rate on a regular basis. If we ever ran out of the grocery store bags there would still be bread bags and cereal bags and plenty of other packaging that we could use to store our other trash.

afox

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #75 on: May 30, 2019, 10:32:58 AM »
I have 2 cats and a toddler so a lot of shitty stuff to dispose of.

$20 groceries gets us about 3 or 4 bags. We also bring our own reusable bags to many grocery stores and many grocery stores in my area only use expensive and environmental unfriendly (compared to plastic) paper bags now due to greenwashing. Just for kitchen trash we probably use about 2 standard disposable shopping bags per week.

So, what do you people who live in areas with plastic bag bans use for your garbage bags?

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #76 on: May 30, 2019, 10:53:56 AM »
Plastic bags are cheap. It's a small price for a store to pay for customer satisfaction. As long as the bags are cheap and most customers find them to be more pleasant than bringing their own bags, the stores will keep offering them. They're also terrible for the environment. Education and/or monetary penalties and/or outright bans will all help to phase them out more quickly.

This. Our county has a 5 cent charge for plastic bags - all stores, if you get a bag, you pay. The amount of public distress and outrage that this generated was astounding. Stores continue to offer bags because if they stop of their own accord they will face outraged customers who are enraged that they have to bring a bag or pay for a bag.

Costco, Ikea, and Aldi have never offered (or always charged for bags) so they aren't taking something away from customers who are accustomed to getting bags.

Using reusable bags is an easy way to cut down on plastic in a way that hardly takes any effort.

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #77 on: May 30, 2019, 10:56:22 AM »
I have 2 cats and a toddler so a lot of shitty stuff to dispose of.

$20 groceries gets us about 3 or 4 bags. We also bring our own reusable bags to many grocery stores and many grocery stores in my area only use expensive and environmental unfriendly (compared to plastic) paper bags now due to greenwashing. Just for kitchen trash we probably use about 2 standard disposable shopping bags per week.

So, what do you people who live in areas with plastic bag bans use for your garbage bags?

"Taylor found these bag bans did what they were supposed to: People in the cities with the bans used fewer plastic bags, which led to about 40 million fewer pounds of plastic trash per year. But people who used to reuse their shopping bags for other purposes, like picking up dog poop or lining trash bins, still needed bags. "What I found was that sales of garbage bags actually skyrocketed after plastic grocery bags were banned," she says. This was particularly the case for small, 4-gallon bags, which saw a 120 percent increase in sales after bans went into effect."

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #78 on: May 30, 2019, 11:10:51 AM »
So, what do you people who live in areas with plastic bag bans use for your garbage bags?

In rare cases where our stash of out-of-town shopping bags have run out, we've used bread bags, the bags from inside cereal boxes, potato chip bags, produce bags. These are all a bit smaller than the shopping bags, but in a city where most of the waste is either composted or recycled there just isn't that much left that needs to be bagged for the landfill.

afox

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #79 on: May 30, 2019, 11:25:40 AM »
So, what do you people who live in areas with plastic bag bans use for your garbage bags?

In rare cases where our stash of out-of-town shopping bags have run out, we've used bread bags, the bags from inside cereal boxes, potato chip bags, produce bags. These are all a bit smaller than the shopping bags, but in a city where most of the waste is either composted or recycled there just isn't that much left that needs to be bagged for the landfill.

How do you hold up the bread bags for the garbage, do you have some kind of trash container that fits bread bags? I must admit you are putting more effort into eliminating your use of plastic bags than I am!

Do you live in seattle?
https://www.seattletimes.com/business/some-seattle-area-recycling-dumped-in-landfills-as-chinas-restrictions-kick-in/

In my city (in extremely progressive front range, CO) they took glass in the recycling for many many years before nosy citizens found out they were just transferring all the glass to the landfill. They still take the glass, I think they just didn't want to disappoint the citizens by telling them the truth.

CNM

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #80 on: May 30, 2019, 11:42:53 AM »
My city banned plastic bags too a few years ago.  Paper bags are available for a ten cent charge. 

There was A LOT of hand-wringing, like I see on this thread, that the plastic bag ban will backfire, that it was inconvenient to customers, and all that.  It is has been, oh, four years?, and everyone has adapted.  The arguments against the ban were completely overblown. 

afox

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #81 on: May 30, 2019, 12:13:46 PM »
My city banned plastic bags too a few years ago.  Paper bags are available for a ten cent charge. 

