No matter your stance on plastic bag bans, research shows they're working for the environment

Single-use plastic bag bans have prevented the use of billions of plastic bags
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Posted at 5:35 PM, Jan 31, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-31 18:35:38-05

Americans have mixed reactions when it comes to single-use plastic bag bans. Some people don't mind having a ban in place because they can carry more groceries in a reusable tote. But some people hate it because they find having to remember that tote every time they go to the grocery store, inconvenient.

But no matter your stance on plastic bag bans, there's new research showing they are making a difference for the environment.

The nonprofit Environment America looked at plastic bag numbers in five locations with bans; New Jersey, Vermont, Philadelphia, PA, Portland, OR, and Santa Barbra, CA.

Altogether, just these five cities and states have prevented the use of 6 billion single-use plastic bags per year. That's enough bags to wrap around the Earth 42 times.

In all, there are more than 500 cities and 12 states that ban single-use plastic bags.

"It has a huge impact on the environment, you know. Plastic bags are one of the most wasteful, single-use plastic products. They're really rarely reused, they're really difficult to recycle, and the bottom line is that we just need to be reducing the plastics that we truly don't need," said Celeste Meiffren-Swango with Environment America.

Along with this new research, the nonprofit has also created an interactive tool so you can see what a plastic bag ban is doing, or would do, for your city or state.