A single mom, or someone working two jobs, is more likely to have to do her shopping in a rush on the way home from work than to go out specifically with a tote bag in hand.But for UPROSE, that concern is outweighed by the negative impacts of plastic bags on disadvantaged communities.“The big difference is that paper does biodegrade eventually.
The reasons for paper’s higher carbon footprint are complex, but can mostly be understood as stemming from the fact that paper bags are much thicker than plastic bags.
“Very broadly, carbon footprints are proportional to mass of an object,” says Tyler.
Already in Massachusetts, 32 towns and cities have passed bag bans or fees.
So have at least 88 localities in California, including the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco, plus cities and towns in more than a dozen other states and more than a dozen other countries.
Bag bans cut this litter off at the source: In San Jose, California, a plastic bag ban led to an 89 percent reduction in the number of plastic bags winding up in the city’s storm drains.
Fees have a smaller, but still significant, effect.
If a plastic bag is reused in the home as the garbage bag in a bathroom waste bin, does that reduce its footprint by eliminating the need for another small plastic garbage bag?
If your chief concern is climate change, things get even muddier.
That’s leading to a split in the anti-bag movement.
Some bills, like in Massachusetts, try to reduce the use of paper bags as well as plastic, but still favor paper.