There was A LOT of hand-wringing, like I see on this thread, that the plastic bag ban will backfire, that it was inconvenient to customers, and all that.  It is has been, oh, four years?, and everyone has adapted.  The arguments against the ban were completely overblown.

everyone has adapted but has the program been been successful? Or does your city use more paper bags now which are worse for the environment than plastic, at a higher cost to its citizens, and did the ban on plastic help elect donald j. trump?


seattlecyclone

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #82 on: May 30, 2019, 12:26:08 PM »
So, what do you people who live in areas with plastic bag bans use for your garbage bags?

In rare cases where our stash of out-of-town shopping bags have run out, we've used bread bags, the bags from inside cereal boxes, potato chip bags, produce bags. These are all a bit smaller than the shopping bags, but in a city where most of the waste is either composted or recycled there just isn't that much left that needs to be bagged for the landfill.

How do you hold up the bread bags for the garbage, do you have some kind of trash container that fits bread bags? I must admit you are putting more effort into eliminating your use of plastic bags than I am!

We have a pretty small trash can, specifically this one. It's a little bit smaller than would be ideal for the shopping bags, but it works out because we can dump trash from the bathrooms into there to fill the bag up the rest of the way on its way out of our house. The chip bags and cereal bags don't quite fill up the can, but they come close enough.

Bread bags don't work quite so well in there. We may have only tried that once or twice. I could see them working out fine for diapers or kitty litter though. Leave a bread bag on the changing table, fill it up throughout the day, and take it out when it's full. You could probably fit a day's worth of diapers in there. Or you could use cloth diapers, but that's a whole other topic for discussion.

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bacchi

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #84 on: May 30, 2019, 12:55:45 PM »
In my city (in extremely progressive front range, CO) they took glass in the recycling for many many years before nosy citizens found out they were just transferring all the glass to the landfill. They still take the glass, I think they just didn't want to disappoint the citizens by telling them the truth.

Glass recycling has a low eco margin. It really depends on how much transport is done from the consumer's house to the recycling center. I would guess that, in most cities, it's not worth it.


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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #85 on: May 30, 2019, 01:09:54 PM »
We pay for plastic bags here in Canada (I can't remember if it's 5 cents or 25).  I'd say about half of people use reusable bags.

We do??

I can only think of a few grocery stores that charge for bags. No other store does. I always get funny looks when I say I don't need a bag.


All the grocery stores in my area do it.  Maybe it's a Toronto thing?  You're right about other stores though, plastic bags galore.

In Halifax it is hit or miss.  WalMart charges for them; there is one Superstore that does not provide plastic bags at all but the rest do; there was one Sobey's that used to give a small (5 cent) discount for every reusable bag used.

bacchi

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #86 on: May 30, 2019, 01:46:39 PM »
Let's look at the actual study that is being used to discount plastic bag bans.

"This was particularly the case for small, 4-gallon bags, which saw a 120 percent increase in sales after bans went into effect."

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2964036

Whether a plastic bag ban is better for the environment depends on the starting number (and the plastic thickness) for those garbage bags. In other words, if thicker bags went from 100 to 220, big fucking deal if 10 million fewer one-use bags were used.

Quote from: Bag 'Leakage'
When converted into pounds of plastic, 28.5% of the plastic reduction from DCB policies is lost due to consumption shifting towards unregulated plastic bags.

To put it another way, even though the use of thicker plastic bags increased, there was still a plastic reduction. It wasn't as much as claimed by the cities/counties involved, but there was a reduction.

« Last Edit: May 30, 2019, 01:48:11 PM by bacchi »

NorthernBlitz

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #87 on: May 30, 2019, 01:54:21 PM »
I have 2 cats and a toddler so a lot of shitty stuff to dispose of.

$20 groceries gets us about 3 or 4 bags. We also bring our own reusable bags to many grocery stores and many grocery stores in my area only use expensive and environmental unfriendly (compared to plastic) paper bags now due to greenwashing. Just for kitchen trash we probably use about 2 standard disposable shopping bags per week.

So, what do you people who live in areas with plastic bag bans use for your garbage bags?

