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Month: April 2020

New York, Texas Ease Alcohol Delivery Law Amid COVID-19 Crisis

MOST STATES DON’T ALLOW CONSUMERS TO PURCHASE ALCOHOL ONLINE FOR DELIVERY.

Around the country, law against alcohol delivery are strict, which presents an interesting situation given the mass social isolation from the COVID-19 outbreak. 

According to Consumer Choice Center, Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Nebraska, and New Hampshire are the only states that allow consumers to buy alcohol online and have it delivered to their home. Alabama, Oklahoma, and Utah ban all alcohol shipments entirely. All of the other states fall in between in terms of allowing shipments of wine, shipments of alcohol after an in-store purchase, and shipments from wineries in the state. 

“Now is as good a time as any to consider changing these laws and empowering consumers to receive alcohol at home just like any other product,” said Yaël Ossowski, Consumer Choice Center deputy director, in a post on the organization’s website. 

In New York, which now leads the country in the amount of COVID-19 cases, the State Liquor Authority announced a change in the law in which restaurants and bars can sell wine and liquor for takeout or delivery, but the consumer must also purchase food. The change was meant to support restaurants that are facing declining sales due to the statewide closure of dining rooms. Restaurants and bars in New York were already allowed to sell beer for takeout or delivery. 

Following New York’s lead, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday a waiver to allow restaurants and bars to deliver beer, wine, and mixed drinks with the purchase of food. He also told the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to allow businesses to sell back unopened product back to manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers. 

In Ohio, no laws have changed, but restaurants and bars have been allowed to return unopened high proof liquor products bought within the past 30 days. The same is true for businesses that had to cancel events between March 12 and April 6. If the gathering ban in Ohio continues past April 6, then Ohio’s regulatory body will continue to allow the return of unopened product. 

More than half of states have closed dining areas and have limited restaurants and bars to takeout and delivery. Earlier in the week, President Donald Trump recommended that people do not gather in groups of more than 10. Meanwhile restaurants nationwide have seen sales plunge, and some foodservice organizations have asked the administration for financial relief. 

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Il Sistema Lombardo Funziona

Nelle ultime settimane la gestione dell’emergenza in Lombardia è stata oggetto di grande dibattito. Le critiche maggiori sono state rivolte al sistema sanitario regionale. Gli aspetti problematici potrebbero, però, risiedere altrove e le cause di una gestione non ottimale andrebbero ricercate più a fondo.


PERCHÈ È IMPORTANTE?   Una polemica oramai quotidiana riguarda il ruolo della sanità privata, soprattutto in Lombardia, e di come il sistema di cooperazione tra strutture pubbliche e private avrebbe fallito. Proviamo a capire se veramente è il sistema sanitario lombardo a non aver funzionato oppure qualcosa d’altro.

LA RIFORMA   La sanità privata è figlia di una riforma voluta dall’allora maggioranza di centrodestra guidata dal Presidente Roberto Formigoni, che pose erogatori privati e pubblici sullo stesso piano, purché il sistema rimanesse universale (tutti i cittadini hanno accesso alle cure nello stesso modo) e solidale (le prestazioni sono pagate dalla fiscalità generale e non direttamente dal singolo paziente).

Per il paziente nulla cambia, ci si può rivolgere agli ospedali pubblici o privati senza distinzione. Al contrario, secondo i dati ANGES – Regione Lombardia del 2018, gli ospedali lombardi sono parimenti nei primi 10 ospedali italiani, come per esempio il San Raffaele di Milano, il San Matteo di Pavia, l’Istituto dei Tumori di Milano e il Papa Giovanni XXIII di Bergamo.

INVESTIMENTI E RICERCA   Inoltre andrebbe considerato che questa competizione tra pubblico e privato ha fatto sì che la spesa sanitaria privata e pubblica dedicata alla ricerca e alla cura della persona crescesse di quasi il 28% annuo (dati UniBocconi), creando centri di eccellenza riconosciuti in tutto il mondo, sia privati sia pubblici, come ad esempio gli Spedali Civili di Brescia, il Gruppo San Donato, Humanitas e tanti altri.

