Americans throw away an estimated 100 billion plastic bags — some 770,000 tons worth — each year, according to the EPA.
Twelve billion barrels of oil are used to produce that many bags.
Environmentalists argue for banning the bags, which take 1,000 years to break down in landfils, create airborne toxins when incinerated, pollute waterways and kill marine life.
Advocates for the plastics and chemical industries argue that the bags can be succesfully recycled, because there's a growing market for recycled plastic. Public policy should instead focus on encouraging recycling by consumers, they say.
Many countries — and a few American cities — have banned the use of these bags outright, while others have imposed taxes on them. Some U.S. states and cities have adopted bag taxes. See article, "Is it time to bag the plastic?" (N.Y Times, May 19, 2013)
What do you think?