Frequent Questions

Does EPA support laws to ban or tax disposable bags?

EPA supports strategies to reduce pollution at the source including eliminating the use of disposable bags and promoting the use of reusable bags. Decisions made by local or state governments to ban, tax, or eliminate particular products, such as bags, must be made on a case by case basis to minimize the environmental impact. The Pollution Prevention Act establishes a national objective for environmental protection: "[T]hat pollution should be prevented or reduced at the source whenever feasible." Similarly, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act sets the order of preference for managing materials: source reduction, reuse, recycling, and disposal. We can all reduce waste through individual, everyday actions, beginning with the choice of reusable shopping bags. Reusable bags help to conserve energy; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; reduce marine debris by preventing pollution at its source; and avoid the environmental impacts to land, water, and air associated with extraction and production of raw materials.

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