Plastic bag ban has negative consequences - is it worth it?

I think that for most people with some level of sense of environmental responsibility would exclaim a resounding "yes it is worth it!" response before they even hear what I'm about to talk about and for the most part, I would agree.

This was always going to happen as Thailand weens itself off of a million bag a day "addiction."

1575425735_1org.jpg source

The ban began earlier this year and now if you go into any major retailer you better bring your own bags or be prepared to pay for thicker, reusable ones. I have stated in the past that I felt this was a grand conspiracy on the part of the retailers who would be saving a ton of money by no longer being required to give these bags out for free.

I think now what i thought when it was announced: It is a good idea even if there are some back-room deals involved on the part of the corporations.

However, there are people on the other end of the spectrum as over 6,000 employees, many of which make relatively low wages, are now facing reduced hours and are in danger of losing their jobs outright as the plastic bag industry has seen a 90% decrease in demand.

Thicker bags can and are produced but since these bags can be reused many many times, the demand is a slow trickle rather than an every day occurrence.

I don't think that the government should be in the business of telling anyone how they can or should live their lives, but when they make a ruling like this and people suffer as a consequence, I believe it should be, at least temporarily, the job of the government to make sure that the people affected are looked after.

3514304.jpg source Manufacturers such as Pack and Save have eliminated overtime and reduced work weeks with more upcoming cuts planned

So yeah, this was always going to happen and it is unfortunate that thousands of low-income people are going to have their lives disrupted. For every government action of this sort, someone has to suffer.

It would be stupid to suggest that anyone would be a proponent of single-use plastic bags that at least over here, are almost always not recycled. But when it is directly because of their actions that the common man no longer has a job, is it not the responsibility of the government to help?

I understand that this is for the greater good and I am for it. I don't think anyone would argue that. It just seems a bit unfair to just discard these factory workers the way we discard... i dunno, maybe a plastic bag?

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  • @oldtimer

    Good point and I agree. Greta would say: How dare you!

    A big retailer Sobeys just implemented this here in Canada.

  • @deadspace

    I didn't even think about factory workers losing work with this happening. Yeah, that sucks some fat ass. They should at least cut them a fat severance check if they're going to be losing their jobs, enough to cover them until they can find a new gig or go to school to get into new trades/careers.

  • @ahmadmanga

    Before I read the article I thought? "What do you mean? Of course it's worth it!" But I'm not sure after reading this, I'd still say it's for better but these people who will lose their jobs must be helped.

    By the way, my country didn't start moving from Plastic bags yet...
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  • @abitcoinskeptic

    It sucks for them, but it is hardly a good excuse to continue producing and consuming great quantities of single use plastic bags. The writing was on the wall for years and if anything they were probably hoping to do it as long as possible.

    They should just 'learn to code' =)

  • @maxwellmarcusart

    One thing I have realized is that every decision and action taken by a government have two effects. The good side and the bad side.

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  • @slobberchops

    I have got used to juggling stuff in my arms. Opening the car door is challenging now, I could use a third arm and have ordered one to grow from my chest.

  • @bozz

    It seems like a phased reduction might have been the better option. It gives manufacturers time to switch over and employees time to look for other jobs. It doesn't really have the headline impact that all out elimination does. Not as sexy for the news people so they would never do something as practical as that!

  • @cryptoandcoffee

    Just charge for the same bags but filter the money back to cleaning the problem. The problem we have in Africa now is the retailers are making huge profits on bags that used to be free. Retailers should be charging but still giving them away in their books, but the money needs to be used cleaning the environment.

  • @darth-azrael

    As I pointed out elsewhere, there are also often other unintended consequences of laws like this. This has been done in the U.S. in some places but the environmental impact is marginal and possibly negative. It turns out that the reusable bags commonly used don't last long enough to make up for the extra material that they use.

  • @ladybug146

    With every actions, there is a reaction. It's unfortunate they are loosing their jobs in an already difficult environment, that is never an easy pill to swallow for anyone and perhaps government financial help for re-training for new jobs should be in order. Is it a win for the environment? That's also debatable.

    I don't think single use plastic should be banned anywhere, do they pose a problem? Yes. is it solvable? also yes. First, humans in general could be more conscious of their impact when they consume. Here in Canada, they are not outright banned but charge a small fee. For the last 3 or 4 years, we have been using reusable bags at least 2/3 of the time or no bag if we only have a few items, we probably represent the average shopper...all without being forced many are trying. However, everything divided into single portions with 4 levels of packaging is a far bigger problem than a grocery bag and that is the type of plastic that actually isn't recyclable grade most of the time.

    Online ordering and overproduction of goods also poses a problem, #1 being over packaged #2 many customers will buy multiple things, then return what they don't want, for the unwanted brand new items to rot away in a landfill un-used, was it necessary? That's a far bigger waste problem and green house gas emissions than plastic bags.

  • @bdmillergallery

    First of all, I was late on voting but got the 500th vote Boy!!! Hoot!! Hoot!! haha.. Weird things like that are funny to me.

    One could choose paper, but then deforestation is a concern. I have the perfect solution to this debacle.. Make the bags out of chocolate! Then we can eat them when we are done with them. Oh.. wait.. whats the average temperature in that region??

    Hang on a sec.. I have to go back to the drawing board :-)

  • @janton

    Howdy gooddream! Well said, couldn't agree more. The government should subsidize workers who get laid off because of their policies.