Banning plastic bags has unintended consequences

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Banning plastic bags has consequences

To the Editor:

A column by Stephanie Haines (“Legislature’s choices boggle the mind,” March 17, A6) recently appeared in this publication questioning a legislative proposal I authored in the General Assembly that prohibits local communities from enacting bans on single-use plastic bags.

Some inaccurate conclusions and assumptions by the column’s author were made, leading readers of the Greenfield Daily Reporter to question my motives behind the bill.

As a Republican, I stand for free-market principles and less regulation. If consumers choose not to use plastic bags, the market will reflect those changes in buyer behavior — it’s basic supply and demand.

I agree we need consumer education on the importance of recycling, but we don’t need job-killing government red tape. While Haines would have some mistakenly believe that my bill is a result of a relationship with a company headquartered in Evansville that makes plastic goods, this is simply not true. This company does not operate in the district I represent in the state legislature, nor do I reside in Evansville.

What I can conclude is plastic bag bans across the country have proven to have unintended consequences, including negative environmental impacts.

While bans cut down on the number of these bags, Haines failed to mention that post-ban assessments in cities like Austin, Texas, showed consumers started treating reusable bags like single-use bags.

Unfortunately, thicker reusable bags have a larger carbon footprint, and in Austin, people are throwing away these bags at an unprecedented rate. Reusable bags often cost a few dollars, which could also be cost-prohibitive for some low–income Hoosiers.

The ban could also cost businesses more, and who do you think those costs will trickle down to? Consumers.

Ms. Haines, this is Indiana. Not California. Let’s promote recycling and reuse, and not bans, fees or taxes packed full of unintended consequences.

Rep. Ron Bacon