As of 2014, the decision to allow or ban plastic bags is a contested issue without clear answers. Proponents of a ban argue that allowing plastic bags creates excessive waste and harms the environment, while opponents claim that banning plastic bags infringes freedom and does little to reduce waste.
Several cities in the United States, including San Francisco and San Diego, and the entire Republic of Ireland have already banned plastic bags as of 2014. Instead of the disposable plastic bags, residents of these areas carry their groceries and other items in reusable bags typically made of cloth. Shoppers generally must purchase reusable bags and carry them to and from the store.