The Law of Unintended Consequences

A study done by the Rebecca Taylor, an economist at the University of Sydney, found that plastic bag regulations in California resulted in a classic tale of unintended consequences.

Whilst the ban did reduce the amount of plastic bags being dispensed at the check out counter, the sale of plastic garbage bags skyrocketed! Rubbish still needs a plastic to be bagged for obvious reasons. Trash bags are thicker and use more plastics.

Taylor said:

 “So about 30% of the plastic that was eliminated by the ban came back in the form of thicker garbage bags.”

The same unintended consequence applies for paper bags as well, resulting in a surge in the use of paper bags, at an estimated 80 million pounds of extra paper trash per year in cities which rolled out the plastic bans. Studies have already shown that paper is actually much worse for the environment, not better.