When discussing the flaws with one-use plastic bags, the misconception that they can "simply be recycled" frequently is brought up. While recycling certainly can be better than simply throwing the bags away, it's not the conscience-clearing solution that some people wish.
First of all, only 3% of plastic bags produced end up being recycled. With 100 billion plastic bags used each year in America, that leaves 97 billion bags unaccounted for. Even if half of all plastic bags used in the United States were recycled, we'd still have 50 billion bags a year to worry about.
Recycling plastic bags does not pay for those behind the recycling process, either. It costs $4000 to recycle enough plastic to make $32 worth of plastic bags. The economics simply don't add up to give financial incentive to recycle the product. Perhaps due to this, companies are deciding to simply ship the bags to different nations with more lax environmental laws, where they are simply burned instead.
It's too easy to assume that because recycling is usually a good thing to do, it applies to everything. Don't assume! And just as important: Don't let your friends assume either!