Better understanding of the big picture
It's not as simple as banning single-use plastics. It requires understanding the full life cycle of our products.
Banning some single-use products might make consumers feel like they are doing their part in the short-term, but we need to look at the entire life cycle of a product. If the replacement to the plastic product is worse for the environment in the long-term, this does not provide a viable or sustainable solution.
A 2016 study updating the research conducted by Trucost for the United Nations Environmental Programme in 2014 shows that the environmental cost of alternatives to plastic packaging is 3.8 times higher when taking into account increased environmental impacts of manufacturing, transportation, end-of-life recovery, etc. This finding is not surprising, given the original drivers for using plastics: lightweight, energy efficient, mouldable, durable and cost-effective.
Trucost did identify ways to reduce the environmental costs of plastics, including:
Improve transportation fuel efficiency
Increase the use of lower carbon energy in plastics manufacturing
More efficient plastic packaging design for beverage and food sectors
Improve plastic waste collection and management in Asia
Increase packaging recycling and energy recovery