It’s still too early to predict which side will enjoy ultimate victory in the “should we or shouldn’t we ban disposable plastic shopping bags” war, though both sides can honestly claim to have won recent battles.
In California, a state appeals court upheld San Francisco’s citywide ban on plastic shopping bags. (Of course, this does not negate the possibility that a still-higher court might later rule differently.)
Meanwhile, in Colorado, voters in Durango overturned a city council initiative that would’ve mandated a ten-cent-per-bag tax on disposable grocery bags.
The old “paper or plastic?” shopping-bag debate has since yielded ground to the newer “disposable vs. reusable?” argument. The case for taxing or outright abolishing disposable grocery bags almost always rests on environmental or anti-waste concerns: plastic bags fill space in landfills at best, pollute the ocean and kill sea animals at worst; and even for biodegradable and presumably eco-friendly paper bags, there’s no denying that “disposable substances” are inherently more wasteful than “reusable substances.”