Is it time to start bringing our own bags with us when we shop? It has become a trend across the country for people to bring their own reusable bags with them when they shop for groceries or other items. It is generally more friendly for the environment, and some people are happy to do their part. But should it be a function of government to tell us what kind of bags we can and can’t use? California has been plastic bags, and now New Jersey is looking at similar legislation. A bill under consideration in the Garden State would ban not just plastic bags, but paper bags as well. Shoppers would have to bring their own. That is how they do it in many European countries, and people there have accepted that. But in many cases these single use bags aren’t single use at all. They are often used to line garbage cans in people’s homes. And in La Crosse, plastic bags, perhaps used only once, are thrown in the trash. But they are then burned at the French Island incinerator and used to make electricity. And plastic bags may not be that environmentally friendly. A study of California’s bag ban found that a reusable cotton tote would have to be used 131 times to be as friendly to the environment as plastic bags, given the energy and emissions used to produce them. And while stores in that state can’t hand out plastic bags, people can still buy them in stores. In California, sales of small plastic garbage bags surged once the ban took effect in grocery stores. A better plan would be to let individual stores decide what types of bags to use, and shoppers can determine whether they want to shop there or somewhere else.