My guess is that people here will provide different anecdotal evidence, but:

The data presented in the podcast linked above suggest that there is a spike in sales of significantly thicker 8 G bags (+ ~75%) and 4 G bags (+ ~ 120%).  They say that adds back about 30% of the plastic that was eliminated by bag bans. As stated in the post right above mine, this still means a 70% reduction in plastic.

The rest of the discussion in the podcast talks about how often reusable bags need to be used to equal disposable bags. They make the argument that for most people, the increased resource consumption for resuable bags outweighs the typical reusablility of the products. There seems to be arguments for how valid this is, but it's certainly worth thinking about IMO. I think there's a lot of marketing behind many "green" ideas, but it's hard to know without doing the life cycle analysis (or at least seeing different LCAs from different reputable sources).

Again, it's not surprising that anecdotal evidence on a forum that focuses on frugality points to people that reuse bags for decades. I think it's unlikely this is the typical experience of most consumers in North America.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2019, 02:00:30 PM by NorthernBlitz »

GuitarStv

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #88 on: May 30, 2019, 02:24:50 PM »
Again, it's not surprising that anecdotal evidence on a forum that focuses on frugality points to people that reuse bags for decades. I think it's unlikely this is the typical experience of most consumers in North America.

The best way to ensure that it remains an atypical experience is to create conditions where reusing bags isn't necessary.

afox

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #89 on: May 30, 2019, 02:50:00 PM »
I have 2 cats and a toddler so a lot of shitty stuff to dispose of.

$20 groceries gets us about 3 or 4 bags. We also bring our own reusable bags to many grocery stores and many grocery stores in my area only use expensive and environmental unfriendly (compared to plastic) paper bags now due to greenwashing. Just for kitchen trash we probably use about 2 standard disposable shopping bags per week.

So, what do you people who live in areas with plastic bag bans use for your garbage bags?

My guess is that people here will provide different anecdotal evidence, but:

The data presented in the podcast linked above suggest that there is a spike in sales of significantly thicker 8 G bags (+ ~75%) and 4 G bags (+ ~ 120%).  They say that adds back about 30% of the plastic that was eliminated by bag bans. As stated in the post right above mine, this still means a 70% reduction in plastic.

The rest of the discussion in the podcast talks about how often reusable bags need to be used to equal disposable bags. They make the argument that for most people, the increased resource consumption for resuable bags outweighs the typical reusablility of the products. There seems to be arguments for how valid this is, but it's certainly worth thinking about IMO. I think there's a lot of marketing behind many "green" ideas, but it's hard to know without doing the life cycle analysis (or at least seeing different LCAs from different reputable sources).

Again, it's not surprising that anecdotal evidence on a forum that focuses on frugality points to people that reuse bags for decades. I think it's unlikely this is the typical experience of most consumers in North America.

Problem is a lot of the plastic bags are replaced with paper ones which have a worse environmental impact than plastic bags and are harder to re-use.

Also, a lot of effort is being made here to save a small amount of plastic. Maybe eliminating the sale of something plastic outdoor furniture would save more plastic with less impact? 

Also, there have been great political consequences as a reaction to these public policies. Some people are just unreasonable and don't want to be told what to do. For whatever non logical reason, these types of public policies are very divisive. Im not sure what the solution is to bring americans together around a cause to improve the environment and reduce global warming but what we are doing now is;nt working! People are full of resentment and venting their frustrations by voting for people like donald j. trump.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2019, 02:52:19 PM by afox »

bacchi

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #90 on: May 30, 2019, 03:12:17 PM »
a lot of the plastic bags are replaced with paper ones which have a worse environmental impact than plastic bags and are harder to re-use.

What is "a lot" and how does that compare to the 70% reduction in plastic?

Again, this is about the numbers. If paper bags increase from 1000 (who uses paper bags anymore?) to 10,000 bfd if 100 million plastic bags are no longer used.

Quote
Also, there have been great political consequences as a reaction to these public policies. Some people are just unreasonable and don't want to be told what to do. For whatever non logical reason, these types of public policies are very divisive. Im not sure what the solution is to bring americans together around a cause to improve the environment and reduce global warming but what we are doing now is;nt working! People are full of resentment and venting their frustrations by voting for people like donald j. trump.

