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Shukla, P, Mesa Guerra, C, Rathore, K, and Lopes R. (2019). To ban or not to ban? A guide to regulating plastic bags. Dept. of City and Regional Planning, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

Governments across the USA are considering regulations on the use of plastic bags. Bans are a popular choice to regulate plastic bags. As of 2018, out of 372 municipalities regulating plastic bags, 348 imposed bans. But bans do not necessarily lead to a reduction in use. Bans fail to work when retailers adopt alternatives like thicker plastic bags or paper bags. These alternatives have a large environmental impact. Thus we recommend a ‘hybrid’ ban+fee model and present examples of cities which have done so.

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Subject: Preemption