Did you know that plastic bags are one of the largest sources of litter in the world? According to research discussed on How Stuff Works, plastic bags can take anywhere from two hundred to a thousand years to break down. They also give off toxic chemicals when burned, so burning is a hazardous way to rid of the material. Because of this it is difficult to safely dispose of plastic. According to the same site, less than 1% of plastic bags used in the US are recycled due to recycling costs being much higher than the recovered plastic is worth. States are attempting to find new strategies to reduce the number of plastic carry-out bags from grocery stores and other retail outlets to help with the issues arising. They believe regulating the use of bags can lower harmful impacts to oceans, rivers, lakes and the wildlife that inhabits them. Reducing bag use can also relieve pressure on landfills and waste management. One of the methods being experimented with is charging for the plastic bags given out at grocery stores. This is definitely something stores should try to help out both economically and environmentally.
Economically, charging for plastic could help the world in a few ways. It would profit the community, it would put more money into recycling as more people buy reusable bags, and it could cut costs on manufacturing these bags, making it possible to put money elsewhere. Charging for plastic would create an extra income for grocers and make it possible to lower item prices in the store, which would greatly benefit the community. Imagine if all items were price cut by 20%, even 40%? How amazing would that be? Your average grocery trip that costs $200 plus would be half that. Our poverty rate in each city would drop dramatically if this were the case. Some would say that this isn't possible because people would just bring their own bags so there would be no profit, but how often do we forget things like that? I forget my bags all the time, and so do many others.