We can't make well-meaning policies (even if they need to be refined) based on what someone intent on solving a child slavery ring run by Democratic operatives in a pizzeria thinks.

NorthernBlitz

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #91 on: May 30, 2019, 03:15:00 PM »
Again, it's not surprising that anecdotal evidence on a forum that focuses on frugality points to people that reuse bags for decades. I think it's unlikely this is the typical experience of most consumers in North America.

The best way to ensure that it remains an atypical experience is to create conditions where reusing bags isn't necessary.

Again, I like the model at warehouse stores where you re-use other packaging material instead of creating disposable or reusable bags.

I generally try to avoid bags. We lived in the Greater Toronto Area when the Superstore (a big grocery chain) gave up bags. We bought the big green plastic bins and have used them ever since (despite the weird looks we get here in the US).



I have no idea what the break even is on plastic for those things, but my guess is a lot. They're good for way more than groceries too. But it did always strike me that the grocery stores got rid of something they gave away for free and replaced it with something they sold (presumably for profit). I tend to think that the motivation for the stores was to generate more profit (especially since grocery stores have super thin margins) so I'm not convinced they did any kind of environmental assessment. In that light, it's not surprising that at least some studies are finding that it's not a net benefit environmentally.

When I don't have my bins in the car, I usually don't get bags and wheel my cart to the car and put the groceries in separately. This probably takes me 30 - 60 more seconds than if I had bags or the bins. Then when I get home I use the bins to bring things in.

I think bags (reusable or disposable) are mostly for just bringing stuff from the store to the car. Or from the cart to your trunk. We don't really need them.

Most of our garbage pails in the house are plastic and don't need a bag as a liner. The exceptions are a "fancy" wicker garbage in one bathroom and our kitchen garbage.

One thing I miss from the Toronto area is compost pick up. It was great because between recycling and compost we generally had less than one bag of garbage every 2 weeks (with 2 kids in diapers, but we use cloth and not disposable).

So like many here, we try not to use disposable things. But we're not normal (like many on this site).
« Last Edit: May 30, 2019, 03:19:58 PM by NorthernBlitz »

afox

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #92 on: May 30, 2019, 03:27:26 PM »
This video explains everything:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d545PS_AkOw

This is all about emotions, it has nothing to do with numbers!

bacchi

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #93 on: May 30, 2019, 03:37:47 PM »
This video explains everything:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d545PS_AkOw

This is all about emotions, it has nothing to do with numbers!

It's a funny skit but you got anything else?

stoaX

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #94 on: May 30, 2019, 03:46:51 PM »
I have 2 cats and a toddler so a lot of shitty stuff to dispose of.

$20 groceries gets us about 3 or 4 bags. We also bring our own reusable bags to many grocery stores and many grocery stores in my area only use expensive and environmental unfriendly (compared to plastic) paper bags now due to greenwashing. Just for kitchen trash we probably use about 2 standard disposable shopping bags per week.

So, what do you people who live in areas with plastic bag bans use for your garbage bags?

We haven't had free plastic bags in grocery stores in California for 5 years or so...and I still have hundreds of them despite using them for the garbage and other things.  I think I will finally exhaust the stash in about 2 years.  Not sure what I will do then, but it is amazing how many of these bags we accumulated over the years despite reusing them.   But I don't have cats or a toddler so perhaps I don't go thru as many as you do. 

mm1970

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #95 on: May 30, 2019, 04:22:31 PM »
a lot of the plastic bags are replaced with paper ones which have a worse environmental impact than plastic bags and are harder to re-use.

What is "a lot" and how does that compare to the 70% reduction in plastic?

Again, this is about the numbers. If paper bags increase from 1000 (who uses paper bags anymore?) to 10,000 bfd if 100 million plastic bags are no longer used.

Quote
Also, there have been great political consequences as a reaction to these public policies. Some people are just unreasonable and don't want to be told what to do. For whatever non logical reason, these types of public policies are very divisive. Im not sure what the solution is to bring americans together around a cause to improve the environment and reduce global warming but what we are doing now is;nt working! People are full of resentment and venting their frustrations by voting for people like donald j. trump.

