Across the nation and around the world, people are calling for and implementing bans on single-use plastic bags. The driving force behind these bans is an emotional response to a pollution problem created by the improper disposal of plastic bags—a real problem indeed, but is banning the use of plastic bags the correct response?
More than 80 communities in the United States have a ban on plastic bags. Not only does this figure include five of the 29 largest cities in America—San Francisco and San Jose, Calif.; Austin, Texas; Seattle, Wash.; and Portland, Ore.—but it also includes an additional 39 cities and seven counties in California, or roughly 16 percent of the state’s population. To date, Nebraska does not have any communities with pending legislation that would require a ban on or fee for the use of plastic bags.