San Jose Bag Ban: Litter Survey Results Exaggerated!

 

Scene from downtown San Jose at City Hall
Scene from downtown San Jose at City Hall (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The city of San Jose is one of the few cities in California that conducted litter surveys before and after a plastic bag ban went into effect. The city conducted surveys of litter on city streets, creeks, and storm drains.  The city published results in a memorandum dated 20 November 2012.

Environmentalists and Bag Ban Proponents love to say that “San Jose saw an 89% reduction in plastic bag litter after the bag ban.”  However, that is not what the San Jose 1 Year results show, as stated below:

“The various litter surveys demonstrated a reduction in bag litter of approximately 89 percent in the storm drain system, 60 percent in the creeks and rivers, and 59 percent in City streets and neighborhoods, when compared to data collected from 2010 and or 2011 (pre-ordinance) to data from 2012 (post-ordinance).” (Romanov, 2012)

Stating that San Jose saw an 89% reduction in plastic bag litter deceitfully overstates the 59% reduction in plastic bag litter found on San Jose city streets and sidewalks; and the 60% reduction in plastic bag litter found in creeks and rivers.

Not only are environmentalists hyping the wrong number, the number itself is based upon a reduction of 71 fewer plastic bags found in 22 storm drain catch basins and hardly the kind of number to be tossed around.

Environmentalists and Bag Ban Proponents should be using the 59% reduction in plastic bags on streets and sidewalks instead of the 89% reduction in storm drains. 

Bibliography

Romanov, K. (2012, November 20). Bring Your Own Bag Ordinance Implementation Results and Actions To Reduce EPS Foam Food Ware. Retrieved August 12, 2013, from City of San Jose: http://www3.sanjoseca.gov/clerk/CommitteeAgenda/TE/20121203/TE20121203_d5.pdf

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