We can't make well-meaning policies (even if they need to be refined) based on what someone intent on solving a child slavery ring run by Democratic operatives in a pizzeria thinks.
Funny/ not funny thing about this.  I remember when plastic bags became a "thing", because I was literally bagging groceries in high school and college when my store made the switch.

"Save the trees!"  That was the big thing.  Nobody even thought about the plastic, and what happens to it.

As I ponder all this, and think "cradle to grave" (which, even in the Navy we had to think that way "where is this going to end up"?) - we put the onus on the consumer, when it should be on the manufacturer.

Cranky

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #96 on: May 30, 2019, 04:28:49 PM »
People did actually have garbage before there were plastic bags. It was fine.

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #97 on: May 30, 2019, 04:35:08 PM »
Yeah something that we don't think about when considering this is just how do we treat plastic bags as litter. When you look around at what usually makes up litter, plastic bags make up a lot of that. Where as larger pieces of trash tend to make it into a trashcan somewhere, plastic bags are so ubiquitous that we, as a people, just don't take the same care to properly throw away plastic bags or recycle them.

If a cotton bag only takes 130 uses to equate, then that only comes out to like 2 years. If you commit to using reusable bags, you'll easily make that number. That doesn't include how cotton bags can be used for more than just groceries. Clothing, general transport, easier to walk to grocery store with, library books, etc.

LG89

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #98 on: June 02, 2019, 03:03:42 PM »
Others have already alluded to this, but we should just go ahead and completely ignore the 20,000 use figure for an organic cotton bag. I have no citations to back this up and even so I can say with complete confidence that the environmental impact of 1 organic cotton bag is not equivalent to producing, printing, boxing, and shipping ~300lbs of HDPE.

Study was in Danish but with a few translations it looks like their metric was overall environmental impact. I suspect one of their metrics was severely over weighted. This makes me question the rest of their findings as well.

Sorry about this being my first post, I may partake in more conversations on this forum, but I tend to just read and not participate in online forums.  However, this is a topic that is very interesting.

There has been several studies, as has now been mentioned here.

Here is the Danish one:  https://www2.mst.dk/Udgiv/publications/2018/02/978-87-93614-73-4.pdf

Page 80:  "In order to provide a comparable performance to LDPE in all impact categories, the number of
reuse times for cotton and composite bags increased to thousands of times"

And the British one:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/291023/scho0711buan-e-e.pdf

Page 7.  A cotton bag would need to be reused over 300 times to equal the environmental impact of a single use grocery plastic bag.  Even paper bags require 7 uses.  Who uses a paper bag 7 times?

The data seems pretty well studied and clear.  That single use bags have far less environmental impact than reusable bags.  Unless you are like the poster above who has used the same bags for decades, of course.  But the problem is, most people don't.  So for every person that doesn't use a cotton bag 300 times, you are just adding more uses to those that do to offset environmental impact.  The numbers get out of control, fast.

I see some "US is so stupid" comments here, but these are studies from other countries that show bag bans are counter productive.

Personally, I have mixed feelings. I don't like any single use items in general.  But, plastic bag bans seem to be pointless, and probably harming the environment more than helping. I think we are focusing on the wrong things.  Picture the average shopper at the grocery store with a cart full of groceries.  A single packaged item in their cart will have more plastic and harmful material than all of the bags used to bag up their order.  When I hear about bag bans like it's going to save the world, I just can't help but picture a cart full of groceries in massive amounts of single use plastic, foam, and paper products.

In light of data suggesting reusable bags have more environmental impact and the tiny amount of plastic actually being used compared to all of the single use packaging, it seems like plastic bag bans are more a feel good measure that most likely does more harm to the environment than good, while at the same time taking focus away from very real changes that we could be focusing on that would make a real difference.

Single use packaging, of course, ought to be banned, as well.

And I may have just glossed over it, but in the "are plastic bags better or worse than paper, cotton, etc." here, I'm not seeing any talk about microplastics, their impact on the environment, deaths of sea life/birds, etc. that ingest them and thus fill their stomachs and die of starvation, growth of trash islands the size of continents, etc.

Finally someone brought it up.

https://www.ifyoucare.com/household/compostable-trash-bags/ < from a quick google search.

leonblack

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Re: Plastic bags - Why some stores provide but others don't
« Reply #99 on: June 02, 2019, 05:47:54 PM »
Post your tote/reusable bag below!