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Stephen L. Carter

Get Off the Bandwagon of Banning Plastic Bags

These trendy laws ignore a key fact: the alternatives aren’t much better.

Awaiting an uncertain fate.

Awaiting an uncertain fate.

Image source/Getty images

Let me make a terrible confession. In a kitchen cupboard I keep an enormous trove of what the news media keep telling me are single-use plastic bags. The trove exists because the description is, well, rubbish.  A 13-gallon trash bag is for a single use. The little bags I get from the store – or used to get from the store – I nearly always reuse.

Alas, my trove will stop growing. This week, Connecticut joined the cascade of localities that have implemented plastic-bag bans.  The main reason, as far as I can tell, is that the government thinks I’m an uneducable dunce. If the government believed anything else, it would surely consider educating me in the environmental impact of various means of carrying goods home from the store, rather than telling me what I can and cannot do. I find it a continuing mystery that our quite sensible worry about climate change must always lead to fewer choices for ordinary people.