Pragmatism v. Idealism

No Plastic BagsThe other day, I was asked to sign a petition to ban plastic bags. And while I support the use of reusable bags, it made me think. I certainly don’t like plastic bags building up in the ocean, drifting through the streets, lining the fence around the landfill, nor getting stuck in my tree for almost two years. But what is the alternative?

A ban on plastic bags seems reasonable: no plastic bags, no plastic bag garbage. But what if I don’t have a reusable bag with me? Can I hope for a paper bag to be available? And what does that environmental impact look like?

Or maybe I can buy a reusable bag for $1, $2, $3? But then I have an excess of reusable bags. And what do I do with them? Obviously, I have few excuses for not having a bag with me, but sometimes I’ll forget, or not expect to need one.

And then what do I do when I want a plastic bag? My shredded paper is supposed to go into the recycle bin in a plastic bag. I like to wrap shoes in plastic bags before packing them in a suitcase. I like to use a plastic bag for my lunch, so I don’t worry about it leaking in my shoulder bag.

I fully support reducing the number of plastic bags that are used, and educating people about using reusable bags. As long as they’re recyclable, and recycled, I don’t see the need for banning plastic bags.