Most of the time when you go shopping in the USA, the person behind the counter automatically puts your purchased items in a plastic bag. That’s a bad default. Instead, they should provide a bag only if you ask. I’d go so far as to say they should charge you for that bag. Then many would begin bringing their own bags.
In 2007, San Francisco was the first American city to ban the use of plastic bags. 775,000 gallons of oil were used to make the plastic bags San Francisco used the year before. (Info from SFGate.com.) Think of what a positive impact their legislation has had!
In many parts of Europe, that has been law for an even longer time. And in some European stores, you cannot get anything to put your shopping in. (That can catch an outsider by surprise.)
The only good thing to be said for plastic bags is that they keep plastic bag manufacturers in business. And provide jobs. However, that’s the same logic as saying it’s good to keep making high-alcohol sugary pop drinks that appeal to teenagers — because those companies employ many people.
Occasionally I do get a bag, when I forget to bring one with me. I’m not trying to be legalistic — but I am hoping that if you buy and use reusable bags, you will enjoy the positive impact you’ll be making.
I give my brother credit for the idea for this post. Thanks Bill!