Bag Ban Proponents like to point out that the recycling rate for plastic carryout bags is 5% or less and that because of the low recycling rate, plastic carryout bags should be banned.
Bag Ban Proponents totally miss the point. When plastic carryout bags are reused as trash bags, waste can liners, to pick up pet litter, dispose of kitchen grease, dispose of dirty diapers, or the myriad of other uses and end up in the landfill filled with trash, they cannot be recycled. Bag Ban Proponents appear to have a particularly difficult time comprehending this simple fact. Continue reading Plastic Bag Recycling Rate – A Non-Issue→
On November 5, 2013 voters in Durango, Colorado voted to overturn the Carryout Bag Fee Ordinance by a vote of 2,674 to 2087 or 56.16% to 43.84%.
In August, 2013 the Durango City Council voted 4-1 to adopt an ordinance that places a 10-cent fee on both paper and plastic bags distributed by the city’s three grocers and any other business that chooses to opt-in. Under the ordinance, the 10-cent fee on paper and plastic carryout bags is collected by the retailer with 50% going to the city. The funds collected by the city can only be used for environmental projects. (Hurst, 2013) The fee was intended to encourage shoppers to purchase and use reusable bags instead of paper and plastic disposable carryout bags. (Slothrower, 2013) Continue reading Carryout Bag Fee Overturned By Voters In Durango, Colorado→
The movement to ban plastic carryout bags is growing as more and more California communities enact single-use bag ordinances. These ordinances are very similar to one another and go beyond banning plastic carryout bags to implementing a very specific solution. This solution attempts to change the shopping paradigm where shoppers supply their own reusable bags rather than receive store supplied disposable bags to carry their purchases. To ensure that consumer behavior is changed, retailers are required by the local ordinance to charge a minimum fee for each paper bag issued.
By implementing a specific solution, mandated by the government, innovation is stifled and businesses are no longer free to pursue alternative solutions that are in their best interests. Government officials and their staffs simply do not have the expertise and time to investigate alternative solutions to solve the underlying problem or have the motivation to improve retailer customer service, therefore the government mandated solution locks an inadequate and antiquated solution into place. Furthermore, freedom of choice on both the part of retailers and consumers is unnecessarily sacrificed, restricted, and infringed.
As more and more communities pass ordinances to ban plastic carryout bags, a key question remains: Are these bag bans successful? Proponents of bag bans are quick to point out that once the bags are banned, fewer plastic bags will be found as litter in the environment. Of course, that is true. If the use of plastic carryout bags is sharply reduced by a bag ban then the quantity of plastic carryout bags found as litter will be similarly reduced and reflected in litter surveys. But does that single measurement signify the success of the ban? Or are there other factors that must be considered before a bag ban can be declared a success? In this paper we will look at this question and attempt to provide a reasonable answer.