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Environment & Energy Report

Lack of Reliable Stats Complicates Assessing Plastic Bag Bans

Feb. 14, 2020, 11:55 AM

Information on Americans’ plastic bag use has come under scrutiny as communities and states increasingly look to ban the bags, Keshia Clukey writes.

  • One oft-cited statistic is that Americans use more than 380 billion single-use plastic bags a year. But the plastic bag industry points to an estimate from the International Trade Commission that annual bag usage is closer to one-quarter of that amount.
  • The industry argues that a lack of reliable data means states can’t measure the extent of the problem or success of their policies. And for lawmakers, data shortcomings make it hard to predict the revenue a...
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