Tag Archives: litter

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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Are Plastic Grocery Bags Falsely Labeled as “Single-Use” Bags?

Hemdchentuete
By Phrontis [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Bag Banners have long demonized disposable plastic grocery bags by labeling them as “single-use” plastic carryout bags that, they claim, are only used only a few minutes to carry your groceries home. These claims disputed by citizens who understand that plastic grocery bags are not single-use bags but are reused by consumers for a variety of other purposes. While Bag Banners and public officials only half-heartedly acknowledged such reuse, they steadfastly refused to consider the environmental benefits that such reuse creates. The question “Are Plastic Grocery Bags Falsely Labeled as ‘Single-Use’ Bags?” is an important question that will be examined from several perspectives in this paper. In addition, paper grocery bags and also the newly mandated thicker plastic grocery bags will be examined including the terminology used to describe these bags. We intend to expose the blatant falsehood behind labeling a shopping bag as either single-use or reusable.

Plastic T-Shirt Bags (aka Plastic Grocery Bags)

Plastic grocery bags with handles are actually named “Plastic T-shirt Bags” and come in a variety of sizes, colors, and custom printed logos. They are a time saving convenience for both the retailer and the customer and which offers the retailer a marketing opportunity to advertise their business. For customers, they are not only convenient, clean, and safe, but they also serve a multitude of other uses after transporting their purchases home. So how did these safe, clean, convenient and reused plastic “T-shirt bags” get relabeled as “Single-Use Plastic Carryout Bags” in city, county, and state laws?

To read more click on the following link: Are Plastic Grocery Bags Falsely Labeled as Single-Use Bags

Huntington Beach Plastic Bag Ban Repeal Passes Final Hurdle

A Sunny Day on Huntington Beach
A Sunny Day on Huntington Beach

On Monday, 4 May, 2015 the Huntington Beach City Council voted 6 to 1 to finalize the repeal of the two year old ban on plastic bags and the mandatory 10-cent fee on paper bags. The repeal is effective on 3 June, 2015 when stores can again issue plastic carryout bags. (Carpio, 2015)

Council-members Mike Posey, Erik Peterson, Billy O’Connell, Barbara Delgleize, Dave Sullivan, and Jim Katapodis voted to finalize repeal the ordinance and Mayor Jill Hardy voted to keep the ban in place. (van Leeuwen, 2015)

According to Council-member Mike Posey, the plastic bag ban was never an environmental issue, but an issue of personal freedom. (Sharon, 2015)

After the Council Meeting, Mike Posey told conservative website Breitbart, “It’s a freedom issue. . . . Litter from plastic bags is caused by misuse and not use, and I object to punishing everyone because some people choose to litter.” (Broder, 2015) Continue reading Huntington Beach Plastic Bag Ban Repeal Passes Final Hurdle

San Jose Miscalculates Plastic Bag Litter Reduction in Storm Drain System

A very clear day!
A very clear day! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ten months after the City of San Jose implemented their Plastic Bag Ban, Kerrie Romanov, Director of Environmental Services for the City of San Jose, issued a memorandum dated November 20, 2012 to the San Jose City Council claiming success of the “Plastic Bag Ban” (San Jose ordinance #28877). Romanov claimed this success based upon a 59% reduction in plastic bag litter on city streets and neighborhoods, a 60% reduction in plastic bag litter in creeks, and an 89% reduction of plastic bag litter in storm drains.

These statistics, particularly the 89% storm drain plastic bag reduction, have been widely quoted by bag ban proponents as empirical evidence that bag bans are effective in reducing plastic carryout bag litter and that bag bans “work”. Continue reading San Jose Miscalculates Plastic Bag Litter Reduction in Storm Drain System

Why You Should Oppose Bag Bans

English: Ten Mile River (California), looking ...
English: Ten Mile River (California), looking northward from California State Route 1 as it crosses near the mouth of the river. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some people welcome a ban on plastic carryout bags, others are opposed, and others are not sure. This article is intended for those of you who are in between and unsure whether you should oppose or support a bag ban.

With as much that goes on in the world today that vies for our attention, getting excited about plastic grocery bags (i.e. plastic carryout bags) is certainly not high on the totem pole. We live in a topsy–turvy world where things that were once banned are allowed (e.g. marijuana) and things that were once allowed are now banned (e.g. plastic carryout bags).

So how can we approach this subject in a fair and impartial manner? How can we determine if we should support or oppose a bag ban? We know that when the legislature or a local jurisdiction passes a law they are trying to solve a perceived problem. So the answer to the question is to understand the nature of the problem and how the proposed solution or law intends to solve that problem and most important what alternative solutions were considered. The more clearly we understand this the better we can see how our personal freedom and liberties are affected and whether that intrusion is warranted and justified.

The purpose of this paper is not to provide a detailed explanation of the problem and the solution (e.g. plastic bag ban) but a philosophical argument about why or why not bag bans should be opposed.

Click on the following link to read the entire article:  Why You Should Oppose Bag Bans

Plastic Bag Bans – A Community Could Do So Much Better & For So Much Less

Plastic Ocean
Plastic Debris in Ocean (Photo credit: Kevin Krejci)

Litter from fast food waste makes up 29.4% of roadside litter.  Should we ban fast food takeout?  Now, before you answer, plastic grocery bags make up less than 0.6% of all roadside litter and cities all over California are banning plastic grocery bags!  The good news is that fast food takeout is not being banned, but it begs the question “Why are plastic grocery bags singled out when their contribution to litter is miniscule?”

In fact, officials who vote for plastic bag bans cannot even point to a plastic bag litter problem in their own community!  Let alone a problem of sufficient magnitude that would justify a ban.  Litter surveys are rarely ever conducted and when they are, they are conducted in a haphazard manner leading to questionable results.  Decisions to implement bag bans are usually based on anecdotal evidence, questionable at best, offered by environmental groups such as showing pictures of a few plastic bags littered around town, in the river bed, and pictures of a turtle chewing on a plastic bag.

Everything that man uses is littered.  Ever see a discarded candy wrapper, a paper bag, a milk carton, a mattress, a sofa, or a tire on the side of the road?  Life would be tough if we ban everything that is littered, including plastic grocery bags.  Despite the lack of evidence that plastic bag litter is a significant problem, let’s assume it is and look at more cost effective and appropriate methods of dealing with that litter, methods that would be beneficial to the community.

To read the entire article click on the following link:  Plastic Bag Bans – A Community Could Do So Much Better & For So Much Less

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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.

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

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: A Failure – Not Success As Claimed

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.

To read more please click on the following link: Bag Bans: A Failure – Not Success As Claimed.