all 88 comments

[–]brock_lee 176 points177 points  (26 children)

Every time this is posted, its like 10 times the number as the last time

Used to be just 131 times

[–]ul2006kevinb 71 points72 points  (18 children)

That link contains another source saying it's only 11 times

[–]nomocactusnames 42 points43 points  (16 children)

The whole study does not take into account any other end to the bags except incineration. It even says that it does not take into account any other end for the bags except incineration. So, the study is correct if 100% of the bags are burned. Judging by the amount of littering, bags in the rivers and harbors, bags waving in the trees, I am betting that the actual figure incinerated in the US is far, far less than 100%. The cost to the environment after the bags escape into the environment is not considered at all.

Edit: Here is the quote: "The effects of littering were considered negligible for Denmark and not considered."

[–]HookDragger 10 points11 points  (3 children)

My daughter has cats... every damn one of those “one-time use bags” is used twice!

[–]UrbanDryad 0 points1 point  (2 children)

29% of Americans own a cat. I cannot say what percentage of them use a litter box system based on disposable grocery bags, but I'm guessing not all. (Back when I owned cats I didn't. I used a sifter system.)

Anyway, point is you can't base universal disposal policy on special circumstances that a majority of users don't share.

[–]HookDragger 0 points1 point  (0 children)

No shit? It’s like you’d think the massive amounts of disposable trash bags aren’t used the same way....

[–]GoodLordigans 3 points4 points  (10 children)

It also assumed that all plastic bags are re-used as bin-liners:

The study shows that a plastic bag made of bio-materials, which is later used as a waste bag and afterwards incinerated,

Again, that seems optimistic.

[–]ul2006kevinb -2 points-1 points  (9 children)

I mean it's a good assumption because a lot of people do that but maybe assume 75% become bin liners, 20% get thrown away, and 5% get released into the environment.

[–]GUMBYtheOG 6 points7 points  (8 children)

Idk where you live buddy, but I guarantee 75% of the bags in America are not reused as bag liners. Wayyyyyy too many bags - one bag can hold the majority of the trash from all the groceries you buy. You expect people to horde a million fucking baggies to use for all the nonexistent trash they have from stuff they buy without bags? No the excess get thrown away which goes into the environment, people don’t just dump 5 of their 100 bags into the lake just for the fuck of it.

I love when people just make statistics up like they just got their PhD in ignorance.

[–]ul2006kevinb 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Yeah, I was trying to work with the optimistic view they had for their own country. They said that 100% of bags are used for bin liners, so I'm assuming that it's far more common there and that more people must use reusable bags there

[–]stansondaughter 0 points1 point  (1 child)

I live in CA. My bag supply is running dangerously low. Never thought it would run out. Back when times were good and bags we plentiful. Every bag given by not grocery stores is cherished

[–]GUMBYtheOG 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Wow - we need to get on board on the east coast

[–]beetrootdip -3 points-2 points  (3 children)

Except that (unless you are a shitstain of a person), you use reusable (not cotton) bags 9 times out of 10. So the plastic bags you get on that one time have to hold 10 shopping trips worth of rubbish, not just that one.

[–]GUMBYtheOG 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Lol 9 times out of 10 - holy shit so many statisticians on today.

[–]defmacro-jam 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I use mine 20000 times out of 9, for a perfect 5/7.

[–]blapplejacks -1 points0 points  (0 children)

TIL about the how a person's worth is directly related to whether or not they use reuseable bags. Thanks, Reddit.

[–]BillTowne 0 points1 point  (0 children)

So they did not compare the number of dead whales from eating plastic bags to those that were eating canvas?

[–]peteroh9 0 points1 point  (0 children)

And a guy who thinks that cotton comes from a sheep.

[–]SpinatJokker 20 points21 points  (0 children)

Must be lobbying from big plastic bag.

[–]toblu 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Different agencies using different models may come to different conclusions?

Both make the same point anyway: if we want to help the environment, we can't just substitute cotton for plastic but we have to get rid of our habit not to bring bags when shopping.

[–]anneoneamouse 50 points51 points  (7 children)

It's a complex problem. The two big issues with plastic bags are that they dont biodegrade very easily, and that they get blown in the wind so easily and so ultimately end up in all the places they shouldn't be (e.g. up in trees, in rivers / oceans).

The last point is often overlooked. Even if your local waste company does recycle bags (ours won't), when that recycle bin gets dumped into the truck, those bags will escape.

