Home Opinion Editorials Opt for reuseable shopping bags to replace plastic
Opt for reuseable shopping bags to replace plastic
Being green these days is a badge of honor. Just ask Sen. Mark Hass,
D-Beaverton, who wants to ban single-use plastic bags from Oregon’s
Hass lists at least four things that make plastic bags a pariah. They contribute to litter, which anyone who has seen them piled up against fences like plastic tumbleweeds will attest. The bags are also hard to recycle, hurt marine life and are made from fossil fuels.
Hass’s bill is considered a long shot at the month-long legislative session under way in Salem. But we think it’s time for consumers to consider alternatives to plastic bags.
The plastic shopping bag has a long, sordid history. It’s been around for about 33 years. Worldwide consumption has reached nearly a trillion bags each year. Only 1 to 3 percent of these plastic bags get recycled.
One reason to advocate going to reusable bags is the need to make America more energy independent. The bags are made using oil, a non-renewable resource, and other toxic chemicals. Reusable bags would cut down on America’s demand for oil.
However, switching to cheap reusable bags won’t help. Cheap bags will soon wear out and be thrown away, compounding the garbage problem. Consumers need a bag sturdy enough to hold gallons of milk, cantaloupes and whatever else is on the shopping list. Instead, people should opt for high-quality reusable bags to cut down on consumption and demand on the oil resource.
In some countries, including Ireland and Germany, there is a tax for each plastic bag consumed. Ireland’s tax, introduced in 2002, reduced consumption by about 90 percent. That’s remarkable. Still, we are not for such a tax, thinking consumers if presented with the facts can make intelligent choices on their own, without government intervention.
We’re not for overzealous environmental regulations, either. But we are for contributing to energy conservation and a cleaner environment. We encourage more shoppers to voluntarily opt for attractive, practical reusable bags in order to reduce consumption and do their part for the environment.