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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: AZ bans banning plastic bags

Let’s hope the current generation of young adults in Arizona enjoys the idea of a future littered with plastic waste, because that’s what it’s looking to be.

Gov. Doug Ducey just signed Senate Bill 1241, which prohibits towns from passing local ordinances banning plastic bags.

According to Californians Against Waste, 18 states have bans and fees set in place against plastic, with California taking the lead. California has been attempting to ban plastic bags on a state level, and after two long years, the bill was signed on March 7.

Now the question remains, why isn’t every other state jumping on the train? Why is Arizona moving backward on the issue? The easy answer: money.

The American Progressive Bag Alliance has spent millions arguing that Americans should “Bag the Ban” and keep plastic around.

It’s no secret though that plastic is harmful to the environment, and legislators have even worked to amend bills to allow for smoother transitions when it comes to banning plastic, but nothing can appease a hungry hippo.

Plastics make up 13 percent of all waste in this country — a huge jump from the 1960s when plastics were less than 1 percent of trash, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority reports that plastic bags emit three times more greenhouse gases than reusable green bags and require 4.5 times more energy to create than their counterparts.

Go into any grocery or pharmacy store, and you’ll likely find reusable bags for sale. Whole Foods Market, for example, supplies shoppers with colorfully designed reusable bags, prompting shoppers to save money and energy.

The only reason people aren’t stuffing their cars with reusable bags is convenience.

It’s more convenient to have groceries packed into bags that are already free. It’s more convenient to throw away plastic bags instead of saving. It’s more convenient to not have to remember to bring green bags with you every time you shop.

But just because the grocery store gives you plastic bags for free doesn’t mean plastic is free.

In Phoenix alone, plastic bags cost the city $1 million in recycling equipment repairs every year, according to The Arizona Republic. The Los Angeles Department of Public Works calculated that litter clean-up for plastic bags costs counties and taxpayers $20 million each year.

It shouldn’t take harsh taxes to convince us to stop letting baby turtles suffocate to death; we should care, in today’s world. Alas, it appears too hard for many to try.

We should care not only about what happens to our planet but also what we can do to help it. We all live here together, all 7 billion of us, and we need to begin acting that way.

If Arizona State Rep. Warren Peterson says the right to use plastic is an individual choice and claims that bans are a violation of people’s rights, then I uphold my individual right not to offer him a plastic bag at check out.


Ashleigh Horowitz is a creative writing freshman. Follow her on Twitter.

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