Today, the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) advises consumers to cast a skeptical eye on environmental activists’ claims that reusable or cotton bags are a sustainable alternative to plastic bags. Research shows that reusable bags have a larger carbon footprint, taking much more energy to produce than the recyclable, take-away plastic bags.

J. Justin Wilson, CCF’s Senior Research Analyst, released the following statement:

There are plenty of tangible things people can do to help the environment, but switching to reusable bags is not one of them. In reality, the issue is far more complicated. A Wall Street Journal report determined that a single reusable bag has a carbon footprint 28 times higher than a plastic bag. For most Americans, the carbon footprint of a single cross-country flight is greater than the footprint of all the plastic bags they'll ever use. And retailers are making it easier for shoppers to recycle their plastic bags by placing convenient recycling bins in front of stores.

Feel good policies oftentimes fall flat, and in this case, the push to ban or tax plastic bags will introduce myriad unintended consequences. If you really want to be Earth-friendly commit to carpooling this year or, better yet, take public transportation. Don’t trash your plastic bags, reuse and recycle them.