How People Describe their Experience with the Plastic Bag Ban in the US
How People Describe their Experience with the Plastic Bag Ban in the US
Plastic bags have always been considered convenient, cheap, and hygienic in our daily lives, especially when we check out at grocery stores. After using plastic bags for many years, its consequences start to float out on the surface as a result. The topic for this project is how people describe their experience with the plastic bag ban movement in the US. The proposed issue is crucial because plastic bags and other plastic products have adverse effects on the environment. For instance, disposed of plastic bags and products can easily wind up in rivers, storm drains, and oceans, creating massive floating patches of garbage and threatening marine life (Zeitlin, 2019). White pollution (refers to plastic pollution) is an excellent example of the negative outcome of using plastic bags.
The continued use of plastic materials has resulted in the death of marine life who suffocate after accidentally eating plastic bags that are disposed into the ocean. Up to 80 percent of ocean plastic pollution enters the ocean from land, at least 267 different species have been affected by plastic pollution in the sea (Guern, 2019). Numerous state governments have sensed the urgent of imposing a plastic bag ban and started acting on it like Washington DC. However, the free use of plastic bags is still prevalent in many states like Arizona today. This research is vital as it will help in developing a better understanding of the views of the general public regarding the plastic bag ban in the USA. The project will provide the researcher with a platform to get accurate feedback from the people on the move to ban plastic bag use recently witnessed in several states across the U.S. The research will also help in observing the causal relationship between the ban on plastic bags and the reduction of plastic pollution.
The study in inductive research and will utilize grounded theory to develop new themes from the data collected (Tie, Birks & Francis, 2019). The study aims to advance, expand, and refine a body of knowledge to establish facts or reach new conclusions on the perception and impact of plastic bags ban in the U.S. The study will be twofold. That is, the researcher will start by developing an overview of public views and behavior regarding plastic bags ban in the USA. From the results, the researcher will determine the following outcomes. First, the positive impact of the plastic bag ban on the environment. Second, the causal relationship between plastic bags bans and increased use of reusable bags. Lastly, the economic impact of plastic bags ban. The research intends to answer the question: what is the effect of plastic bags ban on individuals, the environment, and the economy? The study assumes that people will increase the use of reusable bags for shopping after the implementation of plastic bags ban policies.
Policy implementation on the use of plastic shopping bags is rapidly increasing globally. This is in the attempt to address the problems associated with waste accumulation, energy implications, and resource waste resulting from excess deposition of plastic materials in the environment. Several countries have implemented the ban on plastic bags, including China, Bangladesh, India, and South Africa among other countries. According to The Third Pole (2018), Bangladesh implemented the plastic bag ban in the capital city of Dhaka, which later expanded to the entire country after plastic bags clogged city drains, resulting in two floods. This was the same situation in Mumbai, where the Indian government banned plastic bags in response to drainage problems. Similarly, China implemented a nation-wide ban on the use of plastic bags in supermarkets and shops due to the environmental pollution resulting from the use of plastic bags (China Development Brief, 2019). As an outcome, everyone in China uses reusable bags instead of plastic bags. The European Union passed legislation in 2015 aiming to reduce the use of plastic bags in half by 2019 and a half again by 2025 New York Times (2018). France, for instance, banned the single-use of plastic bags and intends to impose more strict bans soon.
In the United States, legislative changes have occurred at city levels. For example, the San Jose City Council implemented a policy banning single-use plastic bags in retail shops. The city of Oakland, Fairfax, Malibu, and Washington have also implemented a ban on the use of plastic bags (Zeitlin, 2019). However, several legislations have failed setting drawback to plastic ban. For example, Missouri, in a legislature in 2015 ban cities and counties within the state from implementing plastic bags bans. Currently, the approach on plastic ban in the U.S. focuses on the efforts to increase recycling rates rather than reducing consumer use, which according to Zeitlin (2019), is a lenient approach regarding the harmful impact plastic bags have in the environment.
Research by Guern (2019) on the perceptions of the ban on plastic bag use indicates that people are more likely to adopt greener choices, unlike in the past decades. This is because people are becoming more aware of the adverse impact plastic bags have in the environment. Modern lifestyles contribute to a broad range of problems that compromise the integrity of the situations in which we work, play, and live. The increasing impact of lifestyle choices on the environment has resulted in the creation of movements like “Go Green,” the “Greener Choice,” and the “Green Market” to create awareness on environmental conservations. Today, single-use plastic bags continue to be a significant challenge in America, with many citizens using plastic bags daily. Nonetheless, widespread reduction in the use of plastic bags to the increased use of reusable bags for shopping can help in introducing a more sustainable consumption pattern among American citizens.
