In a recent letter to the editor, a resident concluded that in order to reduce emissions we should repeal the recent citywide plastic bag ban, but his conclusion was illogical based on the evidence used.
First, he said that the reusable bags now used in place of plastic bags are made in India, China, etc. and thus have to be shipped, which contributes to the very emissions the plastic bag ban is meant to reduce. Are plastic bags not shipped too? There is certainly no plastic bag manufacturing plant in Corvallis, they must be shipped from somewhere. Even if they were produced within the US, they still have to be shipped from one city to another. Considering that billions, and possibly trillions, of plastic bags are used each year, the emissions from shipping undoubtedly adds up. While it is certainly true that shipping reusable bags overseas contributes to emissions, so does shipping plastic bags. This cannot logically be used as a reason to oppose a plastic bag ban.
Second, the resident said that many reusable bags are not recyclable, and thus should not be favored over plastic bags. Many reusable bags are recyclable. The fact that some are not is certainly a hypocritical design flaw that should be addressed sooner rather than later, but concluding that because of this plastic bags should be used instead of reusable bags does not make sense. Drawing the distinction implies that plastic bags are recyclable, and although many technically are, the fact is that most do not decompose in landfills, and they are an overwhelming source of litter and pollution worldwide.
Invalidating a statistic used by the Sierra Club when it was used to oppose plastic bags, and then turning around and using another statistic by the same organization when it helps his argument also made it seem as though the resident had a personal agenda, and was less concerned about what actually benefits the community and environment.
Although the resident brought up valid points, his conclusion is an illogical leap from the facts he used. It does not make sense to recommend reverting to plastic bags because doing so reduces emissions more than using reusable bags. A more logical conclusion would be to recommend that until all reusable bags are recyclable, be a conscientious consumer and make sure to buy reusable bags that are recyclable and locally made.