Sure, cotton also has lots of problems, but the long term damage seems more easily prevented.

[–]brock_lee 11 points12 points  (1 child)

This is a great point. There is an assumption that no one will ever litter these bags when "calculating" the impact. That assumption is unfounded.

[–]widowdogood 3 points4 points  (0 children)

In politics unfounded assumptions reign. Also rain.

[–]Dracomortua 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Make them of hemp! The marijuana kind. Have them cost the street value of pot and make them 100% smokeable. No one will EVER lose the fucking things again.

[–]iwasbornatravelinman 0 points1 point  (2 children)

And that even though they are recyclable, they generally aren't recycled because they gum up the equipment

[–]Keinichn 0 points1 point  (1 child)

And recycling is a "feel good" thing anyway. It's typically environment neutral at best but far more commonly it takes more resources to recycle than it does to produce new.

[–]iwasbornatravelinman 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Kind of. But any time you are able to prevent further mining of raw materials it's a good thing

[–]enfiel 22 points23 points  (2 children)

But they don't take millenia to break down.

[–]IronSidesEvenKeel 1 point2 points  (1 child)

But they have a tendency to break down every time the bass drops. :(

[–]yunus89115 5 points6 points  (15 children)

What about making a triple or quadruple thick plastic bag so it's reusable?

I'd reuse plastic bags but they don't hold up.

[–]brock_lee 8 points9 points  (0 children)

There are indeed many non-cotton reusable bags. Often, they are a kind of woven plastic not unlike those plastic tarps you can buy.

You can often tell a lot about people when they use the best of all possible scenarios (a single use plastic bag that is recycled vs a cotton reusable bag), and ignore real-world scenarios (like, there are non-cotton bags you can re-use, and single-use plastic bags are often not recycled and wind up not in landfills, but as litter).

[–]iwasbornatravelinman 7 points8 points  (8 children)

I use them a second time for something. Pet waste, small trash can bags, food waste, etc.

[–]yunus89115 2 points3 points  (3 children)

I do too but not as many as I use.

[–]iwasbornatravelinman 0 points1 point  (2 children)

I deny or use reusable bags whenever possible and try and reuse the ones I get and recycle any if my collection gets too big

[–]UrbanDryad 0 points1 point  (1 child)

You are in the minority of users in that habit, unfortunately. I've watched people buy a candy bar and accept it in a plastic bag. They toss the plastic bag in the trash outside the store and eat the candy bar.

[–]iwasbornatravelinman 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Subway is the place that looks at you strange when you deny the bag and 10 napkins

[–]witchlamb 0 points1 point  (3 children)

i never have ENOUGH of the damn things because i reuse them. since my county banned free plastic bags, most of the stores have switched to bigger and sturdier bags, really limit how many they give you, and charge you 10 cents each. which is fine, but it means i end up leaving my reusable bags in the car when i go to the grocery store because i need bags for trash liners.

i see people using bags from different stores than the one they're at all the time now. crinkled up obviously reused vons bags at costco, target bags at walmart, etc.

[–]KosherizedFirearms 2 points3 points  (2 children)

for 10c a bag, could it make more sense to buy bin liners?

[–]witchlamb 0 points1 point  (1 child)

i mean, i could save, like, a dollar over the course of a year. and they're useful for a lot of different things.

[–]KosherizedFirearms 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Agreed, I'm sure I'll have to resort to something else once they outlaw free plastic bags here, but for now, they work great for bin liners, picking up after the dogs, car trash bag etc.

[–]The_Derpening 6 points7 points  (0 children)

I've never had any difficulty reusing "nonreusable" plastic bags. In fact, it's the "reusable" ones that I've found to really suck at being reused.

[–]Khanaset 1 point2 points  (0 children)

In my state those thin single-use bags are now illegal(edit: Clarification, for stores to give out to customers, not for people to possess if they still have a bunch for cat litter or something, heh.). Most grocery stores have extra-thick plastic bags they'll tack on to your tab for $0.10/per that are meant to be re-usable exactly like this. They're not bad, they last for quite a while, made of recycled milk bottle plastic or something similar but I just finally gave in and bought some decent cloth bags with rigid bottoms off Amazon; I find I forget them far less as a plus.

