Every day we we are inundated through the media, through some friends, and by environmental activists raging on about plastics. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone grocery shopping and when asked, “Need bags?” and upon nodding and replying “Yes,” being glared at by the silly fool behind me with her ten cotton reusable bags as if she was somehow morally superior to me and I was a horrible person.
However, those that don’t bother thinking and researching are the ones who truly are fools. They yammer on about banning plastic, claim some ideas about “saving the earth,” and preach down to the rest of us while begging their governments at all levels – municipal, state/provincial, and federal to ban plastics. Or at least the ones that are “single-use” to start. I won’t even get into how much of the “dark ages” we’d be in if all “single-use” medical plastics were banned. Ask your doctor to find out yourself. Here, I want to discuss plastic carryout bags.
I love plastic bags. I reuse my plastic grocery bags. I bet you used to, as well.
Regulations Often Cause Unintended Consequences
I’ve written about this and have had discussions many times with friends, associates, and anyone who wants to listen (most don’t, especially if they are of the “progressive” political persuasion), about the fact that far too often, regulations have other unintended consequences that were not thought out. There are so many areas we can talk about this; I’ll keep it for another post another day, but the fact is, regulations, whether supported and instituted by those on any political spectrum, often have far reaching unintended consequences that create additional problems.
Regulating plastic carryout bags also have unintended consequences, borne out by several scientific studies. You might be surprised and you’ll likely not read about these findings in your favourite media outlet. It has been my experience that many of today’s “journalists” really are not much into true journalism and investigation but seem to be more about promoting a particular world view – one which often falsely presents itself as “saving the world.”
Cotton Bag Users Are The Scum Of The Earth
If “saving the world” through your environmental “footprint” is truly important to you, then you will stop using cotton reusable bags. Actually, this is very clear. There is not much dispute about this – reusable cotton bags are likely to cause an even larger environmental footprint than plastic grocery bags. Much larger in fact.
How much larger? Well, a study done by the UK Environmental Agency discovered that compared to plastic bags, reusable cotton bags had a worse environmental impact unless that single cotton bag was used 131 times. Use that single cotton reusable bag less than 131 times, and you’re an uncaring person that is damaging the earth.
Compared to me, it gets even worse. You’re a horrible horrible person if you do not use that one single cotton bag at least 327 times! Why? Because I reuse my plastic grocery bags, and it would take you (yeah.. you with your smarmy preaching) to use your cotton bag 327 times to have less of an environmental impact than me using my plastic grocery bag twice.
Don’t believe me? Go read the paper for yourself. Similar findings have been found in studies conducted by the Danes as well as Australian research teams.
So, while you may have been taught to have some kind of negative emotional response to grocery store plastic bags, the fact is, it’s your emotional response that has been created within you because of a lack of research and knowledge; merely listening to others of the same political persuasions who are trying to influence your lifestyle more than it is about “saving the earth.”
Based on the judgements of the so-called progressives who smear those who don’t agree with them with stupid names, stupid and false accusations about “caring,” and with this information, I can truly call re-usable cotton bag users the scum of the earth.
Plastic Bag Bans Simply Mean People Buy More Plastic Bags – And Other “Green” Wasted Spending
If the above is not enough, please consider another new study which has been released in a peer-reviewed environmental science journal that looked at other unintended consequences of plastic “carryout” bag bans. Published in Journal of Environmental Economics and Management in January of 2019, the paper looked at the habits of those who faced plastic grocery bag bans. What the researcher found should not surprise you, and those of you who know me and who have discussed this with me, I predicted this years ago:
“Using quasi-random policy variation in California, I find the elimination of 40 million pounds of plastic carryout bags is offset by a 12 million pound increase in trash bag purchases—with small, medium, and tall trash bag sales increasing by 120%, 64%, and 6%, respectively. The results further reveal 12–22% of plastic carryout bags were reused as trash bags pre-regulation and show bag bans shift consumers towards fewer but heavier bags. With a substantial proportion of carryout bags already reused in a way that avoided the manufacture and purchase of another plastic bag, policy evaluations that ignore leakage effects overstate the regulation’s welfare gains.
These results provide an estimate of the share of consumers already behaving in a manner that reduces waste and carbon emissions. This is akin to the economic debate over how many recipients of environmental subsidies are “non-additional”—i.e., getting paid to do what they would have done anyway (Joskow and Marron, 1992; Chandra et al., 2010; Gallagher and Muehlegger, 2011; Boomhower and Davis, 2014; Ito, 2015).7 For instance, Boomhower and Davis (2014) find that half of all study participants that received an energy-efficiency subsidy would have replaced their appliances with no subsidy. The concern is that a subsidy will not be cost-effective if a large enough fraction of consumers is non-additional. In the case of DCB policies, instead of rewarding too many consumers for the green behavior they would have done anyway, DCB policies restrict the choice set of green behaviors available, preventing green behaviors that would have been done anyway.”
Look, in other venues, I’ve written about and predicted this very thing and have brought it up on conversations. But most people for some reason, simply disregard it. Their emotional attachment to “saving the earth” is just so strong, they cannot see reason and logic that shows that their very actions might actually be contributing to a much larger environmental footprint along with government waste in the form of subsidies, added expense of needless regulations, etc.
And to be honest, I’m really getting tired of the preachy, smarmy, virtue-signalling folk that haven’t done even half the research I have done, telling me what I should be doing, or how governments should regulate my behaviour.
Reusable Grocery Bags Are A Health Hazard – Unless You Add Plastic!
One of the reasons I love plastic is because of just how hygienic it is. Plastic offers an amazing barrier against germs spreading, moisture leakage, and it’s tough while being very lightweight.
A couple of years ago, I happened to be watching a Toronto based morning television show who decided to have guests from the local health department about what they should be careful of when using re-usable grocery bags.
You can imagine my laughter when I watched as the health officials demonstrated how some foods that have high risk of bacterial contamination, MUST be wrapped in separate plastic before being placed into the re-usable bag! This is because most re-usable bags simply cannot easily be prevented from being contaminated by food borne bacteria.
Imagine that, eh? If you want to use re-usable bags, you must also use supplementary plastic to wrap some of your foods! If you are health conscious and don’t want to risk bacterial infections and contamination in some of your foods.
How freaking ridiculous is that – to claim you are wanting to ban plastic grocery bags, but it’s a health risk to not use supplemental plastic bags if you use reusables? How insane can people be?
Next time you meet me in the grocery store with your half dozen cotton bags, each of which must be used at least 327 times each, don’t be surprised if I glare at you for contributing to the ruin of my earth. And contributing to hazardous health problems, (which I must help pay for) through bacterial contamination of your so-called “environmentally-friendly” (but in fact, environment destroying) bags.
Because honestly – have a look at all your reusable bags. Have you used them all, at least 327 times each?
I’m off to put a plastic grocery bag in the washroom for the waste that accumulates in there. What’s in your bathroom waste bin as a liner?
While you answer that question, no, I don’t think you are the scum of the earth if you use so-called re-usable bags. But perhaps you should tone down your own rhetoric, preachiness, virtue-signalling ways because, to be honest, its tiresome, aggravating, and insulting especially when you don’t even know what you are talking about.