The conventional plastic bag is the one with the least environmental impacts.
The Frontline Defense Against Plastic Bag Bans and Taxes Nationwide
The American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA) represents the U.S. plastic bag manufacturing and recycling industry, which employs thousands of workers in 40 states. Founded in 2005, the APBA 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 APBA promotes American-made plastic products that are the smartest, most environmentally friendly choice at the checkout counter for both retailers and consumers.
Standard reusable cotton grocery bags must be reused 131 times "to ensure that they have lower global warming potential than" a plastic bag used only once.
The manufacturing process for paper bags uses 3 times more water and emits 2 times more greenhouse gases than plastic grocery bags.
Plastic bags require 70% less energy to manufacture and consume 96% less water than what’s used to make paper 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
APBA’s Matt Seaholm joins Talk1300 to discuss New York’s plastic bag ban, imminent bag shortage, and the impact on small businesses
Listen to Matt Seaholm, executive director of the APBA, discuss New York’s plastic bag ban with Paul Vandenburgh.
Matt Seaholm, executive director of the American Progressive Bag Alliance, released the following statement regarding New Jersey’s grocery bag legislation.
Denver City Council to vote for second time on plan to charge fee for paper or plastic shopping bags
The Denver City Council will soon take a second vote on a 10-cent carryout bag fee. This news segment quotes APBA’s Matt Seaholm, who says that plastic “uses the least amount of material, it uses the least amount of energy to produce, to transport, and ultimately it gets reused at least once.”