Common plastic bags are environmentally superior to reusable ones in many ways. Manufacturing them requires less than half the energy needed for compostable plastic or cloth bags and less than a third of what's required for paper bags. A higher percentage of energy can be recovered (through combustion) from the single-use plastic bags than from the other two types. Making plastic bags requires less than 6 percent of the water needed to make paper bags. And cloth bags are much more challenging to recycle since they contain a combination of materials including metal, cotton and other fabrics.
The campaign to outlaw plastic bags in the name of improving the environment is based on ignorance and misinformation. It will do the exact opposite. It will waste energy, water, and money. It will create inconvenience, waste people's time, and impose health risks. It will deprive people of the liberty to exercise choice which has produced a more efficient, economical and safer product—and with less residual municipal waste—than alternatives favored by the ban. Banning plastic bags is an attempt to achieve by political means what cannot be achieved by economic means, because it is unrealistic. It means government against the economy! Which means government against reality. There is nothing government can do to make an economic function more efficient than a free market; its only power is to make it less efficient and more costly—and, yes, environmentally inferior.