Questo è un tempo di emergenza, come dimostrano le parole di medici ed operatori sanitari che parlano di una vera e propria guerra, guerra nella quale combattono a nostra difesa sia operatori privati sia operatori pubblici.

Gli operatori privati si sono impegnati a mettere a disposizione il proprio personale sanitario nelle strutture pubbliche, nonché le loro stesse strutture. Regione Lombardia ha riorganizzato la rete ospedaliera creando hub specializzati divisi per patologia e prestazione sanitaria, al fine di liberare posti per pazienti COVID-19.

IL PRIVATO FUNZIONA?   Se tutto questo è stato possibile lo si deve anche alla capacità della sanità privata di riorganizzarsi in tempi brevissimi per poter ospitare il maggior numero di pazienti provenienti dalle strutture pubbliche sommerse dall’ondata di pazienti affetti da Coronavirus, spesso fatto senza attingere a risorse pubbliche, come dimostra il nuovo reparto di terapia intensiva realizzato con donazioni private al San Raffaele di Milano. Ovviamente, la sanità privata è in prima linea anche nella gestione diretta di pazienti COVID lombardi, con circa il 30% di quest’ultimi ospitato presso strutture private.

COME LA COREA DEL SUD   Se il sistema è andato in tilt non è per colpa della competizione pubblico privato, la quale ha fatto sì che i lombardi potessero ancora usufruire di cure ospedaliere di qualità, grazie alla maggiore flessibilità della quale l’erogatore privato è portatore. Ad ulteriore prova dell’assoluta bontà dell’apporto privato nella gestione della crisi dovuta al Coronavirus, andrebbe ricordato che il sistema sud-coreano, portato da molti come modello, è costituto per la grande parte da operatori sanitari privati, e dove la ripartizione della spesa sanitaria tra pubblico e privato è quasi paritetica.

Purtroppo, restano le migliaia di morti e quindi la necessità di porsi una domanda: perché la politica lombarda non ha attuato una strategia di contenimento e di prevenzione come quella veneta, fondata su un intervento di test preventivi, che è risultata più efficace? Se finora non lo si è attuato, perché, alla luce degli evidenti risultati, ora non si procede in questa direzione?


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

5 ways to brighten your quarantine

It’s my 25th day of quarantine, and while I had very ambitious plans at the beginning, for a week or so I could barely switch my attention to anything not related to the pandemic. 

We’ve all been there: even toilet paper memes have had a touch of hysteria to them. After some time, following all the news makes you so intoxicated that you naturally forget about the small things such as cooking, exercising, reading, self-learning, and quality time with loved ones. The things that can actually help us go through this quarantine and preserve our mental health. 

Deciding to drastically limit my news intake was a life-changer. Here I’m sharing a few books and online-courses that have brightened my quarantine. 

1. Stefan Zweig, The World of Yesterday

No book ever written is likely as relevant today as Zweig’s The World of Yesterday. A literary masterpiece that emphasises the fragility of multiculturalism in Europe, a celebration of peace and a rare historical memoir of the world that is long gone, Europe before WWI. 

A few weeks ago, I decided to re-read some of its chapters, in particular, the one where Zweig describes the period of security in Europe at the end of the 19th century. This particular passage made me experience a sort of deja vu:

“The people of the time scornfully looked down on earlier epochs with their wars, famines and revolutions, as periods, when mankind had not yet come of age, and was insufficiently enlightened. Now, however, it was a mere matter of decades before they finally saw an end to evil and violence, and in those days this faith is uninterrupted, inexorable progress truly had the force of a religion.”

There is, of course, a lot more to this book. My colleague Yael Ossowski wrote an excellent and detailed review to capture your attention:

The themes of Zweig’s stories always yield hope. Universalism was key, personal liberty a calling, and culture was the grand unifier. Authority was seen to be absurd and zealous. Cosmopolitanism was both an achievable and desirable goal.

He crisscrossed the European continent meeting fellow artists, philosophers, and thinkers who would come to shape western civilization for decades to come.

