Zachary Taylor: Plastic bags are recyclable

Published: 2/4/2021 2:59:06 PM

A recent ordinance adopted by the Northampton City Council bans all plastic bags, only allowing for paper bags or “recyclable, biodegradable or compostable” reusable bags. Sustainability is always a laudable goal, but this ordinance misses key details — the plastic bags the city has doubled down on banning are 100% recyclable and highly reused.

One study found that nearly 78% of plastic bags are regularly reused, most often as trash bags or to pick up after pets. In fact, research found that plastic bag bans can increase carbon emissions. These policies force people to buy additional, replacement bags, which often use more plastic than a traditional plastic grocery bag.

In addition, any customer can freely and easily recycle their plastic bags at many major supermarkets and retail chains as part of the industry-pioneered store take-back program, which helps keeps bags out of the environment and landfills.

In light of this, it’s clear that this ordinance, which aims to promote sustainability by forcing consumers to use alternative products with higher environmental impacts, misses the mark.

Zachary Taylor

Director of American Recyclable Plastic Bag Alliance




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