In the study of economics, negative externalities are representative of the fact that cost of a good to society is greater than the cost the consumer is paying for it. A primary example of a negative externality prevalent in society is smoking. Cigarettes cost a minimal amount to produce, and were originally extremely affordable. However, over time the government became aware of the significant health risks associated with smoking as well as the dangers of second hand smoke. As a result, the government began to impose significant taxes onto packs of cigarettes to compensate for the enormous health costs produced by smoking. These measures were widely enacted as early as 1950, and have since grown to represent a nation wide stand against cigarettes. As society has become more progressive and environmentally conscious, the effects of pollution have become painfully visible.
One of the biggest offenders contributing to the global pollution crisis is plastic disposable bags. Their production releases dangerous toxins into the air, and they are rarely disposed of correctly, often winding up in bodies of water, exterminating a tremendous amount of animals that mistakenly get caught in or try to eat them. As a result, many local governments have passed laws that charge customers a small fee for every disposable bag they use. This, like the cigarette tax, is put in place to help governments deal with the significant cost that comes in attempting to clean up the environmental disaster that has been created with the prevalence of disposable plastic bags. Environmentally friendly reusable bags are instrumental in saving both the earth and your wallet from the costs of disposable plastic bags. They can survive many uses, and wear well to accommodate the demands of everyday life. There is no reason in our modern world to continue to intentionally harm the environment when the alternative is such an all around better solution.