It was in the cafes, theatres, and streetcars of major cities that he fell in love with the dream of Europe, a majestic collection of cultures and peoples wed together by history but bonded by a yearning for freedom.

2. The Science of Well-Being, Yale University on Coursera

The Science of Well-Being is the most popular Yale’s course of all time. At first, this fact makes you raise an eyebrow – because obviously we would all expect to see some economics or IT course topping the charts – but it turns out that “What is happiness?” remains one of the most important questions of our time.

The course’s instructor, professor of psychology Laurie Santos, reveals misconceptions about happiness, annoying features of the mind that lead us to think the way we do, and the research that can help us change. Along with various lectures and interviews, the course offers a wide array of tools to practice habits such as meditation and physical exercise. What can be a better motivation to leave a couch and put the phone aside for some time than a promise of happiness? 🙂

3. Easy-peasy apple tart!

For those of us who lack enthusiasm in the kitchen but desperately miss boulangeries and patisseries, here is a very quick apple tart recipe – it takes less than 15 minutes (plus 40 minutes in the oven).

  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • Chop apples and add some cinnamon (if you like it!)
  • Make the pastry: beat eggs, add sugar and begin whipping it becomes foamy. Then add some flour – it depends on how many eggs you use – and mix it all together until the dough becomes homogeneous. 
  • Add apples to the dough
  • Grease your baking pan and put the dough into it
  • Bake in the oven for about 40-45 mins

Et voila!

4. FitOn – Free Fitness App

Workouts are a cool way not only to improve our health but also, especially in these times, to distract ourselves from the temptation to kill time with eating. Now that most of us are only allowed to go to supermarkets, the possibility of coming out of this quarantine with a few additional kilograms is very high. As delicious as those home-made snacks are, we should resist! And the FitOn app offers free personalised workouts that can come in handy.

For those who’ve always wanted to take up yoga, Waking Up app is a perfect place to start.

5. Follow Consumer Choice Center

Our team has been working hard to continue publishing on the most heated consumer issues. Next time you feel tempted to check the news, you’re much better go on our website and get an insight into our four key policy areas: science and health, consumer goods and lifestyle regulations, digital and mobility.

It’s easy to slide into pessimism with the pandemic looming in the background, but there is nothing most of us can do about it aside from staying at home, and there are many ways we can use this opportunity to the fullest. When we look back at 2020, we will see there were plenty of reasons to be excited about the future.

In the words of the New York Times’ Bret Stephens, “Not everything was bleak. Adults read more books, paid closer attention to their spouses and children, called their ageing parents more often, made more careful choices with their money, thought more deeply about what they really wanted in life. In time, that kind of spiritual deepening will surely pay its own dividends.”


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Cigarette-style climate change graphic warnings on fuel pumps? How about NO

Are consumers prepared to be hounded at the pump for fueling up their cars?

An article published last week in BMJ, the journal of the British Medical Association, makes an argument for including “cigarette-style” warning labels on fuel pumps, airline tickets, and energy bills. The warnings would highlight the “major health impacts” of fossil fuels for both the environment and human health.

The researchers behind the article claim this strategy, borrowed from tobacco control efforts, would highlight the “harmful” effects of fossil fuels and their contribution to climate change.

Warning labels connect the abstract threat of the climate emergency with the use of fossil fuels in the here and now, drawing attention to the true cost of fossil fuels (the externalities), pictorially or quantitatively. They sensitise people to the consequences of their actions, representing nudges, designed to encourage users to choose alternatives to fossil fuels, thus increasing demand for zero-carbon renewable energy.

While there is every reason to be concerned about climate change, there is no evidence that “warning labels” on gas pumps will do anything to dissuade individuals from using their vehicles to commute to work, visit family, or run errands.

Multiple studies have shown that warning labels are not effective in changing consumer behavior. Faced with increasing warning labels on many products, including those mandated by California’s Prop 65 law that labels almost everything carcinogenic, most consumers just tune out and learn to ignore them.

Because ordinary people need fuel for their cars, it doesn’t take much imagination to see such labels easily laughed off.

