Views are divided when it comes to banning single-use plastic bags. A study conducted by the International Reference Centre for the Life Cycle of Products, Processes and Services (CIRAIG) allows taking stock on this situation.
Is Plastic Bags Banning an Effective Solution?
This study demonstrates that reusable bags are not the only solution, and would only be advantageous if they are sufficiently used. The CIRAIG has also shown that thin plastic bags are more efficient than other types of disposable bags. Reusable bags must be used many times in order to be considered environmentally friendly: a reusable cotton bag must be used from 100 to 3657, and a polypropylene bag, depending on the type used, between 16 and 100 times to bring their impact lower than conventional plastic bag. Seeing these numbers, we can question if the frequency of use of reusable bags is respected by everyone; if not, are they really environmentally friendly?
Why not banning single-use bags?
According to the same study, these bags are reused in 78% of cases. This statistic demonstrates a high reuse rate and raises another vision: it is difficult to conclude that their ban is advantageous.
We can still sleep at night even if we occasionally forget our reusable bag. Single-use plastic bag will cost you a few cents, but you can easily reuse it and give it a second life. Try using it as a trash bag, a lunch bag, or a carrying bag for clothes or other items!
It is important to realize that only 4% of these conventional bags is placed in the garbage and found in the environment! The remaining 96% is reused, recovered, recycled and even reinvented.
A detail making an important difference
This study tells us that the ideal solution is continuous usage of reusable bags during many years. Of course, we aim for this type of practice, but as humans we sometimes forget. The most important is to become aware of our disposable plastic bags consumption and find them a second utility.
As it is for the expanded plastics industry, the use of the material is sometimes essential, but necessary actions must be taken to maximize and optimize it in order to use minimal resources. We must also make sure to recycle and reuse everything as much as it is possible!