Bag Bans: Myths and Facts (summarizing some key findings in the studies below)

The Hidden Costs of Plastic Shopping Bags (further summary)

Five Arguments in Favor of Bag Fees

Environmental and Economic Impact Analyses
Economic Impact Analysis: Proposed Ban on Plastic Carryout Bags in Los Angeles County (AECOM, 2010)

Master Environmental Assessment on Single-Use and Reusable Bags (Green Cities California, 2010)

Retail Bag Report for Florida (Florida DEP, 2010)

Life cycle assessment of supermarket carrier bags (UK Environment Agency, 2011)

                        Compares environmental impact of disposable and reusable bags

Environmental Impact Report: Ordinances to Ban Plastic Carryout Bags in Los Angeles County (Sapphos, 2011)

Checkout Bag Charge Economic Analysis (San Francisco Office of Economic Analysis, 2011)

Triple Bottom Line Evaluation: Plastic Bag Policy Options for Fort Collins, FL (Brendle Group, 2012)

Plastic Bag Bans: Analysis of Economic and Environmental Impacts for San Diego (Equinox Center, 2013)

Final Environmental Impact Report: City of Los Angeles (Parsons Brinckerhoff, 2013)

Follow-up Studies After Implementation

NEW!  Maes et al: Bag Laws Reduce Ocean Litter (April 2018)

One-Month Implementation Study: Chicago (Ideas42, 2017)

One-Month Implementation Study: District of Columbia (OpinionWorks, 2011)

120-Day Implementation Report: Cambridge, MA (Cambridge DPW, August 2016)

One-Year Implementation Study: Los Angeles County (Los Angeles, 2012)
Two-Year Implementation Study: District of Columbia (OpinionWorks, 2013)

Two-Year Implementation Report: Austin (Austin Resource Recovery, 2015)

Seven-Year Implementation Report: Rwanda (The Guardian, 2014)

Ten-Year Implementation Study: Ireland (Pre-Waste, 2011)

Comprehensive studies conducted both before and after passage demonstrate that laws to reduce bag waste have tremendous positive environmental impacts and no negative economic impacts. There is generally a short period of transition where retailer costs go up as they switch from plastic to paper, but these level out quickly once consumers become accustomed to using reusable bags. A minimum charge for bags that meet mandated requirements significantly defrays additional costs to retailers without alienating consumers.

The Impact of Plastic Bag Laws



Note: The Los Angeles EIR includes discussion of air quality, water quality, and greenhouse gas emissions.  Pages 109 to 111 show the reduction of solid waste projections if a plastic bag ban plus fee for paper were implemented. Pages 113 to 124 compare alternative plan projections. The public comments section includes not only valuable supporting statements, plus a very lengthy brief in opposition from the “Save the Plastic Bag Coalition” (pages 324 to 456). Responses to this Coalition's key arguments are printed on pages 296 to 322).