But think of the turtles

In an ironic twist, Countdown’s 15 cent re-usable bags are being used as rubbish bags.

Why is reality such a difficult concept for some people to grasp? I understand that children don’t always see the full picture, but surely the ‘adult’ that they wrote to, asking for a ban of the badly mis-named ‘single-use’ plastic bag, could have sat and thought for a moment before making her Captain’s Call.

The following is USA-centric but many of the points apply equally well in New Zealand. Quote.

Plastic shopping bags made in the United States are made from natural gas, not oil ? and America has at least another century of natural gas right under our feet. Moreover, plastic grocery bags require 70% less energy to manufacture than paper bags. In fact, it takes far more raw materials and fossil fuel energy to grow and harvest trees, make pulp and turn it into paper bags, than to make plastic bags.

Manufacturing plastic bags also consumes less than 4% of the water needed to make paper bags. In the process, plastic bags produce fewer greenhouse gases per use than paper or cotton bags.

It then takes seven trucks to deliver the same number of paper bags that a single truck can haul if the bags are made from plastic. That means it also takes far more (mostly fossil fuel) energy to transport reusable and paper bags than it does to transport plastic bags.

EPA data show that plastic bags make up only 0.5 % of the U.S. municipal waste stream. Plastic bags are 100% reusable and recyclable, and many stores make that process simple.

Reusable and paper bags take up far more space than plastic bags in landfills, and the airless environment of landfills means paper bags do not decompose for years, or even decades.

Most reusable bags are made in China and Vietnam, then shipped to the USA in fossil fuel burning cargo ships. Reusable bags are made from heavier and thicker plastic or cotton, which takes more energy to produce, even if it?s recycled fabric or plastic. A reusable bag must be used no less than 132 times before having a ?greener? environmental impact that a plastic grocery bag.

Reusable bags aren?t recyclable, and reusable bag giveaways are environmentally costly when unwanted bags end up in the dumpster, often after one or even no use.

Research from Arizona has determined that few people wash their reusable grocery shopping bags, 8% of reusable bags harbor E. coli bacteria, and nearly all unwashed bags harbor other pathogenic bacteria.

Some stores have seen declines in business. One Solana Beach, CA business saw a 25% decline in business following the implementation of a plastic bag ban. A Grocery Outlet Store told a Portland, Oregon newspaper that it lost over $10,000 to shoplifters walking in with and using their own reusable bag to exit with merchandise without going through checkout lines.

Other stores reported losses of hand-carried plastic and metal grocery baskets due to bans. End quote.


As the writer says, “Bad science and emotionalism lead to bad laws.” Never let the facts get in the way of a Greenpeace beat-up.