Rather than informing people and attempting to shift their behavior, this measure infantilizes consumers and assumes they aren’t intelligent enough to make the connection between daily driving and climate change. And it is not as if these warnings propose any alternatives.

When it comes to tobacco, one of the largest catalysts in getting to quit has actually been innovation: vaping devices and harm reducing nicotine alternatives, not warning labels.

Innovation allows for new products to get consumers to switch to less harmful products.

Rather than trying to use warning labels that won’t work, what about educating citizens on energy alternatives that produce fewer greenhouse gases, such as nuclear energy, natural gas, or biodiesel?

If we allow creative forces and innovation to derive a solution, wouldn’t that prove to be more effective?

This may be one attempt at “nudging” people into using fewer fossil fuels, but it won’t be anywhere as effective at mitigating climate change as actual innovation. Maybe that’s what we should write on the fuel pumps.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

In Africa, a locust plague is seriously endangering food security

As Europe is dealing with Coronavirus, Africa is looking at the most devastating locust plague in decades, argues Bill Wirtz

Europeans are panic-buying in the supermarkets around the continent – toilet paper, pasta, and many other items that people fear will soon be out of stock. The retailers are being overrun, but the only real shortage is that of staffers bringing stock back into the shelves. The harvest hasn’t been bad, European toilet paper is produced in Europe, and all delivery companies need to do is work extra shifts (not bad news for the workers in these economically unstable times). In comparison to Africa, Europeans don’t need to worry about food supply.

What is happening on the African continent at the moment, surpasses the wildest nightmare of any European consumer, and should give us a moment to think about agricultural technology and crop protection.

Billions of locusts are swarming East Africa and parts of South Asia, in the worst pest swarm in 25 years. These insects eat the equivalent of their own body weight every day, giving them the potential to grow one hundredfold by the month of June. With countries such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, India, Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, and Yemen already massively affected, and the plague able to reach Turkey shortly, this crisis is set to affect a billion people by the end of spring.

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has requested aid of $138 million to tackle the crisis, but with COVID-19 paralysing Europe, it is unlikely that the issue will generate much attention in the coming weeks.

In February, China announced that it was sending experts to Pakistan to try and deploy 100,000 ducks to fight locusts. Even though ducks are known to devour more than 200 locusts a day (while chickens only eat 70), an animal-based solution remains dubious at best. A genuine way to fight this plague is chemical crop protection, more specifically insecticides. But that comes with certain political baggage.

In order to fight these insects, farmers in Africa and Asia are using insecticides such as fenitrothion and malathion. Countries such as India have imposed restrictions on these chemicals, allowing use only in times of plagues. The downside of this kind of legislation is that reduced general use creates shortages in times of need – the supply of both conventional and biopesticides is low, as demand is met on specific orders from governments and farmers. In the European Union, the use of fenitrothion and malathion is illegal in all circumstances, which excludes the possibility of quickly supplying farmers in need.

Such crop protection tools are and have long been controversial in Europe. Environmentalist groups have slandered chemicals and their manufacturers in the media, misinforming the public over safety features and the reality of farming. Without pest control, Africa and Asia would have had much more problematic food insecurities in the past. The solution lies in scientific research, and the abilities of farmers to use the tools they need.

Just last month, the Nigerian Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) approved the commercial release of genetically modified cowpea, a variety resistant to the Maruca pod borer, an insect that destroys crops. To combat locusts, genetic engineering is also an important tool: gene editing through CRISPR/Cas9 can fight locust plagues by inducing targeted heritable mutagenesis to the migratory locust. In plain English: gene-editing technology could be used to reduce the number of certain insects that eat crops in Africa and Asia. Genetic engineering will also reduce our need to use certain chemical crop protection tools, which need precise application in order not to pose a threat to human health.

In order for innovation to take place, we need to embrace scientific research, and not stigmatise the use of modern crop protection tools.

There is a growing trend in civil society advocacy that promotes using no pesticides, no synthetic fertilisers, and no genetic engineering. This approach does not reflect the reality of what farmers in many countries in the world need in order to successfully produce food.

