Monthly Archives: January 2014

Plastic Bags – Greener Than Alternatives

Plastic BagThe main reason policy makers give for banning plastic carryout bags is because of the litter impact of these bags upon the environment.  Yet, plastic bags comprise at most a miniscule 0.6% of roadside litter;  Whereas, Fast Food litter comprises 29.1% of roadside litter.  Despite the litter impact of plastic carryout bags, plastic bags produce fewer greenhouse gases than paper or cotton bags.  Plastic bags require 70% less energy to manufacture than paper bags.  Plastic bags take less than 4% of the water needed to manufacture paper bags.  Plastic bags generate up to 80% less waste than paper bags.  It takes 7 trucks to deliver paper bags and only 1 truck for the same number of plastic bags.  Furthermore, it takes 91% less energy to recycle a pound of plastic than a pound of paper.

To justify banning plastic grocery bags in favor of paper or reusable bags with their higher environmental footprints, bag ban proponents rely on reusing a bag multiple times in order for its overall environmental impact to be less than a plastic carryout bag on a per use basis.  The concept expressed in Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs) is that because there would be fewer reusable bags in circulation and since each bag is used multiple times that an environmental advantage is achieved over the use of plastic carryout bags.  However, there are some flaws in this concept.

To learn more click on the following link: Plastic Bags – Greener Than Alternatives

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Stop Statewide Plastic Bag Ban – Contact Your Legislator

Sacramento_Capitol_BuildingCalifornia State Legislators are at it again.  Although past efforts to pass a plastic grocery bag ban by the state legislature have failed, it may be different this time.  AB 158 and SB 405 are going through the legislature.  We urge you to contact your state legislators in the California Senate and Assembly.  Let them know you oppose a statewide plastic bag ban.

Click on the following link: Find Your California Representative

Some Talking Points Follow:

Plastic bag litter (all sorts of plastic bags) comprise only 0.6% or roadside litter.  In comparison, fast food litter is 29.1% of roadside litter.  A plastic bag ban will at most eliminate 0.6% of roadside litter leaving the other 99.4% waiting to be picked up.  A plastic bag ban will not reduce litter and make for a cleaner city.

AB 158 and SB 405 is not equally applied to all residents.  AB 158 and SB 405 creates two different classes of shoppers, one class that is able to receive free paper bags and another class that is required to pay for paper bags.  AB 158 and SB 405 creates a new welfare benefit for WIC and SNAP participants.  The benefit is provided at the expense of shoppers who pay for paper bags or at the expense of the retailer who will pass the cost of free paper bags on to all shoppers. 

The indirect cost of plastic shopping bags for a family of four is less than $20 per year.  The cost of paper bags at 10-cents each is about $78.00 per year.  The cost of reusable bags is about $250 per year when you include both out of pocket expenses and the cost of a person’s time in handle bags including the time required to wash reusable bags.

Plastic bag bans end up with cutting down more trees for paper bags and actually increase the amount of plastic, paper, and reusable bags ending up in the landfill.  In fact, a bag ban increases the amount of material (plastic, paper, and reusable bags) headed for the landfill by as much as factor of four.

Furthermore, based on plastic bag ban results in Santa Monica and San Jose, shoppers rejected reusable bags by choosing paper bags or no bags over reusable bags by a ratio of two-to-one.  Clearly, using reusable bags is the wrong solution.

Paper Bag Fee Setting A Bad Precedent

California_State_Capitol_Building256The paper bag fee sets a dangerous and illogical precedent.  Paper bags from the paper aisle are taxed at the check stand, but paper carryout bags purchased at the check stand to hold your groceries are not taxable.  Furthermore, the fee paid for paper carryout bags subsidizes the free paper bags provided to certain low income groups, providing a powerful argument that the fee is a tax instead.  So far court rulings have stated that the paper bag fee is not a tax since the fees are retained and used by a private party.  Under current court rulings, a state or local government jurisdiction can enact a statute or ordinance which requires payment of fees to a private party and then dictate how the moneys are spent by the private party and as long as no monies are remitted to the state or local jurisdiction then the scheme completely bypasses constitutional tax limitations and constitutional protection of citizens from a continual barrage of new taxes and fees.

To read the entire article click on the link: Paper Bag Fee Setting A Bad Precedent

 

Huntington Beach – Bag Ban Repeal Effort Begins

Huntington Beach CA USAA real estate agent, Frank LoGrasso, a 28-year resident of Huntington Beach, is spearheading the attempt to overturn the city’s ban on plastic bags and fee on paper bags.  LoGrasso is a proponent of the free market and views the local ordinance as an unwanted intrusion by the local government particularly when the ordinance dictates how a business is to treat their customers.  Lo Grasso has no problem with stores charging a fee for paper bags, but he believes that the ordinance fixes the price and takes competition out of it.  (Carpio, 2013)

To overturn the local ordinance, Lo Grasso and supporters will have to collect signatures from 10% of the registered voters in Huntington Beach for a total of 10,940 valid signatures.  To ensure that enough signatures qualify an attempt will be made to collect 15,000 signatures. (Carpio, 2013) Continue reading Huntington Beach – Bag Ban Repeal Effort Begins

