Did you know that the world produces more than 380 million tons of plastic every year? Everyone knows that it is important to reduce that number and one of the ways to do so is through a plastic bag ban. Although there is still a lot of progress to be made, several states have banned the use of single-use plastic and more states will soon follow.

This guide breaks down the states that have passed a plastic bag ban and provides more information on single-use plastic. 

Ready to learn more? Let’s get started. 

States Targeting Plastic

Rather than trying to convince state bureaucracies, environmental groups found it easier to convince local cities to enact plastic bans. By 2014, 151 California counties and cities had banned plastic. With enough momentum, California followed its lead and became the first state to ban single-use plastic bags at large retail stores. 

The law also required a 10-cent minimum charge for recyclable paper bags and compostable bags at certain locations. In 2018, California passed a plastic straw ban and in 2019, legislators outlawed plastic hotel toiletry bottles. 

With California taking the lead, Hawaii soon followed. Honolulu became the last major county to approve the plastic bag ban in 2015.

In 2019, New York became the third state to continue banning single-use plastic. This law applies to most single-use plastic bags that are provided by grocery stores and other retailers. You may notice that certain bags, like the ones at the deli counter and bulk food area, are exempt. 

2019 seemed to be a big year for banning plastic bags. After New York, five other states have enacted legislation to ban plastic bags. This includes Maine, Oregon, Connecticut, Delaware, and Vermont. 

New Jersey is another state that will be added to that list in the near future. They will be banning film plastic bags, regardless of thickness. Plastic straws will only be available upon request.

Are the Bans Working?

Bags are not the only type of plastic that impacts the environment negatively. It is an uphill climb to create the right balance and fight against pollution. Banning plastic bags may not be the solution to ending all of the environmental issues we’re facing, but it’s a great start. 

If we take a look at California, for example, we can see that the bag ban has led to a moderate increase in paper bag usage. There has also been a push for some customers to buy thicker plastic bags that replace the secondary use of single-use bags as trashcan liners. 

The California bag ban reduced plastic consumption by 71.5% which is a significant decrease. One of the most important changes that came from the bag ban in California was that it removed plastic bags completely from the recycling system. Although you can find some studies that criticize the bag ban, there’s also plenty of evidence that shows how successful they are in reducing single-use plastic bags.  

Many people wonder why a ban is preferred over recycling plastic bags. Unfortunately, the process of recycling is far from perfect. Only one percent of plastic bags that go through the process end up being properly recycled.

Fighting Plastic Pollution

Outside of plastic bag bans, there are several ways to help fight plastic pollution. Nobody is perfect, so it may take some time to get accustomed to a greener lifestyle, but you’ll be happy with the difference it makes. From switching to more sustainable products to avoiding water bottles, there are plenty of environmentally friendly actions you can take.

Avoid Disposable Plastics

One of the most obvious ways to help fight plastic pollution is by avoiding disposable plastics. Almost every single plastic item used in your day-to-day life is used once, then tossed. This includes disposable cutlery, straws, coffee-cup lids, plastic wrap, etc. 

Think of how often you rely on these products and replace them with eco-friendly alternatives. Once you get used to carrying your new products around, you’ll be reducing your plastic use significantly, which may not seem like a major difference, but it is. 

Homemade Meals for the Win

When was the last time that you ordered food delivery or take-out? If it was recent, you’ll likely remember how much plastic was involved. Although some restaurants offer sustainable ways to package your food, it’s better to avoid it whenever possible by making food at home.

If you do need to order in or eat out, let the establishment know that you don’t need any plastic cutlery. You can also bring your own packaging for leftovers.

No More Microbeads

Most people don’t think twice about microbeads, but these tiny plastic particles have become a problem over the years. You can find these microbeads in face scrubs, body washes, and even toothpaste! 

The use of these products makes it easy for them to enter the ocean and negatively impact marine life. As you shop, look for labels mentioning polyethylene, polypropylene, polylactic acid (PLA), polystyrene, or polyethylene terephthalate. These are other names that microbeads go by.

Making a Difference

For an individual who cares about the environment, it can feel overwhelming to feel like you’re doing enough. That’s why it is such a relief when states stand up for what’s right and pass laws that help fight pollution. Several states have a plastic bag ban and it’s made a difference in reducing overall plastic pollution.

It may seem like a small step, but once other states join, there will be a snowball effect of positive change.

It’s time to make the switch to sustainable products. The bags at Dirtbags Bioplastic are compostable, reusable, and resistant. Be sure to check out all of our products today!

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