Just over two and a half years ago, North Carolina passed S.L 2009-163 – a new law that banned the use of plastic bags in a few select coastal counties (Currituck, Dare and Hyde). The bill was inspired primarily because Marc Basnight got upset about seeing plastic bags littering the roads of his district.
Unsurprisingly, the ban has turned out to be a complete flop. This recently produced report by North Carolina’s Division of Waste Management shows that the number of plastic bags littering the roadside has increased in their Dare County sample, and the report concludes that any correlation between the amount of plastic bags littering the county and the law’s passage is “not apparent.” Translation: the plastic bag ban has done nothing to mitigate the problem.
Furthermore, according to information provided by the Retail Merchants Association of North Carolina, retailers in the affected counties are reporting no increase in consumers bringing their own reusable bags to the stores. But the legal mandate banning plastic bag use has imposed a noticeable cost on them.
Bottom line: the plastic bag ban has completely failed to accomplish its objectives, and it has imposed unnecessary costs on retailers. What a waste.
The Civitas Institute interns poked some fun at the legislation when it was being debated back in 2009 in this video.