Heeding concerns raised by environmentalists, San Francisco recently passed a ban on plastic shopping bags throughout its city limits. But according to Sterling Burnett of the National Center for Policy Analysis, this ban is anything but eco-friendly: “Though advocates of the ban feel they are helping the environment, in truth paper bags generate 70 percent more air pollutants and 50 times more water pollutants than plastic bags in their production. This is because four times as much energy is required to produce paper bags and 85 times as much energy is needed to recycle them. Paper also takes up nine times as much space in landfills and, interestingly, doesn’t break down there at a substantially faster rate than do the new forms of plastic.

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