J. Justin Wilson: Stick with plastic bags? | SummitDaily.com

J. Justin Wilson: Stick with plastic bags?

J. Justin Wilson
Senior Research Analyst, Center for Consumer Freedom
Washington, DC

We, the consumer, have been told that it is imperative to get plastic and paper bags out of our shopping centers because of the harm they do to the environment. What we haven’t been told is that, due to the unintended consequences of these hastily implemented, ill-thought-out policies, we might be doing more harm than good by switching over to reusable bags. Consider that, according The Wall Street Journal, the production of each reusable bag requires a carbon footprint that is some 28 times higher than their plastic brethren.

A recent poll from Opinion Research Corporation found that only two out of five consumers reuse their bag “most” or “all” of the time. What do they do when they forget their reusable bags? They end up using plastic bags from the store or even buying more reusable bags! These are the kinds of unintended consequences that occur every time the government rushes to pass new, feel-good measures designed to shape public behavior. Let’s do our best to avoid introducing new problems that might actually be worse than the ones we are trying to solve.

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