Why a California Bag Ban Would be Counterproductive

Plastic bag bans are gaining a lot of notoriety in the States, and throughout the rest of the world. There's one thing a lot of people don't realize about plastic bag bans, however—they don't work.

Unfortunately, some California legislators are going to a lot of trouble to prove they don’t work by enacting a California bag ban, which will only burden business owners, consumers, and the environment.


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What’s the situation?

There are two bills under consideration: SB 1053 and AB 2236. If passed, they’ll mandate a total plastic California bag ban in California. Stores will be required to sell 100% recycled paper bags and shoppers will be allowed to bring their own reusable bags.

What’s wrong with that?

  • A lot of people leave their reusable bags home. As more and more paper bags are required, the environment will become stressed by high water use, increased carbon emissions, and deforestation.
  • The real challenge isn’t bags: it’s behavior.

No matter what the bags are made of, pollution can’t be solved unless people reduce, reuse, and recycle bags of all kinds.

How do you know a California bag ban won’t work?

Just look at New Jersey, where they tried banning all single-use plastic and paper bags. Plastic bag usage decreased, but thicker, woven-plastic alternatives had a much larger carbon footprint and increased the demand for plastic threefold.

Bag bans also further the demonization of plastic, endangering the production of safe, sanitary, economical plastic film that has revolutionized the food industry and contributed greatly to reducing food waste across America.

So, what’s the answer?

Whether it’s a New Jersey bag ban, a California bag ban, or an Anywhere, USA, bag ban, taking a useful accessory away from people isn’t the answer. The answer lies in behavior change, encouraging reuse and recycling, and creating a closed-loop, circular economy…an eternal comeback like The Rolling Stones have year after year.

To learn more, watch the video above. 👆🏽

We encourage legislators to examine the consequences of existing bag bans and explore the many recycling and closed-loop technologies being developed by the plastics industry. Evaluating the issue from all angles is the path to an effective long-term solution.