Bad Man Wants to Ban Bag Bans

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/albinoflea/381232292/in/photolist-9D3M7z-9heeMw-7JLrzT-31ogP-EPeCv-aomUMi-4wSqXp-4uUe5J-a89854-77s6JN-a1tHG-kdY5J6-E1B66-fg4kii-b1Rfz-55xezB-97JEUc-8RnSYQ-6g4Eat-7RG64F-85bm2v-8j4r8t-4zEP4N-4w6ANB-8M4aXF-52wGRo-2PDEm-4BQjXh-7wQP9e-oVp4it-MjnDU-8qkTPY-cSYs2d-cSYrDJ-cSYrX3-aMH2A-bqpCJN-bDeQ9Z-6HqfT-67rYt8-zFV5y-47wW16-47wYv6-47wZuF-47B5fh-47wYQk-47wZXx-47B51m-47B4CG-47wYB6"> Steve Fernie</a>/Flickr

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Columbia, Mo., is considering a ban on plastic shopping bags. This is good. Plastic bags are wasteful and bad for the environment and generally terrible. They create tons of nasty litter on city streets and can block up recycling facilities. So there’s really no reason why grocery stores and other retail outlets should hand out trillions of them for free. Tons of local, regional, and national governments around the world have already figured this out, and implemented bans.

But Missouri state Representative Dan Shaul, a Republican from the suburbs of St. Louis, disagrees. That’s why he wants to ban bag bans, with a bill going before committee in the state’s legislature this week.

From the St. Louis Riverfront Times:

Shaul, a sixteen-year member of the Missouri Grocers Association, is trying to stop bag bans outright. He says he doesn’t want to burden shoppers with an additional fee at the grocery store.

“If they choose to tax the bag, it’s going to hurt the people who need that the most: the consumer,” especially the poor, Shaul says. “My goal when I go to the grocery store with a $100 bill is to get $100 worth of groceries.”

But a ten-cents-per-bag fee for forgetting your reusable bag? “That adds up pretty quick.”

Here’s the thing, though: Ban bags are actually really good for local economies, because they reduce costs for retailers and cleanup costs for governments. California, which became the first US state to ban bags last fall, previously spent $25 million per year picking them up and landfilling them.

So instead of bag ban bans, a better bill would be a ban on bag ban bans.

More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest