The conventional plastic bag is the one with the least environmental impacts.
The Frontline Defense Against Plastic Bag Bans and Taxes Nationwide
The American Recyclable Plastic Bag Alliance (ARPBA) represents the U.S. plastic bag manufacturing and recycling industry, which employs thousands of workers in 40 states. Founded in 2005, the ARPBA proactively promotes product lines and leads numerous public policy initiatives that serve as the frontline defense against plastic bag bans and taxes nationwide.
With the support of the industry’s workers, the ARPBA promotes American-made plastic products that are the smartest, most environmentally friendly choice at the checkout counter for both retailers and consumers.
Plastic bags are 100% recyclable and highly reused.
The manufacturing process for paper bags uses 3 times more water and emits 2 times more greenhouse gases than plastic grocery bags.
Plastic bags may get a new life as eco-friendly raw material for playgrounds, construction materials and new plastic bags.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes – Plastic bags are 100% reusable and recyclable.
According to Recyc-Quebec, a Canadian government agency:
Cotton or canvas bags need to be reused between 100 and 2,954 times.
Reusable woven polypropylene bags need to be reused between 16 to 98 times.
Reusable non-woven polypropylene bags need to be reused 11 to 59 times.
According to the UK Environment Agency:
Paper bags need to be reused 3 times.
Reusable non-woven polypropylene bags need to be reused 11 times.
Cotton or canvas bags need to be reused 131 times.
According to the Denmark Environmental Protection Agency:
Paper bags need to be reused 43 times.
Reusable non-woven polypropylene bags need to be reused 52 times.
Reusable woven polypropylene bags need to be reused 45 times.
Conventional cotton bags need to be reused 7,100 times.
Organic cotton bags need to be reused 20,000 times.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 35,000 people.
No – multiple cities across the country have discovered that plastic bag bans create problems rather than solve them. When consumers are forced to use replacement bags – which are often made of thicker, heavier plastic – that contributes more to waste than the typical plastic grocery bag.
Yes – especially small businesses. Bans can increase costs, making it hard for businesses to comply.
Use our Find My Recycling Center tool to learn where you can recycle your bags.
Your plastic bags may get a new life as eco-friendly raw material for playgrounds, construction materials and new plastic bags.
No – plastic bags are reused by Americans every day. Plastic bags are also 100% recyclable.
In the News
ARPBA Director Zachary Taylor is quoted in this article about New York’s plastic bag ban. According to the article, the state’s rollout of its plastic bag ban last year was so muddled and confusing that a judge awarded court fees to the plaintiffs who had sued over the prohibition. However, the governor’s budget proposal calls for legislation that would exempt from the ban some of the same types of bags that were at issue in the lawsuit. According to Taylor, “Proposing changes to the ban underscores what we have long said: Its current form is broken and unworkable. Unfortunately, the changes don’t make the law more workable.”
An environmental activist recently penned an opinion column in the Missouri Times calling plastic bags “fundamentally not recyclable.” However, the central claim of the piece is simply untrue — plastic bags are 100% recyclable as long as they are recycled correctly. Pushing out this misinformation undermines efforts to improve recycling rates and move our economy in a more sustainable direction. Zachary Taylor responds with an op-ed detailing that while plastic bags typically cannot be recycled in curbside programs, they are 100% recyclable when taken back to grocery and retail chains.
The holidays leave plenty of refuse and recyclables. So, which is which? ARPBA Director Zachary Taylor recently joined KENS 5 to discuss how to dispose of plastic bags, film, and air pillows from online holiday shopping. Instead of placing these items in your home recycling bin, they should be taken to plastic bag recycling drop-off bins at grocery and retail chains. “What consumers need to look for is either it has the chasing arrows symbol we’re all familiar with. It’ll be a thin, stretchy kind of plastic. That’s a good sign that it can go back to the store with your bags. Alternatively, now there’s a small logo on it that actually says ‘take back to the store’ so consumers can be certain”