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Plastic Bags Should Not Be Banned

  • Date Submitted: 07/02/2013 12:34 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 50.1 
  • Words: 612
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Plastic bags should be managed, not banned
Cities in a number of countries are currently on the warpath against plastic shopping bags. Many cities have passed local laws that ban such bags and impose heavy fines on violators. Other countries are appealing for a switch to the production and use of biodegradable bags. But this misses the point. People do not object to using biodegradable bags, and consider them a welcome return to the traditional practice of using shopping baskets and bags made from locally available materials — such as jute, abaca and cloth — that are less harmful to the environment. What needs to be remembered is that plastic bags were made for a purpose, and that the main complaint is against the way that they are used — not their existence.
Plastic bags were designed to satisfy a need. Thin plastic can do many things that paper, which is recommended as a good substitute for plastic, cannot. Indeed, there are ways in which thin plastic may be more useful than paper.
For example, plastic bags are widely appreciated for their use in wrapping food, and holding water and other wet goods. These and many other functions make the plastic bag a versatile, practical invention of the twentieth century. Another advantage of the plastic bag is that it is reusable. One reason that plastic film bags are widely seen as an environmental nuisance is that most are non-biodegradable. But if they were manufactured from a biodegradable material — such as the bioplastics that are now being produced in some European countries — the main reason for banning them would disappear.
Even with a change of material, however, there is no guarantee that environmental damage from plastics would stop. This is because the ‘evil' is not in the material used, but in the behaviour of those who do not know — or do not care — where, when and how to dispose of the product.
Moreover, governments cannot ignore the contribution to the economy of the thin plastics industry. According to...


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