I am a postgraduate student, College of Animal Science and Technology

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Should the plastic bags be banned?

Some people have put forword that the use of plastic bags heavily pollutes the environment due to it’s difficulty to degrade.And deleterious plastic bags will bring irreversible damage to the environment.So many people suggest it should be banned.

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    Sep 22 2013: the *use* of plastic bags certainly does not pollute anything. for example i have plastic bags in my freezer, with all sorts of vegetables, ginger, fish and things like that in them. the environment is hot harmed. throwing plastic bags into the trashcan also does not pollute the environment, at worst it pollutes my trashcan, but it is hardly a problem. putting plastic bags in a landfill or throwing in rivers pollutes the environment. so if anything, we must stop that.

    the moral of the story is: act where the harm is, do not try be "smart" about it. ban the harmful activity, and let the free market adapt. if you ban landfills, the free market can react in many ways. it can stop using plastic bags. it can reuse/recycle plastic bags. it can come up with biodegradable bags. which of these, or what mixture of these is the optimal solution is unknown. banning plastic bags is a premature decision that might put us in an economically undesired position.
    • Sep 22 2013: Curious, where does the trash from your trashcan go?
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        Sep 22 2013: you are reading 5 sentences max?
        • Sep 22 2013: starting at the end of line 2 - the environment is hot harmed. throwing plastic bags into the trashcan also does not pollute the environment, at worst it pollutes my trashcan, but it is hardly a problem.

          some places burn the trash to create energy and get rid of the trash - with scrubbers the air is not polluted but there is a carbon dioxide generated. Most places take trash to a land fill.
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        Sep 22 2013: and what is your point? i wasted my time, didn't i?
        • Sep 22 2013: point is putting in the trash can means it eventually will end up in the incinerator or a landfill.
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        Sep 22 2013: yeah, but it is not at all what we are talking about. if you read my post again, this time more careful, you might notice that i myself mentioned landfills. so informing me about landfills seems to be ,,, out of the department of redundancy department.
        • Sep 22 2013: but you said putting it in your trash can is not polluting - eventually it gets to the landfill and I agree will cause a problem in the future in the landfill - so saying putting plastic bags in a trash can is not polluting seems to be a failure of following the chain of events.
      • Sep 22 2013: wayne uejio 10+

        Mine goes from my house to the dumpster nearby and the Compactor
        Garbage Truck picks it up on Fridays. It is transported to a designed
        Land-fill to be dumped and covered with earth. 99% of our Plastic Trash
        ends up in Land-fills. .. The problem: The 1% ends up at sea as a part
        of a vortex until it slowly degrades and enters the food chain for plankton.

        Other peoples plastic garbage may be transported to, or wash into the sea,
        and be of a higher concentration than 1%.

        However, everything slowly degrades, and there is little evidence of harm
        to any humans in the world caused by these garbage dumping practices.

        Plastic bags are a real problem for Sewage and Water Treatment Plants.
        They tend to clog things up. But good filter systems handle those problems.
        • Sep 22 2013: I agree the plastic in the oceans is a major problem but I feel that plastics in the landfill will eventually cause problems - 50 years ago,we were told to put paper in landfill and it will decompose but we have found the decomposition process takes a lot longer than we thought.
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        Sep 22 2013: you could really use all this time to understand my point. i refuse to explain it any simpler.
        • Sep 22 2013: I have read your original post and still find it illogical check my reply where i cut and pasted your comment about your trash can but thanks for the advice
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    Sep 22 2013: Strategic Taxes Can Cut Plastic Bag Use
    In 2001, for example, Ireland was using 1.2 billion plastic bags annually, about 316 per person. In 2002, the Irish government imposed a plastic bag consumption tax (called a PlasTax), which has reduced consumption by 90 percent. The tax of $.15 per bag is paid by consumers when they check out at the store. Besides cutting back on litter, Ireland’s tax has saved approximately 18 million liters of oil. Several other governments around the world are now considering a similar tax on plastic bags.
    • Sep 22 2013: You're very right and I'm agreeable to you.Obviously my opinion is shallow.We should try not to use plastic bags as possible as we can.In addition,my English is poor.I'm so glad to communicate with you.
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        Sep 22 2013: Pleasure is all mine :) and your English communication is far better as compared to other chineese so don't worry !!!
  • Sep 25 2013: Question remains, can we create a more biodegradable yet durable plastic bag (ie will not tear so easily)?
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    Sep 22 2013: I am not against using plastic bags. Plastic bags are good because they can be recycled easily. I think they are cheap. The matter of the plastic bags lies in the fact that some animals eat them and die. I suggest that countries should raise people's awareness regarding this issue because some people throw plastic bags on streets. We should know how to use things and keep our environment unpolluted.
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    Sep 22 2013: Hi Wenyue.
    My Mother in Law is an old lady with arthritis. She has a coal fire. We put small amounts of coal in used bags for her, she puts the whole bag on one at a time, this allows her to keep her fire going by herself.
    It is not the bags that are the problem, it is careless people. Should we ban cars because people crash them ? We live in a complex world.

