Bag It

Support the Bag Ban!

Sustainable Saratoga’s Bring Your Own Bag (BYOBag) campaign is gathering petition signatures to call for a ban on single-use, thin film plastic checkout bags in the City of Saratoga Springs. With the support of Mayor Yepsen, we will propose an ordinance this fall calling for a strong ban on this harmful waste. We will continue to inform and educate businesses and consumers about less harmful alternatives and encourage the use of reusable bags. Bag bans have been successfully implemented in many other cities with the support of local businesses and with minimal inconvenience.


Why ban plastic bags?  Since the introduction of the plastic bag decades ago, we have learned of their downsides: 

  • They are manufactured from natural gas and petroleum, both finite and problematic fossil fuels, the extraction of which causes enormous environmental and social burdens around the world.
  • Their useful life is very short—an average of around 10 minutes—and in most cases there are readily available alternatives.
  • The vast majority of bags are not recycled, and the recycling options that exist are limited and problematic. The public bears the cost of creating, operating, and maintaining landfills, and of cleaning up waste that is not contained.
  • They do not biodegrade; in fact they may last as long as a thousand years in the environment, during which time they disrupt the ability of other species to thrive and they diminish the benefits of such biodiversity.
  • Plastic contains toxins from the manufacturing process, and absorbs more toxins in its afterlife. These toxins leach into the environment and are ingested by living organisms, joining and traveling up the food chain.
  • The toxins in plastic disrupt human hormonal activity and have been connected to certain cancers and birth defects. These human health costs, which are preventable, are ultimately born by the public in the form of higher insurance premiums and copays.

Why target plastic bags, when there are so many other plastic items we use in our daily lives?

Two simple reasons:

  • Billions of bags are used across the world annually. Banning them would remove an enormous amount of harmful plastic trash from the environment.
  • A plastic bag is simple to replace with a reusable bag.

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