NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

July 16, 2013

Breaking the plastic bag habit

The Newburyport Redevelopment Authority must be relieved. Suddenly, it seems everyone has stopped talking about the NRA’s controversial waterfront plans, and instead the talk has turned to something that’s really blowing in the wind.

Plastic bags.

A local group called Citizens for Sustainable Bagging is proposing that Newburyport either ban plastic bags or require people pay a fee for them. At this point it’s just a proposal without any local government support, but it has quickly become the talk of the town.

It has its supporters and its detractors, both of which can point to various statistics and examples to make valid points.

We’re not in favor of punishing consumers or local businesses by banning plastic bags and forcing them to find alternatives. Some of the “green” alternatives are actually worse than plastic bags. We’d prefer to see people take their own initiative, with a little help and encouragement, to wean themselves off plastic bags.

There’s no doubt about it — plastic bags are very convenient, lightweight and handy. But they are also incredibly wasteful, requiring massive amounts of energy to produce. It’s estimated a half trillion plastic bags are produced worldwide, each year. As we continue on our habit of consuming oil and natural resources at a rapid pace, it makes sense to get smart about reducing waste.

There are plenty of statistics on plastic bags out there. Here’s some that we found interesting:

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported it takes about the same amount of energy to produce 13 plastic bags as it does to move a car 1 mile.

The same bureau reports paper bags are far worse than plastic bags, in terms of the amount of energy and natural resources required to make them. The carbon footprint of paper bags is 70 percent greater than plastic bags. Paper bags are a bad alternative to plastic.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

NDN Video
Weatherman draws forecast when another technical glitch strikes WGN Kate Upton Loves Her Body, Every Part Of It Elizabeth Olsen's Sexy Shoot Bay Area Teen Gets Prom Date With Help From 'Breaking Bad' Star Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 1 WATCH: Women Fight To Marry Prince Harry! Jenny McCarthy Engaged to "New Kid" Kate and Will Land in Oz O’Reilly Launches Preemptive Strike Against CBS Pixar Unveils Easter Eggs From its Biggest Movies Baby Sloths Squeak for Their Cuddle Partners in Adorable Video Miley Cyrus Hospitalized After Severe Reaction To Medicine Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Toddler climbs into vending machine 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Much-Anticipated 'Gone Girl' Trailer Finally Debuts! (VIDEO) Dog and Toddler Wear Matching Outfits in Adorable Photo Series VP Biden: "World witnesses ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things" It's Official! Michael Strahan Joins "GMA"
Special Features
NRA Waterfront Plans