    • Sep 22 2013: Peter,
      thank you for the Great Suggestion.

      I will get a Mother in Law.

      My car was parked and hit by a hit-and-run.
      I will Ban my Car.
    • Sep 23 2013: Thanks for your attention.
  • Sep 22 2013: Hey Wenyue Xue, is the use of biodegradable plastic bags a possibility? I think they would cost more and still have problems to the environment. They degrade over time. Microorganisms have the enzymes to break the bonds between the biodegradable plastic polyesters.
    • Sep 23 2013: Now the biodegradable plastic bags have been appeared.It can be degraded .And it don't harm the environment.However,it's wide use will take a long time because it's high cost.
      Thank you !
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    Sep 22 2013: Wenyue, Pleasure is all mine ..!!
    Plastics. They're durable, flexible and long-lasting. They're also everywhere.
    What's not to love about these ubiquitous polymers? They're made from carbon and other materials then heated, broken down and rebuilt as plastic resin that can be molded into almost any shape desired.
    That carbon, though, typically comes from oil, a fossil fuel-product that's not so good for the environment. In addition, many types of plastics aren't biodegradable. And although some plastics can be recycled, most aren't (either because they can't be or because people don't). For example, only around one-quarter of 1 percent of the more than 7 billion pounds (3.2 billion kilograms) of discarded polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is recycled each year in the U.S., and PVC is one of the world's most common plastics .
    Yet plastics are so ingrained in our everyday lives that it's hard to imagine life without them. More eco-friendly alternatives are out there though.
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    Sep 22 2013: I actually think plastic bag is convenient(light and soft). Only if there is a substitute coming out, will I giving up using them. We have already implemented the relevant laws to restrict abusing the plastic bags. I think to BAN the plastic bags use isn't feasible now.
    • Sep 22 2013: Thank you very much.I think so.
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        Sep 23 2013: I think people from all over the world here could provide more great ideas on possible substitutable plans of plastic bag using Thank you.
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    Sep 22 2013: This is an extreme idea to ban a plastic bag. There are many other alternatives or solutions to the "plastic problem". To say it's only plastic bags is extreme as well. Many... many other plastic products are used in such a way. Don't take it all out on plastic bags! What's with the racism? :P
    • Sep 22 2013: Whisky Delta thanks Whisky...

      I had forgotten "racism" !!! WoW

      To Ban a Plastic Bag is truly unfair.
      Bags are Free to begin with.
      Bags are not some kind of 2nd class citizen.
      Bags can be open to a lot of input.
      Bags fillings could be hurt.
      Bags ties are strong.

      Save the Bags !!!
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        Sep 24 2013: Set them free!!! So much beauty in floating plastic bags! Darn, what was that movie? Ah yeah, American Beauty. :B
        You are right, their fillings could be hurt. I'd say we have to thick'n them up so those corners of frozen pizza boxes can't hurt em. We need to join them with Trojan Brand condominiums. "Kill two 'birds' with one bag and never get caught up in the moment, just cut a square out of ...the BAG". Size selection at your finger tips, in the dark. No more embarrassing moments for anyone that does not chose the L or XL. Now that's innovative! RESPECT them. I'm so ready for a ted speech on this. They would move up to becoming platinum in class and citizen. One problem though, recycling would become so much more difficult under group efforts BUT this could also cause a wave in recycling on an individual level!!! I mean, look at all the positives! Yes, keep them free!!! Respect.
        • Sep 24 2013: Dang it Whisky,
          I was just thinking of the same subject, and you beat me to it.
          Our minds run in the same gutters.