Proposed Data Collection Methods
The primary data collection method will be the use of semi-structured interviews to collect data on the perception of the public on the movement of the plastic bag in the United States. The study will recruit participants from various states about their opinions on the ban of plastic bags. Creswell and Poth (2013) state that grounded theory studies should recruit diverse and dispersed populations to obtain contextual data that are useful in developing categories in the axial coding phase of the study. The reason for adopting an interview methodology is because the research is qualitative and intends to capture the attitudes of the public which is only possible through interviews. Merriam and Tisdell (2015) suggest that qualitative studies often use semi-structured interviews to collect data. Interview questions will include exploratory and causal research questions to examine different views of citizens on the ban of plastic bags. The meetings will take place in the large grocery stores in various states in the United States including individuals in states that implement plastic ban policies and those that do not implement the ban.
The strategy and the diversity of participants will help to obtain a comprehensive overview of the perceptions of the public on the increased call to ban the use of plastic bags for shopping. Edwards and Holland (2013) suggest that qualitative interviews are vital in developing a richer understanding due to the personal interaction between the researcher and participants. Semi-structured interviews allow researchers to capture information that is difficult to record, such as changing the attitude or facial expressions that can add to the quality and accuracy of the collected data. Semi-structured interviews provide researchers with a more flexible approach such that the interviewer can quickly changer questions if the current item does not capture accurate or relevant information (Edwards & Holland, 2013). Therefore, the use of structured interview will help in obtaining reliable data that reflect the population of the United States.
The study will adopt a stratified purposeful sampling method. That is, collecting data from different sub-groups in terms of age, gender, and use of plastic bags. The study will divide and compare data from young adults (25-35), middle-aged (36-44), and older adults (45-65). The research will also collect and analyze data from individuals with high income, those with middle income, and those from low-income populations. The study will compare data from male and female participants. The study will compare the attitudes between people who use plastic bags and those using reusable bags. Lastly, the will compare the opinions of participants who use taxed plastic bags and those who use non-taxed plastic bags from the cities of DC and Boston.
The sampling strategy will help in recruiting participants that accurately reflect active purchasers in public. The approach will ensure that each sub-group within the population receives a proper presentation and allow the researcher to take control of the subgroups to ensure a similar presentation in the sampling. Likewise, purposeful sampling allows the researcher to recruit participants whose data can be generalized to the entire population (Palinkas et al., 2015). This will help to improve the quality of the results and justify the implication of the findings to the general public. Purposeful sampling will be vital in reducing the cost of the study. According to Palinkas et al. (2015), purposeful sampling provides researchers with flexible schedules to save time and financial resources during data collection. Therefore, purposeful stratified sampling will be most appropriate to achieve the purpose of the study.
Proposed Analysis Methods
The study will adopt a content analysis method. According to Drisko and Maschi (2015), content analysis helps identify patterns form written, visual, or recorded data. Content analysis will help to interpret and understand the patterns of public opinion regarding the ban on plastic bags. Content analysis will help the study to understand the attitudes or reasons behind the views of the respective participants. The method will also help in identifying different patterns of opinions among different sub-groups that will be used in the study. The analysis method will also help in capturing the communication flow and responses of various participants regarding the ban on plastic bags.
The analysis process will start with reading the first interview transcript to identify relevant comments, observations, or queries. Using content analysis, the researcher will examine all the transcripts to determine and compare pertinent patterns of the responses to develop categories (Noble & Smith, 2013). The researcher will categorize the data into sub-groups and identify common patterns across the groups. The researcher will saturate the types by identifying instances that represent the category and continue looking through the transcripts until the new information obtained does not provide further insight into the group (Creswell & Poth, 2013). The researcher will identify common patterns with the aid of Athelstan computer software and AntConc software (Anthony, 2019: Athel, 2019). After the development of set categories, the researcher will recognize a single category from the open coding as the central phenomenon of interest. For example, opinions on plastic bags ban. Then the researcher will return to the identified groups to select the categories that relate to the central phenomenon of interest to determine the causal relationship (Creswell & Poth, 2013). In this case, the researcher will identify categories like plastic bag ban effect, consumption behavior effect, and waste management tax effect.
Next, the researcher will use the MALLET software top organize the information form the coding phase into a coding paradigm that presents a theoretical model of the opinions and attitudes of American citizens on the movement of banning the use of plastic bags for shopping (McCallum, 2019). The theory will help in identifying new themes and propositions relating to the opinions of American citizens and the plastic bag ban effect, consumption behavior effect, and waste management tax effect. Lastly, the researcher will conduct a broad level of analysis by developing a conditional matrix. The conditional model will help in visualizing the causal relationship between the opinions of the public regarding the plastic bag ban in the U.S and its impact on plastic bag ban, consumption behavior, and waste management tax. However, the use of a conditional matrix will be optional during the study process.
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