Denying free plastic bags at checkout or providing plastic straws only on request sends consumers an important message that there’s a bigger cost to these everyday items than they may have considered. But the actual flow of trash has been disrupted only modestly.
…Plastic makers spent millions of dollars trying to stop the state from banning single-use plastic bags. Imagine what they might unleash if all their disposable plastic products were threatened. As part of that, they will no doubt argue, as they did in the plastic bag fight, that the efforts to clean up plastic waste would mean lost jobs.
…Cutting jobs on a disposable plastic product line doesn’t automatically translate into fewer people employed. If the door closes on polystyrene takeout containers, for example, it will open for cardboard and other biodegradable alternatives.
No one expects consumers to give up convenience completely. In fact, the market for bio-plastic alternatives, which are made from corn starch and other biodegradable sources, is already growing thanks to public awareness and the sporadic efforts to curb plastic waste.