Monthly Archives: October 2015

Oceanside City Council Rejects Plastic Bag Ban

A view of the Civic Center in Oceanside, California
A view of the Civic Center in Oceanside, California – by Visitor7 (Own Work) – Wikimedia Commons

On October 21, 2015, the Oceanside City Council voted 3-2 against moving ahead with a proposed plastic bag ban. Councilmen Jack Feller and Jerry Kern and Councilwoman Esther Sanchez opposed the agenda item and Mayor Jim Wood and Deputy Mayor Chuck Lowery voted in favor. (Sifuentes, Council trashes plastic bag ban proposal, 2015)

The agenda item, if it had passed, would have directed city staff and the Utilities Commission to prepare a Single-Use Carryout Bag ordinance from the sample Single-Use Carryout Bag ordinance contained in Appendix Q of the Oceanside Zero Waste Strategic Resource Management Plan, seek public input, and submit a proposed ordinance with recommendations to the council.

Deputy Mayor Chuck Lowery put the proposed bag ban ordinance on the agenda, citing that plastic carryout bags are polluting local waterways and beaches. (Sifuentes, 2015)

Councilman Jerry Kern said he opposed the proposed ordinance and preferred to wait until after the results of the 2016 referendum on the statewide plastic bag ban are known. (Sifuentes, 2015) Continue reading Oceanside City Council Rejects Plastic Bag Ban

Austin’s Plastic Bag Ban a Colossal Failure!

Austin City Hall Front
Austin City Hall – By M. Fitzsimmons via Creative Commons (CC) – Wikimedia Commons

In June 2015, the Austin Resource Recovery Service released a candid report entitled “Environmental Effects of the Single Use Bag Ordinance in Austin, Texas” questioning the effectiveness of the city’s own bag ban. The report noted that the ordinance reduced litter from “single-use” or “lightweight” plastic carryout bags, but that the unintended consequence was an increase in the use of 4-mil reusable plastic shopping bags (disposed of after just a single-use), and the increased cost to consumers and retailers. (Waters, 2015, p. 28)

The primary goal of the Austin Single-Use Bag Ordinance was to reduce the volume of plastic carryout bags dumped in the landfill. The city’s own self-assessment reported that the weight of 4-mil plastic reusable bags disposed of by shoppers after just a single use was just as much as the lightweight plastic bags disposed of in the landfill before the ban. (Cape, 2015) In other words, the bag ban backfired and resulted in a much higher environmental cost. (Waters, 2015, p. 25)

To view or read the entire article click on the following link: Austin’s Plastic Bag Ban a Colossal Failure

Plastic Bag Manufacturers File New Initiative

California Attorney General, Kamala D. Harris
California Attorney General, Kamala D. Harris

On October 2, 2015 the American Progressive Bag Alliance, representing plastic bag manufacturers, filed a proposed initiative statute with Kamala D. Harris, California State Attorney General, entitled the “Environmental Fee Protection Act.”  The initiative would require that mandated fees paid by shoppers for carryout bags to be put into a statewide environmental fund rather than kept by grocers. (Lin, 2015) (Johnson, 2015)

According the filing: “The purpose of the Environmental Fee Protection Act is to fulfill Californians’ expectations by requiring that any charges on carryout bags paid by consumers in connection with, or to advance, any plastic bag ban are dedicated to appropriate and worthy environmental objectives like drought mitigation, recycling, clean drinking water supplies, parks, beach cleanup, litter removal, and wildlife habitat restoration.” (Johnson, 2015)

To be more explicit, the proposed initiative declares as follows:

“The People of the State of California find and declare as follows:

(a)          In 2014, the California state Legislature enacted a ban on plastic carryout bags after lobbying by special interests including the California Grocers Association.

(b)          The law further mandated that stores sell every paper or reusable carryout bag they provide to consumers for a minimum of 10 cents. Stores can charge even more if they so choose, and the grocers and retailers are specifically required by the law to keep these mandated sales charges as extra revenue.

(c)           None of the sales charges on carryout bags required by state law will go to environmental purposes. The Legislature specifically wrote the law in such a way as to make these sales charges additional revenue to grocers and retailers.

(d)          This special interest deal will provide grocers and retailers over $400 million in added revenue every year – all at the expense of California consumers and with little or no benefit to the environment.

(e)          The people of California have every right to expect that any sales charges on carryout bags they are required by state law to pay are dedicated to protecting the environment; not enriching corporations.” (Johnson, 2015) Continue reading Plastic Bag Manufacturers File New Initiative