Progressive Cantabrigians will now bring their own bags

Cambridge city councilors recently passed an initiative that will ban the use of non-reusable plastic bags, and charge customers 10 cents for paper bags starting March 30, 2016.

The Boston Globe recently reported that businesses could face $300 fines if they continue to give out plastic bags after this date.

Banning single-use plastic bags is a good idea because it’s good for the environment.

Citizens Campaign for the Environment, a not-for-profit that works toward environmental protection advocacy, listed on their page some of the effects that plastic bags have on the environment.

According to the group, it requires 2.2 billion pounds of fossil fuel and 3.9 billion gallons of fresh water to produce the 100 billion plastic bags the U.S. consumes each year. Manufacturing these bags produces a billion pounds of solid waste and 2.7 million tons of carbon dioxide per year. Plastic bags can also negatively impact wildlife and waterways, cause localized flooding, and cost taxpayers money. Citizens Campaign reports that New York City spends $10 million a year disposing of plastic bags.

With all of this in mind, and with the proper replacements ready for consumers, why not use reusable bags? Who could be against it?

Besides having to pay 10 cents for paper bags if I forget to bring a reusable one at home, the only inconvenience I foresee by the banning of single-use bags is that I’ll have to start buying small bags for the waste basket in my room.

Right now, there is a Facebook page called “Ban Bags in MA.” The page only has about 676 likes, and it should have many more.

After California passed a law prohibiting stores from handing out single-use plastic bags, they faced opposition from people in the plastics industry, according to CNN. Opponents of this legislation gathered enough signatures to “put the ban to a referendum in November 2016, meaning the ban is effectively on hold until then.”

They can stall, but only for so long. As the world becomes more environmentally conscious, more cities, towns, and states will ban plastic bags.

I think the only reason people still use recyclable bags is because they’re convenient. The extra effort it takes to remember to take your reusable bags to the grocery store with you doesn’t actually take that much effort.

It’s also cheaper to use re-usable bags, for now. In my case, they are the perfect size for the wastebasket in my room.

Sometimes I remember my reusable bags, and sometimes I don’t. If a law was passed in Boston banning plastic bags, then I would remember to remember my reusable bag. A law like this would encourage consistency, for me and for others.

There are other single use products that should also be banned, like K-cups. Why not use reusable K-cups instead of disposable ones?

Same with plastic plates and certain kinds of Tupperware. Why not use glass containers instead?

Although there will likely be laws on K-cups and Tupperware any time soon, the ban of plastic bags seems like a feasible, doable task.

I hope to live in a world where using plastic bags are looked down upon for the same reason that wearing socks and sandals is — because it’s nonsensical.