What are the unidentified costs of banning disposable shopping bags? I’ve been speculating for months. In this video PERC Lone Mountain Fellow Jonathan Klick argues that the presence of harmful bacteria (in reusable grocery bags whose use is mandated after plastic bag bans are put in place) creates a health cost that has not been considered. (Hey…I know I’m just chopped liver but I considered it. a few months ago ‘What could go wrong- LA Set to Ban Paper and Plastic.’)
Mr. Klick points out that about half the reusable bags of shoppers heading in for more groceries have some form of contamination, and that the human cost could be a doubling in the number of cases of food borne illness in humans and even death as a result.
Now if I can just get someone to tell me what the cost to the environment is (in water, electricity, and detergents) to wash these millions of bags after every trip to ensure people don’t get sick or die?
(Updated) One other human cost – Early on I suggested job losses from domestic plastic bag manufacturers that make single use grocery bags to overseas Asian companies that make the re-useable bags, but this report suggests another kind of job loss. Stores inside the radius of the LA Bag ban have lost sales while stores outside it have seen some sales increases. The result, according to the report, is lost jobs inside the ban area with smaller job increases outside of it.