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Banning plastic bags a bad, maybe deadly, idea

A recent study from the National Center for Policy Analysis finds that plastic bag bans may
not save taxpayers anything.
In San Francisco, the cost of a residential trash can rose from $19.08 in 2005 before its plastic
bag ban to $34.08 in 2013, a 78.6 percent increase out of step with San Francisco's 5 percent
population growth and 19.5 percent inflation during that period.
Some plastic bag bans exempt paper bags if they use recycled content, but that is hardly
environmentally friendly. According to the American Progressive Bag Alliance, or APBA, a
plastic trade organization, plastic bags take up 85 percent less space in landfills than paper
Many localities struggle with having enough landfill capacity, and Texas law makes securing
new landfill permits difficult. Prohibiting plastic bags means landfills fill faster, and
taxpayers must foot the cost of increasing capacity. Increasing landfill capacity and waste are
hardly “eco-friendly” results.Clearly, the idea that plastic bag bans save money and the
environment is a fantasy.
But did you know they might also kill you?
In 2012, the Institute for Law and Economics published a paper titled “Grocery Bag Bans and
Foodborne Illness” that finds striking correlations between San Francisco's plastic bag ban
and increased deaths and emergency room visits related to foodborne bacteria.
The reusable grocery bags encouraged by regulators can harbor harmful bacteria such as E.
coli, which spread quickly when they are, well, reused. Of course, washing reusable bags
itself requires energy and water.
The paper notes that after the ban, deaths in San Francisco due to bacteria such as E. coli
increased by almost 50 percent. ER visits increased by a similar amount. The paper
concludes, “conservative estimates of the costs and benefits of the San Francisco plastic bag
ban suggest the health risks they impose are not likely offset by environmental benefits.”
Not only are these meddlesome laws dangerous, they also threaten liberty.
Small business owners are unable to operate as profitably or effectively when government
swoops in to micromanage their affairs through petty regulations. Faced with additional costs,
they must hike their prices, placing additional burden on consumers in addition to the loss of
consumer choice.
Consumers may no longer hear “paper or plastic,” the common checkout phrase allowing
them to make a simple decision for themselves. Instead, government chooses for them.

They increase sickness. they fill landfills. . they don't work. Cities should steer clear of the temptation to regulate grocery bags.Plastic bag bans force shoppers to pay more. and they restrict the basic freedom to choose.

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