A 2018 study by the Danish Ministry of Environment and Food looked not just at plastic waste, but also at climate-change damage, ozone depletion, human toxicity and other indicators. It found you must reuse an organic cotton shopping bag 20,000 times before it will have less climate damage than a plastic bag.
If we use the same shopping bag every single time we go to the store, twice every week, it will still take 191 years before the overall environmental effect of using the cotton bag is less than if we had just used plastic.
Even a simple paper bag requires 43 reuses to be better for the environment – far beyond the point at which the bag will be fit for the purpose.
The study clearly shows that a simple plastic bag, reused as a trash bag, has the smallest environmental impact of any of the choices.
Don’t bother the Gaia-worshippers with facts — they’ve made up their minds.