          The NSA can be defeated with dumb Plastic Bags.
          The NSA listens to Plastic Bags and monitors them 24/7/365.
          The NSA collects-steals-stores, every crinkle, and whoosh, they hear.
          The NSA's Unarmed Aggression will produce no Intellectual Properties.
          The NSA's Paper Shredders have no effect on Plastic Bags.
          The NSA's Crazed General Keith Alexander's plans for world domination
          and Star Wars, has had no effect on Plastic Bags.

          Plastic Bags are fearless, inside out, or upside down.
          Plastic Bags accept anyone and everything.
          Plastic Bags can be stretched to their limits.

          Putting a hole in a Plastic Bag, just means another opportunity for a tie.
          That old Plastic Bag can carry everything you own.
          Save the Plastic Bags.
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    Sep 22 2013: They use up natural resources--"Every time we use a new plastic bag they go and get more petroleum from the Middle East and bring it over in tankers," said Stephanie Barger, executive director of Earth Resource Foundation in Costa Mesa, California. "We are extracting and destroying the Earth to use a plastic bag for 10 minutes." 2. They harm wildlife and marine life-plastic bags are now in all places in our environment, and animals, on land and water, are getting choked, strangled and killed by them. 3. They create litter-Aside from polluting beaches and waterways, plastic bags blowing around streets in China are so common they've earned the name "white pollution.
    • Sep 22 2013: Thank you very much.As we all know , the plastic bags not only pollute environment but also harm wildlife and marine life.However there is not other packaging products can replace plastic bags for the time being.So there are still many people use it.I think we should consider how to use it reasonably now.
  • Sep 28 2013: It seems that environmental abuse is a zero sum game; whatever the individual manages to conserve, business/government wastes.
  • Sep 24 2013: "And deleterious plastic bags will bring irreversible damage
    to the environment."

    DELETERIOUS : harmful often in a subtle or unexpected way?

    Just how subtle is the "irreversible damage" going to "unexpectedly" be?
    I suppose we can only find out afterwards.

    Scary and subtle, like cancer, or a mountain climber's rope slowly tearing apart,
    or a snake crawling up your pant leg. or a wine bottle cork, putting out
    your eye, after you've shook the bottle too hard.
    Like that?
    Who are these "So many people"?

    I can understand you wanting to save the animals/fish/birds from ingesting
    plastic bags.

    But, why not give that as a good reason?
    It is a good reason.
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    Sep 24 2013: Plastic bags to me are iconic to our throwaway society and should be banned. Especially as there are plenty of alternatives. which, by design, are build way more durable to serve for many years while saving precious resources.
  • Sep 23 2013: i agree.. unfortunately.. little alternative exists that compares with the resiliency of a plastic bag.
    I'd say we need another invention to replace this. Something strong, yet highly recyclable.
  • Sep 23 2013: wayne uejio 10+

    I have to agree with your assessment about the plastic inside land-fills.

    Since 1983 older land-fills have come under political pressures to change.
    But change is slow. Unlike tire dust on roadways that degrades quickly,
    plastic bags take longer.

    Many of the plastic bags will not ever be recycled, but will instead pollute
    our creeks, rivers, and oceans, and the fish and wildlife who live there,
    and those who ingest them do die most horrific deaths.

    Worldwide actions have begun to enlighten consumers of the real damages
    that these (convenient, disposable, and cheap), plastic bags causes.
  • Sep 22 2013: no but recycled. the problem is that we need an innovation to make recycling economically feasible for all plastics. Some plastics like the ones used by stores to put your goods in as you leave is very thin and is easier to cycle, similarly the soft containers for food/drink. The problem comes in with the thicker plastic containers and hard plastic items (i.e. bottle tops) These today are not economically feasible to recycle.
  • Sep 22 2013: Plastic bags have a tendency to clog up recycling sorting machines,
    are often contaminated with food, and demand for recycled plastic is very low.
    As a result, many municipal recycling programs won't even accept the bags.

