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Time to rethink plastic bag debate

In these times of social distancing, face masks, etc., we should take a moment to rethink a well-meaning but counterproductive and now possibly harmful policy. The ban on so-called single-use plastic bags has been discovered to be worse than just an annoyance.

The environmental impact of reusable bags is likely worse than the thin plastic bags we used to be so fond of. Reusables result in more CO2 and other pollutants during manufacture, transport and maintenance (cleaning). Reuse rates are typically not high enough to make up the difference. Litter? Here in the United States, societal mores and technological advances have come a long way to minimize litter. Plastic filled oceans? Studies show almost all of it comes from fishing boats, Asia, Africa and South America; places that have not yet developed appropriate pollution prevention attitudes and technologies.

And what about COVID-19? We wander the grocery store aisles keeping distance from our neighbors. Then we arrive at the checkout counter and hand our potentially contaminated bags to the checkout bagger or, if self-bagging, rub them on the conveyor. Paranoid? Maybe, but why not be as safe as possible?

Science and common sense dictate it; bring back the plastic bags.

Matt Riordan




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