As climate change alters areas in which certain insects are present, Europe too will be confronted with this debate in a way that will be politically uncomfortable. In that situation, the ostrich head-in-sand tactic will not be the answer.

We need bold advocates for biotechnology in the interests of farmers and consumers around the world.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Medical homegrowers are supplying the illicit market. Here’s why more policing isn’t the answer

The Consumer Choice Center’s David Clement explains how easing cannabis regulations could help personal growers enter the legal space

In less than two years, cannabis has gone from an illegal product to an essential service during a pandemic. But despite reports of increased sales as consumers stockpile for COVID-19 lockdowns, Canada’s cannabis market is struggling.

We kicked off this year with declining stock prices for licensed cultviators,
stagnant sales and rumours of a pending insolvency crisis for many mediumsized companies. The current coronavirus crisis could make this trend worse as global markets plummet.

There are a lot of reasons why Canada’s cannabis industry stumbled out of
the gate. Poor retail access, specifically Ontario; over-regulation and high tax rates. And establishing brand awareness in a market that prevents even the most modest forms of advertising and branding is challenging.

But there’s an additional factor at play: The program for growing medical
cannabis for personal use is undermining the legal market and fueling the
illicit market. Far more cannabis is being grown than medical cannabis consumers require — and some of that cannabis is being sold on the illicit
market. I’d like to propose a few potential solutions.

Breaking down the numbers

As a result of several Supreme Court rulings, medical cannabis consumers
have the constitutional right to grow their own medicine and can apply to do so through Health Canada.

The latest figures show that there are 28,869 Canadians who have their determined by Health Canada. Medical consumers are generally authorized
to consume between five and 60 grams of cannabis per day.

We don’t have national data, but general trends can be extrapolated from
provincial data. Via an access to information request, the average permit holder in Manitoba is authorized to consume 18 g/day, which entitles them to grow 88 indoor plants per year.

Quebec’s data is nearly double that of Manitoba: A 30 g/day average entitles
a medical consumer to grow 146 indoor cannabis plants each year. If we take provincial figures and forecast them on a national scale, permit
holders are growing a staggering amount of cannabis. Each indoor plant can produce between 250-600 grams per harvest, of which there are usually
three per year. One outdoor plant, with only one harvest, can yield as much
as 1.8 kg/year. A conservative estimate? The average Manitoba permit
holder could grow up to 66,000 grams (or 66 kg) of cannabis annually.

Rather than trying to arrest their way out of the problem, the government should focus on transitioning permit holder growers into the legal market

Applying that math to all Canadian permit holders would mean that in 2019, they grew an estimated 1.9 million kilograms of cannabis — approximately 158,000 kg — per month. Compare that to the legal recreational industry’s output: In August of 2019, the total amount of all legal recreational cannabis available for sale was 61,000 kg. Medical permit growers in Canada could be growing 2.5 times more cannabis than is legally available for sale in the recreational market. If Quebec’s figures are more representative of the national average, these growers would be growing 4.5 times more cannabis than is legally available.

Permit holders are growing more than then they need for personal
consumption. At 18 grams per day, a permit holder would need 6,570 grams
annually, while being permitted to produce more than 66,000 grams a year.
So where does most of the excess cannabis end up? The illicit market: York
Region Police’s recent bust showed that criminal networks were abusing the Health Canada permit process. The same thing happened
recently in Alberta, where a biker gang bust showed that illicit cannabis was grown by a Health Canada permit holder.

Either organized crime is taking advantage of Health Canada’s process, or
permit holders are enticed to sell their excess cannabis to criminals so it can be resold. This is part of the reason why the legal recreational market hasn’t truly materialized.

Increased policing isn’t the answer

But the government shouldn’t target legitimate permit holders. Doing so
would violate their constitutional rights, and would be exceptionally cruel
given how marginalized this group has historically been. Rather than trying
to arrest their way out of the problem, the government should focus on
transitioning permit holder growers into the legal market. A first step for this transition would be to restructure the regulations for growing cannabis.

