Most people believe that laws banning plastic grocery bags are all about protecting the environment from plastic bag litter that damages the environment and harms wildlife. However, the real reason for a plastic bag ban has nothing to do with the environment and everything to do with generating profitable bag fees and protecting those bag fees from being eliminated or eroded away by competition.
This paper makes the case that grocers, reusable bag manufacturers, and environmental organizations have teamed up to pressure state and local officials in passing bag ban laws in their own self-interest at the expense of consumers while doing very little for the environment.
Grocers are Already Free to Offer Any Bag at Any Price
To begin our discussion, there are a number of things that retail stores have the complete freedom to do any time they so choose, even without a plastic bag ban:
- Stop the distribution of lightweight plastic grocery bags.
- Choose the types of carryout bags they distribute.
- Sell bags to customers outright or embed bag costs in product pricing.
- Provide customers a rebate for bringing and using their own reusable bags.
All four items listed above are approaches that stores have the absolute freedom to do any time they so choose. In fact, no laws are needed as demonstrated by Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods who do not offer plastic bags and distribute paper bags at the point of sale to customers who did not bring their own reusable bags. In addition, these stores and many others provide customers a rebate for each reusable bag the customer brings in and uses. The rebate is an encouragement to customers to bring their own bags and also a reimbursement for the bag fees that customers pay indirectly to the store through higher prices.
To read the entire article, click on the following link: Eliminating Competition Is the Real Reason behind Bag Bans.