According to Wikipedia, there has been a global trend of banning plastic bags. But does it really help protect the environment?

In the past, I always re-used plastic bags as rubbish bags so I seldom had to buy rubbish bags. Nowadays, I have to buy rubbish bags in the supermarket each month. Is there really any difference? Perhaps others didn't re-use as much as I did?

1 Answer 1


I think the big factor is the trillions of them that were being thrown away into landfills and also winding up in oceans, rivers, and other waterways.

I estimate there were 4 primary reasons for this:

  1. People obtained more plastic bags than they could use as rubbish bags
  2. Plastic bags used at stores often were not water-tight, making them less than ideal for certain types of rubbish
  3. Many people didn't want to use thin bags for rubbish (although they could be doubled-up with a little effort)
  4. People didn't want to give up their large trash receptacles and use receptacles that would fit the plastic bags offered in stores

There is a helpful saying, "Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle". By reusing them, you managed to do more than most people. Unfortunately, if they were made of non-biodegradable plastic, they still wound up in a landfill (or accidentally in a waterway) for thousands of years. They do make biodegradable bags, but they cost stores (and thus consumers) a bit more.

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