    Plastic bags usually end up in the garbage after one, maybe two, uses.
    And therein lies their biggest problem:
    Plastic bags don't disintegrate, even in trash or landfills.
    Rather, they clog up waterways, blow away in a light breeze
    (to the nearest tree or chain-link fence), create small puddles perfect
    for mosquito breeding, and engender a host of other vexing problems.

    One example of the dangers of plastic bags can be seen miles offshore
    in the floating "islands" of human debris known as "garbage patches."
    Much of the giant swirling soups of trash known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
    is made up of plastic particles, including shopping bags, which are notorious for
    choking seabirds, turtles, fish and other marine life.

    There are some greener plastic bags made from degradable cornstarch- or
    sugarcane-based composites.
    These vegetable-based bioplastics and lactic acid-based polymers have been
    proposed as alternatives,
    but they are slightly more expensive than polyethylene bags and have yet to catch on
    in numbers that would make their production and distribution cost-effective.
    Our world's Oceans contain proofs that the use of plastic bags heavily pollutes the environment.
    ..And deleterious plastic bags will bring irreversible damage to the environment.

    Owing to surface currents, the Sargasso accumulates a high concentration of plastic bags,
    and non-biodegradable plastic waste. ..The huge North Atlantic Garbage Patch in the area
    is similar to another ocean phenomenon, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, about the size
    of the US State of Texas.

    Both problems are growing, But thank god the NSA is not the fault. WoW...

    Ban the Plastic Bags.
    Ban the Bomb
    Ban the Cruise Missiles
    Ban the Chemical Weapons
    Ban the NSA
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    Sep 22 2013: Hi wenyue xue,

    No - they should not be banned - they should be refined into better things.

    Who will do that?

    Have you some ideas?
    • Sep 22 2013: It's my pleasure!
      Be better things?Do you mean another things?I think we should recycle it and the key is reuse.We didn’t do enough to recycle plastic bags because of it’s low profit. So the government should has a hand in recycling of plastic products.If permitted,we are supposed to use fewer plastic bags.
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        Sep 22 2013: But there are so many plastic bags for free!

        I make small-flutes .. I have been thinking - maybe I can roll lots of plastic bags and make flutes from them!

        I could sell to environment people .. but not to wood people .. wood is very good.
        It is getting hard to find. I gotta get wood people to think that plastic kills wood.
        It makes no difference to the sound - and then I can get money to harvest bags.

        All things like that ;) You can do it too.

        Think .. ahh .. car-panels. metal is heavy and expensive .. car panels made of laminated plastic bags - cheap! and much lighter - better power/wight ratio = better economy, less oil and petrol! Less carbon footprint - less smog in Beijng!
        Fashion - follow for profit!
        And no one has to stop using bags.
        Till the oil runs-out .. then it will be something else.
        same = easy.
        Life is not hard - unless you choose hard.
        But it had better be worth doing hard .. few need to do that.
        If you have to do it, it's not so bad - you get tons of good stuff for friends..
        ;) don't get caught :)

        One invisible good-guy is worth 100 heroes!
        • Sep 22 2013: Thank you!
          I understand you.Your idea is unique.
        • Sep 22 2013: Mitch SMith,
          You've solved the puzzle with your statement...
          >>> "But there are so many plastic bags for free!"

          Let the Local Governments pay collectors $.01 (1 cent)
          for each collected bag, or other plastic product, and recycle.
          Nothing missed.
          Like letting the poor "Glean" a field for grain.

          Everyone wins, the taxed-payer foots the bill.
          As it should be.
          Once again Mitch, you've done it... WoW
          What a brilliant idea.
          If I could be so bold, as to suggest a vision?
          Fishing boats, with men crowded to the rails,
          long poles with hooks, hauling in plastic bags
          from the Saragossa Sea of garbage.

          The NSA carefully monitoring the radio frequencies.
  • Sep 22 2013: Do the numbers This is less obvious then it initially seems/
    • Sep 22 2013: I'm sorry. I really don't understand what you say.
      • Sep 23 2013: Okay I may not have been clear , but what will they be used to do - even secondary uses and will alternatives be used. Is a paper bag an improvement over a plastic one?