[–]inu-no-policemen 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Those made of recycled PET bottles are great. Their strength is comparable to those blue PP (polypropylene) bags from IKEA. They are pretty much indestructible. You could probably reuse them for an entire decade if you wanted to.


[–]TheChronocide 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It seems to me it depends on the store (and presumably how good the quality of the bags they buy is). Our local grocery store bags hold up fairly well, but with Wal-Mart bags it's about 50/50 whether they'll have a hole in them by the time we get them home.

[–]UrbanDryad 0 points1 point  (0 children)

That is what most reusable bags are nowadays, it's antienvironmentalists that post garbage like this comparing disposable bags to the worst case reusable (virgin cotton fibre).

[–]whatelsecouldiwrite 5 points6 points  (1 child)

Giant IKEA bags, totally environmentally unfriendly. But, I can get $200+ worth of groceries from Winco in 6 of those things.

[–]UrbanDryad 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Those are very environmentally friendly! It's the reuse that matters.

[–]NorskChef 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I guess it would be more environmentally friendly to walk around naked rather than buy cotton clothing.

[–]5baserush 5 points6 points  (2 children)

Sounds like something big plastic would say. In any case that cotton bag breaks down in 10 years whereas those plastic bags are gonna break down about the time our sun goes supernova.

[–]Emmett1938 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Being degradable is not the only important factor in being environmentally friendly.

[–]5baserush 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yes you are right, but a third[1] of all plastic ends up in the oceans, where it will sit until it has been digested by a thousand generations of sea life.

Additionally these plastics as they do break down shed micro pieces that are incredibily harmful to ocean life. [2]

Heard of BPA's? Plastics are killing our ocean. They are inflitrating our drinking water and giving us cancer.[3][4] Destroying our food supplies and making them inedible. Why is this still a conversation?





[–]Canadian-Pharmacy 10 points11 points  (10 children)

You're wrong and you should feel bad about it.

That's like saying burning "clean" coal is healthy for pollution.

It's moronic.

[–]thbb 8 points9 points  (9 children)

Perhaps reading the paper should help you reassess. This is a serious study made by an environmental agency in Denmark. The problem is well known: plastic, when disposed of properly, is so much more lightweight and easy to manufacture that the minute amount of petrol they require makes their CO2 emissions negligible compared to the alternatives.

[–]Canadian-Pharmacy -1 points0 points  (8 children)

The reason the argument falls flat to me, is if you don't use the bags they wont be a big issue anymore.


So, if I don't use a plastic bag anymore and just use reusable or no bag we don't have plastic bags being the #7 most common thing found in the ocean.

But yeah, fuck it Jesus is coming back to save us... smh

[–]thbb 4 points5 points  (7 children)

You still haven't read the paper. It takes more petrol & CO2 émissions to produce and ship a single cotton bag than it takes to produce and ship 100 plastic bags. Besides plastic bags are properly recycled in Denmark.

[–]rjbonita 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I use bags that were already produced for some other purpose instead of buying reusable. For example as a teacher we have very sturdy bags for sample textbooks. They have these for many other things and you can get them at thrift stores.

[–]Mandorism 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Plus they are known to be a major disease vector.

[–]bjb406 0 points1 point  (3 children)

ya that's 100% bullshit

[–]iamtheoriginaljedi 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Because it does not fit your narrative?

[–]Emmett1938 0 points1 point  (0 children)

This is my favourite— “this scientific research is bullshit because I, a probably unqualified layman, don’t like what it says.”

[–]UrbanDryad -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Because it compares the worst possible case of a reusable bag (virgin cotton fibre used ONLY for grocery store trips) with the best possible case of a disposable plastic one (recycled/disposed of properly).

Most reusable bags aren't cotton, they are thicker versions of the plastic ones. And a large percentage of disposable bags aren't disposed of properly.

[–]WarLorax 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Good thing the shopping bags I've used weekly for roughly fifteen years are made from recycled plastic.

[–]AnIh -1 points0 points  (0 children)

cotton is not environmental friendly at all, there is other fabric that are a lot more like hemp which make perfect bags (and a lot of other stuff)

[–]sandscript -1 points0 points  (0 children)

What about those bags made from recycled paper? Those are a lot more common it seems. I use those all the time unless I need some grocery bags, because I use the used grocery bags as free trash bags.

[–]singbowl1 -1 points0 points  (0 children)

cotton is like super toxic...single biggest pesticide user is why

[–]cinogamia -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Of course, cause everything on the internetis true