Get weekly updates from Reason.
Today's Top Topics
Recent Research and Commentary
An assessment of the environmental and economic effects of grocery bag bans and taxesJune 18, 2014
In the past 15 years, approximately 190 municipalities in the U.S. have passed ordinances imposing bans, fees and/or taxes on plastic shopping bags. Many have also introduced fees or taxes on paper bags. Proponents of such ordinances claim they are necessary in order to reduce litter and other environmental impacts, ranging from resource use to emissions of greenhouse gases. In addition, many proponents claim the ordinances will reduce municipal costs (such as those associated with litter removal and waste collection), with benefits for taxpayers.
This study investigates all these claims using the best data available and finds:
A plastic bag ban will cost consumers but won't improve the environmentJune 18, 2014
Many cities and counties in California have passed ordinances banning the distribution of high density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic grocery bags and mandating fees for paper bags. State Senator Alex Padilla recently introduced a bill (SB 270) that would impose similar requirements statewide. The premise of these laws is to benefit the environment and reduce municipal costs. In practice, the opposite is more likely to be the case. While the impact of such legislation depends on the way consumers respond, the available evidence suggests that it will do nothing to protect the environment; quite the opposite, it will waste resources and cost Californian consumers billions of dollars. Specifically, such legislation will:
First, the environmentalists wanted to get rid of paper grocery bags because they were the result of destroying too many trees. Then the market developed a lighter, stronger alternative in the form of plastic bags. Now the environmentalists want to get rid of these, too, and force everyone to bring their own reusable bags when they go to the store.
Californians narrowly dodge nanny-state prohibition on plastic grocery bagsJune 29, 2013
Californians dodged yet another nanny-state regulation recently when the state Senate narrowly voted down a bill to ban plastic bags statewide, but the reprieve might only be temporary. The bill fell just three votes short of passage in the Senate — with four Democratic senators not voting — and Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, who sponsored the measure, has indicated that he would like to bring it up again, so expect this fight to be recycled rather than trashed.
Special interests trump science in the debate over transgenic salmon.June 21, 2011
AquaBounty Technologies has been seeking Food and Drug Administration approval for 15 years for its fast growing genetically-enhanced salmon. Scientific evidence so far suggests that the biotech salmon are good for the environment and good for consumers. However, wild salmon fishers afraid of competition have persuaded Congress to vote in favor of a ban on the biotech fish. Reason Science Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey explains why having Congress overrule science is a really bad idea.
After 15 years, the FDA is about to let genetically modified fish enter the food supply. It's about time.September 24, 2010
On Monday, a panel of FDA advisers began two days of hearings on whether to allow the first genetically modified (GM) animal into the human food supply. And so far, they are skeptical. Such unnatural creatures have existed since the 1970s, but haven't become part of the common cuisine—and despite the protests of natural foodies everywhere, this needs to change.
View Resources by Type
- How Green Is that Grocery Bag Ban?
An assessment of the environmental and economic effects of grocery bag bans and taxes
Julian Morris and Brian Seasholes
June 18, 2014
- An Evaluation of the Effects of California’s Proposed Plastic Bag Ban
A plastic bag ban will cost consumers but won't improve the environment
Julian Morris and Lance Christensen
June 18, 2014
- Catching the Aquaculture Wave
Michael De Alessi
December 1, 2004
- Alternate Framework for the US Commission on Ocean Policy
Michael De Alessi
April 1, 2004
- Overcoming Three Hurdles to IFQs in US Fisheries
Michael De Alessi, Donald R. Leal and Pete Emerson
April 1, 2004
Experts: Oceans and Fisheries
- Ronald Bailey
- Shikha Dalmia
- Adrian Moore
Vice President, Policy
- Brian Seasholes
Director, Endangered Species Project
RSS Feeds: Oceans and Fisheries
Media ContactChris Mitchell
Director of Communications
Your tax-deductible gift can help us promote individual liberty, choice, and free minds and free markets.