Sample Letter Opposing Bag Ban and Carryout Bag Fees

Assembly Member <Enter name Here>

I am requesting that you vote NO on any plastic bag ban or bag fee.  A plastic bag ban is worse for the environment than the status quo.  Currently, under the Clean Water Act and the local Total Maximum Daily Loads program, trash excluder or capture devices are being installed in storm drain catch basins or outfalls.  This will capture and prevent trash including plastic bags from getting into creeks and rivers and flow to the ocean.  80% of plastic in the ocean comes from land based sources via the storm drain; hence, trash excluders will prevent most bags from reaching the ocean.  While the solution is not 100%, a 100% solution is not required since not all plastic bags are banned.  Furthermore, reusable bags are not all recyclable.  The more common reusable bags will be deposited in the landfill at end of life.  Furthermore, when you calculate the effect on the landfill as result of banning plastic carryout bags, you will find that more than four times as much material goes into the landfill as a result of a bag ban than before the ban.  For every ton of plastic carryout bags that are dumped in the landfill before the ban, more than 4 tons of plastic bags, paper bags, reusable bags, replacement bags (purchased to replace plastic carryout bags for pet litter or bin liners) and other plastic that is currently recycled through the At-Store Recycle bins (produce bags, bread bags, newspaper bags, wrap from toilet paper, paper towels, etc.) will be dumped in the landfill.

Because of known health hazards, consumers have to wash bags.  Many bags cannot be machine washed and machine dried and must be hand washed in the sink and hung up to dry (Most people no longer have cloth lines).    When you look at the effort it takes to wash bags, it  turns out it is cheaper to buy the “cheap” reusable bags and replace them every couple of months.  You will be dollars ahead and don’t have to concern yourself with the expense and time required to wash bags.  Since these cheaper reusable bags are not recyclable due to a lack of recycling infrastructure, they will end up in the landfill.  A reusable bag can weigh as much as 30 plastic bags.  So stores make money on every reusable bag you buy, and love to sell you more.  Hence, a proliferation of bags will result that will adversely impact the landfill.  

Of course people could always purchase their own plastic carryout bags or T-Shirt bags at Amazon.Com for $25 for a thousand bags. 

Trash TMDLs are the way to keep plastic bags and other plastic debris harmful to marine wildlife out of creeks, rivers, and oceans.  Improved recycling facilities and infrastructure are the correct solutions to resolving environmental issues with plastic carryout bags.

Please vote NO on any legislation that bans or taxes plastic carryout bags.