It is the focus a fiery debate: reusable vs. plastic. Plastic bags are a red-hot issue for the green movement.
Andy Keller wants people to understand why using plastic bags is terrible for the environment. People call him the Bag Monster because he has taped hundreds of bags to his body and has hundreds more trailing behind him. He is traveling the country looking this way. Keller is on the last leg of his cross-country tour to show Americans just how many plastic bags they use in a year and in a lifetime.
"Most people are just in a robot mode, where they're not even thinking about it. They buy something, it comes in a bag, they walk out, and there's not even a thought about all the resources that went into creating that bag, and the litter and pollution that is created once that bag is thrown away," says Keller.
San Francisco banned plastic bags in 2007. Since then, similar restrictions have been considered elsewhere and results have been mixed.
In January, Washington, D.C. started charging consumers five cents for plastic bags.
A statewide ban in California recently failed in that state's senate.
The American Chemistry Council, which represents plastics manufacturers, among others, says bans aren't the only option, and like anything else, education is key.
"Consumers re-use their plastic bag for things like carrying things like lunches, wet shoes in a suitcase, or for pet duty. But recycling is something that once people understand how easy it is, they start doing it," says Steve Russell with the American Chemistry Council.
A proposal to ban plastic bags at grocery stores and dry cleaners here in San Antonio has hit a dead end. But there may still be some action at the state level. State Representative Rafael Anchia is proposing adding a seven cent tax per bag. He hopes the tax will spur more to choose biodegradable paper bags, or better yet, reusable bags.