How To Fight Back Against Bag Bans

 

English: First page of Constitution of the Uni...
English: First page of Constitution of the United States Česky: První strana originálu Ústavy Spojených států amerických Español: La página primera de la Constitución de los Estados Unidos de América (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A number of readers have recently asked the question, “what can we do to fight back against bag bans?”  In response, we developed a paper titled “How To Fight Back Against Bag Bans” that list steps that most citizens can take.  It is important to recognize that proponents of bag bans including politicians, are under a very powerful and emotional spell of political correctness where being seen as “green” is more important than facts or the truth.  Which means, that no matter what you say, they will ignore it.  The only thing that these politicians understand is a lawsuit, a recall election, or a citizen’s initiative to overturn the bag ban.

So what can you do to fight back?  First, you got to involve yourself in the battle.  Are you willing to spend personal time?  If so, click on the following link: How To Fight Back Against Bag Bans.

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San Jose Bag Ban Doesn’t Make a Dent in Litter

Despite a bag ban for two years in the City of San Jose, litter is still a prevalent problem.  While it is true, fewer retail store plastic carryout bags are observed, litter and unregulated plastic bags is still a very visible problem.  On the website: http://js-politicsandburacracy.blogspot.com/2013/12/san-jose-bag-ban-almost-two-years-later.html one San Jose resident posted photos of litter in San Jose.  This is worthwhile seeing if you think that a plastic carryout bag ban will reduce litter in your area.

Here are two videos of litter in San Jose.  The first is from Tully Road East to Coyote Creek and the second is from Coyote Creek Trailhead Tully Road to Stonegate.

In neighboring Campbell, in which the bag ban will not go into effect until 27 January 2014, there is virtually no plastic bag litter and very little litter.  Photos are shown in the following article: http://js-politicsandburacracy.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2014-01-01T00:00:00-08:00&updated-max=2015-01-01T00:00:00-08:00&max-results=1

This video is taken in Campbell, CA.  Campbell Park and Los Gatos Creek Trail Southbound to San Thomas Expressway.  The entire route is virtually trash free.

This video is taken in Santa Clara, from Scott Blvd southbound to El Camino Real eastbound to Lafayette Street.  This video is proof that Santa Clara despite allowing plastic carryout bags and polystyrene food ware to be used without restriction hardly has any litter and it is nearly impossible to find a improperly disposed of Styrofoam food container let alone a grocery or shopping bag.  In fact not a single plastic shopping  bag was seen floating around in “city” controlled areas.

In contrast, San Jose, despite a two year ban on plastic carryout bags, its streets are just as littered as before the bag ban if not more so.

The fact is that imposing a bag ban to eliminate less than 0.6% of litter is a waste of money and effort, not only the costs incurred by the city but also the millions of dollars that residents must spend to comply with the bag ban.

Bag Bans: Defrauding the Public of Reasonable Alternative Solutions

Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs) document the environmental impact of a specific project including alternatives.  In the case of EIRs supporting Single-Use Carryout Bag Ordinances a specific solution to a plastic bag litter problem is proposed that requires a ban on plastic carryout bags and imposes a fee on paper bags in order to encourage (i.e. coerce) shoppers into using reusable bags.  The environmental analysis to support this proposed solution is never provided.  For example, if plastic carryout bags are bad and should be eliminated, then an analysis should be provided to show that using paper bags instead of plastic bags results in an environmental impact that requires mitigation by reducing the use of paper bags and using an alternative product.  That analysis is never performed or provided.  In fact, the objectives of the EIR specifically prevent that analysis and alternative from ever being analyzed.  If brought up during the public comment period, the response is that it does not meet the objectives.  In other words the objectives are cleverly used to defraud the public of an important analysis and a legitimate alternative solution.  Instead of impartially evaluating alternative solutions, someone else’s pre-conceived solution is shoved down your throat by misguided public officials.

To read more of this controversial article click on the following link: Bag Bans Defrauding The Public Of Reasonable Alternative Solutions.

California Landfills Impacted By Bag Bans

 

English: Toyon landfill inside Griffith Park, ...
English: Toyon landfill inside Griffith Park, Los Angeles, California, before the May 2007 fire. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Single-Use Carryout Bag Ordinance has a detrimental impact on landfills that has not been clearly identified.  While the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) identifies that plastic carryout bags currently end up in the landfill, unbeknownst to proponents of the ordinance is that the amount of material deposited in the landfill after the ban has been implemented is far greater than before the ban.  Landfill impacts for both the State of California and for Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties are presented in Tables 1 and 2 respectively.  While landfills can absorb the additional material with no problem, an unintended consequence of the single-use carryout bag ordinance, it is California’s Zero Waste Goal that suffers a setback that will have to be made up through other waste reductions!

To read more click on the following link: California Landfills Impacted By Bag Bans.  This article is an update of the article previously released and titled “Fact Sheet – Landfill Impacts” originally released 16 April 2013.  The new article includes the California statewide impacts in addition to the impacts to Santa Barbara and Ventura County landfills.

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