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Debate: Should plastic shopping bags be banned?

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Should plastic shopping bags be banned?

Background and context

The Australian federal government is considering banning plastic bags in Australia for environmental reasons. In some other countries, there are proposals to charge for the use of plastic bags. Some think this is a great step to ensure we look after the environment but of course, many people think it would be a nuissance because there are so many practical uses for plastic bags.

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Is there a practical replacement for plastic bags?

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Yes

  • There is an easy, practical replacement for plastic bags. The main use of plastic bags is to carry shopping in. Getting rid of plastic bags would just mean that we would need to find a replacement for them. That is easy - we just need to use reusable cloth bags or paper bags and that is the problem solved. Plastic bags do have a practical replacement.More than that Jute bags have emerged a successful replacement of plastic Jute bags.The Govt. of Himachal Pradesh (a hill state of India which is also a tourist hot spot) has banned plastic completely for over 3 years now. The transition has proved successful and now shopping bags are more reusable, sturdy and beneficial.
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No

  • Plastic bags have so many practical uses. There are too many uses of plastic bags to be able to get rid of them. Plastic bags are used as bin liners - you cannot replace bin liners with another type of bag - it is not efficient and even worse for the environment. Banning plastic bags would just see paper bags clogging up our waterways. Plastic bags are handy to have and are an important part of our lives.
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Charging: Should we, instead of banning plastic bags, charge customers money for them?

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Yes

  • Charging for plastic bags would deter people from using them in large amounts. If each plastic bag cost - say, 10 cents, then people would not use them in large amounts because they are paying. If someone shopping twice a week, using six plastic bags each shop, and the bags cost 10c each, they would realize that that would cost over $60 a year so they would either not use as many, OR this may be an incentive to reuse plastic bags.
If everyone started reusing their plastic bags when shopping, then this is better than banning them altogether and plastic bags wouldn't need to be made in such large numbers.
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No

  • That wouldn't do anything to help the environment. It would be a fair intention of the Government to start charging a small fee but the amount is so small, it's not really fair to charge that fee anyway, but people will just buy the bags if they have to. It will not deter most people and most people will just pay the money.
It will not do anything for the environment at all, it is just adding to shopping bills.
  • It is not fair for supermarket chains to profit from something they get for free. Nearly all supermarkets get provided plastic shopping bags for free. It is really not fair for supermarket chains to profit up to 50c a bag when they are used in very large numbers and they get the bags for free.
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Environment: Would banning plastic bags be good for the environment?

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Yes

  • Banning plastic bags would be good for the environment. Plastic shopping bags take thousands of years to break down and thus they are harmful for the environment and deadly for the sea life. Every year, billions of plastic bags are used and thrown away. Plastic bags are NOT made from a renewable source and we are wasting tons of resources every year with plastic bags. A lot of plastic is used to make the billions of plastic every year and usually isn't recycled. Using plastic bags as bin liners is not really recycling because you throw them away once they are filled with rubbish. Every year Australia alone uses over 6 billion plastic bags and over 80 million end up clogging up the streets, drains and parks. [1]
Cloth bags are an alternative to plastic bags and can be re-used many times.


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No

  • We still need something to put our shopping in. Banning plastic bags would save plastic, but add to the environmentally harmful production of paper and cloth. We do still need something to put shopping or rubbish in and if we stop using plastic for the bags, we'll start using another resource which will be bad for the environment such as paper or cloth. We do need plastic.


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