Joe Eskenazi told the counter-intuitive tale in a recent issue of SF Weekly. He writes:
Still, a number of cities and even nations have weighed the scientific evidence and concluded that a San Francisco–style ban simply shunts shoppers to paper bags and is markedly worse for the environment than the status quo. "Paper bags have a greater environmental impact than plastic bags, and therefore you would not create a policy that banned plastic and forced everyone to use paper only," said Dick Lilly, the manager of the waste prevention program for Seattle Public Utilities. After much analysis, that city spurned the San Francisco model in favor of a fee on all bags, meant to spur shoppers to bring their own.Genesee County officials should read the article before they act. There's no denying that plastic bags are about as evil as plastic water bottles, but a ban might actually make things worse. The real solution is getting people to embrace BYOB — Bring your own bag.