Right now, licensed producers (LPs) have to comply with nearly pharmagrade regulations. Instead, they should more closely resemble food grade production standards. This would give medical permit-holders a realistic shot at earning a micro-cultivator licence and entering the legal market. It would also benefit existing producers by reducing compliance costs.

There are a few onerous barriers permit holders have to jump over that could be eased to help transition them into the legal space: The security clearance process is one, but we could also be easing facility regulations, reducing licensing fees, reducing the batch test minimum of 100 g/batch, or fast tracking the licensing and renovation amendment timelines. This would clear a path for these growers to enter the legal market and incentivize them away from the illicit market.

To say Canada’s legalization process thus far has been messy would be an
understatement. At almost every turn the government has over-regulated
the legal market, which is what keeps the illicit market thriving. Easing these heavy-handed regulations could bring more growers into the legal sphere and make for a more consumer-friendly market all around.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

War on Plastic Makes the Virus Worse

Despite the rapid spread of COVID-19, New York City is still waging its war on water bottles and plastic bags. Early last month NYC’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, signed an executive order banning the sale of water bottles at city facilities. On top of that, NYC moved to ban plastic bags at the end of February.

The first major flaw in continuing the war on plastic is that it undoubtedly makes the COVID-19 pandemic worse. For weeks, residents have been using these publicly owned facilities without the option of being able to purchase a water bottle, and have been shopping without the option of getting a plastic bag.

Both reusable bottles and reusable tote bags present a huge risk in terms of COVID-19 because eliminating them exponentially increases the number of source points for virus exposure. An exposed filling station at a community facility could rapidly spread the virus to hundreds, while it is already known that reusable bags carry significant risks for cross-contamination.

These bans are also misguided when we evaluate them in terms of environmental effect. First off, water bottles are 100 percent recyclable. All the city has to do to ensure that these bottles are disposed of properly is not wave the white flag and give up. It doesn’t make any sense to try to curb the sale of products that can be fully recycled, especially when the city has a recycling program in place.

In regards to plastic bags, conventional thinking suggests that banning plastic bags will result in people using reusable bags and that this reduction in plastic use will have a positive effect on the environment. Research from Denmark’s Ministry of the Environment actually challenged that conventional wisdom when it sought to compare the total effect of plastic bags to their reusable counterparts.

The Danish government found that alternatives to plastic bags came with significant negative environmental effects. For example, common paper bag replacements need to be reused 43 times to have the same total impact as a plastic bag. A conventional cotton bag alternative needs to be used more than 7,100 times to equal a plastic bag, while an organic cotton bag has to be reused more than 20,000 times.

We know from consumer usage patterns that the likelihood of paper or cotton alternatives being used in such a way is incredibly unlikely. These results were also confirmed with the United Kingdom’s own life-cycle assessment, which concluded that these alternatives have a significantly higher total effect on the environment.

On top of all that, these bans will ultimately do little to solve the serious problem of plastic waste in the world’s oceans and rivers. The United States as a whole contributes less than 1 percent of the world’s mismanaged plastic waste. Up to 95 percent of all plastic found in the world’s oceans comes from just 10 source rivers, which are all in the developing world.

In contrast, countries like Indonesia and the Philippines contribute 10.1 percent and 5.9 percent of the world’s mismanaged plastic. China, the world’s largest plastics polluter, accounts for 27.7 percent of the world’s mismanaged plastic.

Plastic bans might sound productive to stem plastic pollution, but the evidence doesn’t suggest that the United States is a significant contributor for mismanaged plastic, which means that a New York City ban will do little to actually reduce plastic pollution.

Good public policy should be measured on its outcomes. Banning water bottles and plastic bags makes COVID-19 exposure worse in the middle of a global pandemic, promotes alternatives that have serious negative environmental externalities, and does little to solve the issue of mismanaged plastic.

For the sake of everyone involved, Mayor de Blasio should end his war on plastics.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

The ‘Bad Boys’ of the Private Sector turn into Corona-Angels

In light of the Corona virus, businesses that are usually on the top of politicians’ lists to be taxed, regulated, nationalized, or shut down are demonstrating how much value they produce for society.

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