Pros and cons of plastic bags

Arguments for plastic bags (against a ban)
- Low production costs, only a few chemicals are needed
- Production requires little energy and generates only low emissions
- Low weight, high strength
- Resistant to water and chemicals
- Easy to process, can be sealed
- Fundamentally recyclable

Arguments against plastic bags (for a ban)
- Most plastic bags are only used once
- The raw material is crude oil, i.e. a finite resource
- It takes centuries for plastic bags to rot
- Pulverised plastic waste in the sea gets into the food chain
- Corn grown for the production of bioplastic reduces the land available for growing food for humans and animals

Facts and figures
- On average, plastic bags are used for 25 minutes
- Depending on the type of plastic, it takes between 100 and 500 years for a plastic bag to disintegrate
- One million plastic bags are in use around the world every minute
- Three billion plastic bags are consumed in China every day. By way of comparison: the figure in Australia is four billion – per year!
- 3.4 million tonnes of plastic carrier bags are produced in the European Union per year (data from 2008). This corresponds to the weight of more than two million cars
- The average European uses about 500 plastic bags per year, including thin fruit and vegetable bags. The most recent figure for per capita consumption in Germany was 65 per year