Banning or taxing plastic bags causes more problems than it solves.
Before they came for our light bulbs, they targeted our plastic bags. And they’re still after them.
It all began in 2002, when Ireland enacted a plastic-bag tax for the clearly stated purpose of lowering the amount of litter in the country. The fact that it would also raise tax revenue was an added bonus. And sure enough, weeks after its passage, the New York Times was already reporting a 94 percent drop in plastic-bag use, as reusable bags quickly caught on among Irish shoppers.
So naturally, when San Francisco (big surprise) became the first U.S. city to pass an all-out ban on plastic grocery bags, in 2007, supporters were quick to highlight Ireland’s case as an example of the positive impact such legislation would have on the environment. Aside from making up a sizeable percentage of total litter, they argued, the bags took up a large amount of space in landfills and were difficult to recycle.
In the years since passage of the San Francisco ban, several more municipalities have enacted similar legislation, including bans in Santa Monica and the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County and a tax in Washington D.C. In Oregon, a statewide plastic-bag ban has been introduced in the legislature, as have prospective statewide bag taxes in both Indiana and Maryland. And why not? Such legislation reduces the amount of solid waste, promotes the use of reusable bags, and (in the case of taxes) increases much-needed revenue for state and local governments all at once, right?
Well, not quite. [Read more at above link]