Monthly Archives: April 2013

Plastic Bag Ban Creates New Welfare Benefit

Local ordinances that implement plastic carryout bag bans are very similar from one community to the next.  The ordinances ban the distribution of plastic carryout bags and impose a fee of 10 or 25 cents on paper bags to discourage paper bag use and encourage the use of reusable shopping bags.

One of the more interesting parts of the ordinance is the exemption granted to families that participate in the California Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) or in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) also known as the Food Stamp program.  Participants in these programs are allowed to receive free paper bags when they shop; whereas, all others must purchase paper bags or purchase and use reusable bags.  In addition, participants may be eligible for free reusable bags at the option of the store. Continue reading Plastic Bag Ban Creates New Welfare Benefit

Plastic Bag Ban Creates New Administrative Regulatory Burdens

Local ordinances that implement plastic carryout bag bans are very similar from one community to the next.  The ordinances ban the distribution of plastic carryout bags and impose a fee of 10 or 25-cents on paper bags to discourage paper bag use and encourage the use of reusable shopping bags.

In addition to regulating bag use, the ordinances have annual or quarterly reporting provisions that require stores in the jurisdiction and subject to the ordinance to report the number of paper carryout bags issued and the amount of money collected for providing paper carryout bags.  In addition the store must summarize the efforts undertaken to promote the use of reusable bags in the previous quarter.   In other words, a new regulatory burden is created for the store that adds to the cost of doing business.  The regulatory burden continues indefinitely or until the ordinance is no longer in effect or until the city directs that quarterly reporting cease.

On the city’s side, the quarterly reports must processed and evaluated and statistics developed to determine if the goals of the ordinance are being met.  Of course, annual reports to the city manager and the city council will also be made.  In addition, there are inspections of stores to determine that they are indeed complying with the ordinance. 

Every store that is regulated by the ordinance will experience an increase in regulatory costs, which will have to be recovered from customers through higher food and merchandise prices. 

In addition, the jurisdiction that implemented the Plastic Bag Ban will also incur thousands of dollars of costs annually in order to administer the ordinance.  To spend thousands of taxpayer dollars to administer an ordinance that controls the type of bags residents use to carry groceries home from the supermarket is wasteful and plain stupid.  Those tax dollars could be better spent fixing pot holes on city streets.

Pro-Choice on Shopping Bags

One of my primary objections to plastic carryout bag bans is that it imposes someone else’s solution to a perceived problem on everyone else.  It does so, by banning plastic carryout bags and imposing a fee of 10 or 25 cents on paper bags to coerce the customer into using reusable shopping bags.  While customers can always bring their own bags of any type, including plastic carryout bags, to the store to take their purchases home, the stores are only allowed to sell paper bags or reusable bags to the customer.    Continue reading Pro-Choice on Shopping Bags

Plastic Bag Ban and Shoplifting

In an article titled “Store owners say plastic bag ban causes more shoplifting“ author Casey McNerthey (Seattle PI, 28 February 2013) reports that Seattle store owners have reported thousands of dollars in merchandise losses.  The losses are blamed on  thieves with reusable bags who are harder to track and monitor.  The highest losses reported occurred in stores in low income areas with many homeless and transients.

Continue reading Plastic Bag Ban and Shoplifting

Plastic Bags Today And Bottled Water Tomorrow

Many people may wonder why, after retirement, I chose to become involved in fighting the plastic bag ban.  The answer is rather simple.  Had our government leaders just banned plastic bags because of the litter issue and reported harm to marine wildlife, I would have simply gone along with it.  But instead, they crossed the line when the ordinances imposed a fee on paper bags in order to coerce you into purchasing and using a reusable bag.  When the government through force of law tells you to use a certain kind of shopping bag to take your purchases home from the store, you know you have lost a little bit more of freedom and individual liberty.  That little bit of freedom was fought for by men and women from the founding of our nation to the present time, whose blood was spilled to preserve our nation and the precious freedom and liberty we enjoy.  Continue reading Plastic Bags Today And Bottled Water Tomorrow

Do Californians Really Use 20 Billion Plastic Bags Per Year?

How often have you heard proponents of plastic carry out bag bans say that Californian’s use 20 billion plastic carry out bags per year or 531 bags per capita.  Have you ever  asked yourself the following questions:

  • Where did this number comes from?
  • How is this number is calculated?
  • Is the number is reasonable?
  • Is there a more reasonable number?

Continue reading Do Californians Really Use 20 Billion Plastic Bags Per Year?

Is a Plastic Carry Out Bag Ban Justified?

Many communities all across California have either banned plastic carryout bags altogether or are somewhere in the process of doing so.  Environmental extremists have pushed for a plastic carryout bag ban in community after community based primarily upon claims of environmental damage to marine wildlife and marine habitats. 

Continue reading Is a Plastic Carry Out Bag Ban Justified?

Shopping will cost more with Plastic Bag Ban

Protecting the environment from plastic carryout bags is going to make your shopping a lot more expensive.  If community leaders have their way, a plastic bag ban is in your future.

A plastic bag ban normally involves a ban on plastic carryout bags and a fee of 10 or 25-cents on paper bags.  The fee is intended to coerce you to purchase and use reusable bags.

Continue reading Shopping will cost more with Plastic Bag Ban

Disposal of Plastic Carryout Bags

Disposal of plastic carryout bags requires care to prevent bags from becoming windblown litter.  The following are some helpful suggestions:

  • Recycle plastic carryout bags through the Recycle Bin at the Grocery Store.
  • If your Recycling Bin at the Grocery Store allows for recycling of plastic bags and wraps other than plastic carryout bags, take advantage of this by recycling clean plastic bags and wraps as follows:
    • Clean produce bags
    • Bread Bags
    • Newspaper bags
    • Dry cleaning bags
    • Wraps from toilet paper, paper towels, diapers, water bottles, etc.
  • If your curbside recycling bin allows plastic bags and wraps be sure to follow directions from your waste management company.  Some companies require plastic bags and wraps to be put in a clear plastic bag and securely tied.
  • Never dispose of an empty single plastic carryout bag in a trashcan in a public area.  If you cannot avoid this, then simply tie the empty bag is a knot to prevent it from becoming windblown litter.
  • When disposing of multiple carryout bags use one of the bags to contain the others, and drop off at a recycling container in a nearby grocery store or take home for recycling.  If you cannot avoid disposal in a public trashcan, be sure the bundle is heavy enough to prevent it from becoming windblown litter.

Remember, All of us have the responsibility to keep the environment free of litter!

Landfill Impacts of Banning Plastic Carryout Bags

There are many who want to ban plastic carryout bags to help protect the environment, but have never thought through the consequences.  One California state legislator stated “the amount of plastics going into the waste stream is pretty large.”  What this legislator does not know is that the Plastic Carryout Bag Ban that he favored has unintended consequences that will make matters worse.

A ban typically involves banning plastic carryout bags and charging a fee for each paper bag issued.  The fee is intended to motivate the consumer to use reusable bags.  The basic idea is that a reusable bag,  because you use it over and over, has a smaller impact on the environment than a plastic bag. Continue reading Landfill Impacts of Banning Plastic Carryout Bags