The main reason policy makers give for banning plastic carryout bags is because of the litter impact of these bags upon the environment. Yet, plastic bags comprise at most a miniscule 0.6% of roadside litter; Whereas, Fast Food litter comprises 29.1% of roadside litter. Despite the litter impact of plastic carryout bags, plastic bags produce fewer greenhouse gases than paper or cotton bags. Plastic bags require 70% less energy to manufacture than paper bags. Plastic bags take less than 4% of the water needed to manufacture paper bags. Plastic bags generate up to 80% less waste than paper bags. It takes 7 trucks to deliver paper bags and only 1 truck for the same number of plastic bags. Furthermore, it takes 91% less energy to recycle a pound of plastic than a pound of paper.
To justify banning plastic grocery bags in favor of paper or reusable bags with their higher environmental footprints, bag ban proponents rely on reusing a bag multiple times in order for its overall environmental impact to be less than a plastic carryout bag on a per use basis. The concept expressed in Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs) is that because there would be fewer reusable bags in circulation and since each bag is used multiple times that an environmental advantage is achieved over the use of plastic carryout bags. However, there are some flaws in this concept.
To learn more click on the following link: Plastic Bags – Greener Than Alternatives