The recent letter to the editor from Zachary Taylor (Page A11, July 29 edition of The Frederick News-Post) regarding the consequences of plastic bag regulation is to be expected. After all, the organization that he represents, the American Recyclable Plastic Bag Alliance, is funded by U.S. plastic bag manufacturers.
Mr. Taylor claims that “when properly disposed of," single-use plastic bags have the lowest environmental footprint. This is disingenuous. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, less than 10% of plastic bags are recycled. They aren’t accepted by municipal recycling facilities as they damage sorting equipment. Reusable bags, on the other hand, are designed to be used multiple, often hundreds of times. They are durable, washable and hold several times the volume of a single-use bag. A report by the Environment Agency shows that, although the initial energy consumption to produce a reusable bag is higher, after using a polypropylene reusable bag as little as 11 times, the carbon footprint is equal for reusable bags, and decreases with each use. In addition, the enormous environmental problem of litter and microplastics associated with single-use bags must be factored into the equation.