The many benefits of free plastic bags (and why Albuquerque shouldn’t ban them)

There are so many bad policy ideas that I sometimes wish I had a big plastic bag in which I could collect them and throw them in the trash. Of course one of the worst ideas is the proposed City of Albuquerque’s proposed ban on plastic bags and straws.

We don’t have a date for the final vote yet, but it could be as soon as Monday’s meeting. As is always the case with government policy overreach, there are always unintended consequences. They want us to pick up our dog poop and in some places (like City-owned dog parks) even give out free plastic bags for that purpose, but with what are we to pick up the poop if not plastic bags?

Image result for plastic bags dog poop Albuquerque

Of course, around the Gessing house we use those free plastic bags as trash can liners. We’ll either have to shop in Rio Rancho or figure out another way to line trash cans.

And, despite the claims of some, the President of the Rio Grande Foundation is actually an environmentalist who goes around picking up aluminum cans on his daily walks with the dogs. Free plastic bags are a handy and convenient tool for picking up those cans littered around the neighborhood, but without plastic bags they won’t be picked up anymore.

Of course, the plastic bags can also be recycled at your local grocery store. And, lest you think a plastic bag ban in Albuquerque or anywhere in the US will have any impact on plastic pollution in our oceans, 90% of the plastic polluting the world’s oceans comes from 10 rivers, none of which are in North America.

Reducing the amount of plastic in the oceans (and in general) is a worthy goal, but banning plastics in Albuquerque is going to make life unnecessarily difficult, worse, and won’t have many of the positive impacts proponents are supposedly hoping for.,,,,,,,

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5 Replies to “The many benefits of free plastic bags (and why Albuquerque shouldn’t ban them)”

  1. Paul – I agree with you. We walk every day, and without fail we manage to fill two plastic bags with trash. Another case of lack of personal responsibility to properly handle plastic bags equals a new regulation/law. Thanks, and keep up the good work.

  2. This is easily one of the stupidest pieces I’ve read. “Without plastic bags there won’t be anything to put trash in” there are many different types of containers. People are just lazy.

    1. Hmm, that is not what I wrote in the piece. There are many secondary uses for “single use” plastic bags. In fact, picking up dog poop is one of the best uses I can think of.

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