Tag Archives: landfill

Is California’s Bag Ban Really a Success?

Lassen Volcanic National Park – Terminal Geyser by Eugene Zelenko CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The San Jose Mercury News recently published an editorial entitled “Success! California’s first-in-the-nation plastic bag ban works”. The editorial claims that because fewer plastic bags were found during this year’s Coastal Clean Up day proves that California’s “grand experiment” with a plastic bag ban is a success. (Mercury News & East Bay Times Editorial Boards, 2017)

But is finding fewer littered plastic bags a real measure of the bag ban’s success? If not, how do you really measure the success of the state’s plastic bag ban law? Is success not determined by results and how well each of the law’s objectives are met? The answer is a resounding, Yes!

Success is defined as “The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” (Oxford Dictionary, 2017) Using this definition and assuming a narrowly defined goal to reduce or eliminate single-use plastic grocery bag litter, then the plastic bag ban could be considered “a success”. It could never be otherwise! After all, if you ban or sharply curtail the use of single-use plastic grocery bags there will be fewer available to be littered. Continue reading Is California’s Bag Ban Really a Success?

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Plastic Bags In Landfill – Not A Problem

Modern landfill operation at Waimanalo Gulch, ...
Modern landfill operation at Waimanalo Gulch, the municipal sanitary landfill for the City & County of Honolulu. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You hear it over and over again, “plastic bags do not decompose and will last a thousand years in a landfill” and “they will be here long after I am gone!”  A Google web search will show hundreds of articles with the same theme and in all cases the writers attempt to convey how bad this is and why we should ban plastic carryout bags.  Look at what some say:

  • Plastic bags are not biodegradable … and end up in landfills where they may take 1,000 years or more to break down into ever smaller particles that continue to pollute the soil and water. (West)
  • A plastic carrier bag will take up to 1000 years to break down once it is in the landfill.  Compare that to its useful life which can be measured in minutes – the length of time it takes to get our shopping home from the store before being dumped in the dustbin. (Green)
  • Plastic bags also have a hard time decomposing; estimates range from ten to twenty years when exposed to air to 500–1,000 years in a landfill. (Cadman)

But what do these writers NOT tell you?  They don’t tell you that the raw materials, oil and natural gas, from whose byproducts plastic carryout bags are made, were in the ground for thousands if not millions of years.  So all that we are doing is putting back into the ground what we extracted from it in the first place, but we put it back in a different and more stable form.

To read the entire article, click on the following link: Plastic Bags In Landfill – Not a Problem

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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.

The Lies, Myths, Half-Truths, and Exaggerations of Bag Ban Proponents

Bag Bans are one of the latest Eco-Fads being pushed by the “green” movement and virtually all “environmental” groups as a solution to the plastic bag litter problem.  These groups put enormous pressure on city officials to implement a plastic bag ban and paper bag fees on their citizens.  These groups attempt to link virtually every environmental problem to the simple plastic grocery bag, defying logic and misleading government officials, the media, and the public by continuously repeating a series of lies, distortions, and half-truths that do not hold up under scientific scrutiny.

There is a saying that if you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.  This is often the strategy of the bag ban proponents.  And the internet has afforded thousands of people eager to ban bags the ability to repeat the same lies and distortions over and over until people just accept them as fact.

In this article we examine a majority of the most often quoted and repeated lies and distortions related to plastic bags and bag bans.

Click on the following link to read or download the article: The Lies Myths Half Truths and Exaggerations of Bag Ban Proponents.

Do Californians Really Use 20 Billion Plastic Bags Per Year?

How often have you heard proponents of plastic carry out bag bans say that Californian’s use 20 billion plastic carry out bags per year or 531 bags per capita.  Have you ever  asked yourself the following questions:

  • Where did this number comes from?
  • How is this number is calculated?
  • Is the number is reasonable?
  • Is there a more reasonable number?

Continue reading Do Californians Really Use 20 Billion Plastic Bags Per Year?

Landfill Impacts of Banning Plastic Carryout Bags

There are many who want to ban plastic carryout bags to help protect the environment, but have never thought through the consequences.  One California state legislator stated “the amount of plastics going into the waste stream is pretty large.”  What this legislator does not know is that the Plastic Carryout Bag Ban that he favored has unintended consequences that will make matters worse.

A ban typically involves banning plastic carryout bags and charging a fee for each paper bag issued.  The fee is intended to motivate the consumer to use reusable bags.  The basic idea is that a reusable bag,  because you use it over and over, has a smaller impact on the environment than a plastic bag. Continue reading Landfill Impacts of Banning Plastic Carryout Bags

Plastic Carry-Out Bag Ban – More Plastic Headed To Landfill

One of the unintended consequences of banning plastic carry out bags is that more plastic will be headed to the landfill the exact opposite of what proponents of the plastic carry out bag ban want.
California state law (AB 2449) requires retail stores that issue plastic carry out bags at the checkout counter must have a recycling container in or outside each store. This recycling container not only accepts plastic carry out bags, but also other plastic bags and shrink wrap. These include produce bags, dry-cleaning bags, bread bags, newspaper bags and shrink wraps from paper towels, bathroom tissue, napkins, and diapers. Continue reading Plastic Carry-Out Bag Ban – More Plastic Headed To Landfill