Plastic bags are the least of our problems

Following the talks of a plastic bag tax in Virginia Beach, Yale argues against tax.

As a native of New Jersey, it is common to come across odd laws negating specific behavior, like not being able to pump one’s gas and having to use “jug handles” to turn left on most roads. 

One of the newer rules implemented in our day-to-day life was to stop using plastic bags to transport groceries. 

When traveling from my home state back to Virginia Wesleyan University, I often make my way to local stores and purchase a variety of supplies for the week. 

In these moments, I catch myself stressing over whether or not I have reusable bags before remembering that I’m back in Virginia, not in New Jersey. 

However, in these changing times, Virginia Beach is debating whether or not to integrate this same sort of change of lifestyle, possibly implementing a plastic bag tax into the community as early as Jan. 1. 

Pushing consumers to supply their own reusable bags may be seen as a disadvantage to consumers. In other words, if people have to pay or bring their own bag for groceries, people could be discouraged from shopping freely; it could be induced by distress at the thought of not being able to carry it all back to their vehicles. 

Although discouraging the use of plastic bags can benefit the environment, it can also be seen as a disadvantage to manufacturers. 

Not funding this business will be detrimental to the success of this industry and will have the power to wipe out this service completely. 

Plastic bags require little energy to make and are easy for consumer use. They provide a reliable and intuitive solution to carrying a plentiful amount of items. 

In efforts to help protect the environment, I believe we should refrain from minimizing the situation of plastic bags. 

There is a bigger picture that should be focused on, which is pollution as a whole, not just plastic bags. 

If we as an east coast truly started this activity because we want to protect the wildlife inhabiting our beaches, we should create more solutions to the greater problem. 

For example, the community should work harder to regularly clean and maintain proper waste disposal in these areas.

It is common to see garbage cans placed at beach entrances and exits. Who can say that the plastic bags in the water are more likely from the stores way inland and not from the various cans placed on the sand and road line? 

Consumers need to be more conscious of their waste disposal of all items including plastics, glass, paper and so many more.

In conclusion, save trips from your house to your vehicle by using handy plastic bags. Nevertheless, stay vigilant and alert for how you are disposing of the bag once you are done using it.

By Madelyn Yale