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Stephen Joseph Is Saving the Plastic Bag

For the Sake of the Planet, Save the Plastic Bags?!

The second I remember to quit grumbling when I get a paper bag with no handles instead of the evil that is the plastic bag, the whole eco-mantra of choosing paper could be dumped on its head. One man, Stephen Joseph, is out to save the plastic bag. He's head of the campaign called Save the Plastic Bag, and he means business.

Even though his battle ramped a little more uphill after LA became the most recent US city to can the bags on Tuesday, he's convinced he has facts on his side. On his website, the well-named SaveThePlasticBags, he lists the reasons to choose plastic over paper:

  • Roaches love paper bags — they attract them.
  • When paper bags decompose, they release methane.
  • Paper bags take up more space to transport (making more trucks on the road and more space taken in landfills if they end up there.

That's not all. To see why the global backturning on the bag may have been too hasty,


  • Paper bags require 71 percent more energy to make and recycle.
  • Plastic bags consume 6 percent of the water needed to make paper bags.

And he's got much more on his website. His main complaint? The rush to ditch the plastic hasn't been fully examined. "My research into this issue has proved to me that something funny is going on. The anti-plastic-bag campaigners are not being challenged. . . . This is not an issue that belongs in the left bucket or the right bucket. It's about truth. And I'm determined to make it register."

Now that you know the facts, let me temper them with this: Joseph is also the attorney representing plastic bag companies. What's a shopper to think? Maybe the devil doesn't wear plastic after all?


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