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.
Once disposed, reusable bags take up to 9.3% more space than plastic bags in landfills.
Nearly 30,000 hardworking men and women are employed and supported by the plastic bag manufacturing and recycling industry.
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.
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’s Matt Seaholm penned a letter to the editor of The Baltimore Sun calling out activist organizations for spreading false information about the plastics industry. Seaholm clarifies that there is no industry campaign against reusable bags, and he states that instead of spreading misinformation, activist organizations should focus their efforts on helping Americans get through the pandemic.
ARPBA’s Matt Seaholm authored a guest column stressing the need for grocery store and food service worker protection during COVID-19. The plastic bag industry is dedicated to making sure that grocery stores and restaurants have the supplies they need to keep Americans fed during this difficult time.
With concerns mounting over how to contain coronavirus in the U.S., lawmakers in Maine voted March 17 to delay implementation of their plastic bag ban until next year. Matt Seaholm, executive director of the American Recyclable Plastic Bag Alliance, said bag ban suspensions are good for public health.
“It’s increasingly evident that plastic bags are indispensable in helping citizens get the food and goods they need and preventing the transmission of germs, bacteria and viruses,” he said. “There is ample scientific research concluding reusable bags can contribute to the spread of bacteria and viruses, and now more than ever state and local governments need to take every step possible to ensure people of are safe and healthy.”