In November of 2012, ten months after implementation of the San Jose Bag Ban, the city issued a report claiming success. The memorandum contained an analysis of litter surveys and claimed a reduction of on-land plastic bag litter of 59%, 60% in creeks, and 89% in storm drains. The latter figure is widely used by bag ban proponents as proof the law works. However, problems with the underlying data as well as the methodology used indicate that these reduction figures are questionable. Other factors such as a cost analysis was never done by the city nor were other less costly alternatives investigated.
In an article “San Jose Bag Ban Report Rebuttal” the authors respond to the claims of success in a stinging rebuttal. The authors claim that the wrong parameter was measured, measurement methodology was unscientific and flawed, bag usage observations were not taken at a broad cross-section of stores, no cost/benefit analysis was conducted, and serious negative impacts were never addressed.
The authors present an analysis of plastic bag litter reduction calculations by the city as well as supply their own. Also presented is a pre ban and post ban cost analysis of carryout bag use showing the cost increase that is incurred by consumers.
Bag Bans are the wrong solution to control litter from plastic grocery bags. Many communities are driven to ban these bags because they are a very visible form of litter. But is banning these bags the right solution? I don’t think so, and neither should you!
Plastic bags of all kinds make up only about 0.6% of litter. So a ban on plastic grocery bags would at most eliminate no more than 0.6% of litter. The other 99.4% is still out there waiting to be cleaned up!
All carryout bags have a negative environmental impact. Paper bags and reusable bags have a higher negative environmental impact and larger carbon footprint than plastic bags. In fact, 10 out of 14 environmental indicators go up after a bag ban is implemented, meaning a bag ban is a bad idea from an environmental perspective.
The city of San Jose is one of the few cities in California that conducted litter surveys before and after a plastic bag ban went into effect. The city conducted surveys of litter on city streets, creeks, and storm drains. The city published results in a memorandum dated 20 November 2012.
Environmentalists and Bag Ban Proponents love to say that “San Jose saw an 89% reduction in plastic bag litter after the bag ban.” However, that is not what the San Jose 1 Year results show, as stated below:
“The various litter surveys demonstrated a reduction in bag litter of approximately 89 percent in the storm drain system, 60 percent in the creeks and rivers, and 59 percent in City streets and neighborhoods, when compared to data collected from 2010 and or 2011 (pre-ordinance) to data from 2012 (post-ordinance).” (Romanov, 2012)
Stating that San Jose saw an 89% reduction in plastic bag litter deceitfully overstates the 59% reduction in plastic bag litter found on San Jose city streets and sidewalks; and the 60% reduction in plastic bag litter found in creeks and rivers.
Not only are environmentalists hyping the wrong number, the number itself is based upon a reduction of 71 fewer plastic bags found in 22 storm drain catch basins and hardly the kind of number to be tossed around.
Environmentalists and Bag Ban Proponents should be using the 59% reduction in plastic bags on streets and sidewalks instead of the 89% reduction in storm drains.
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.
Misguided officials in more and more California communities are adopting plastic carryout bag bans and, in their haste to jump on the latest Eco-Fad bandwagon, fail to perform due diligence in attempting to solve a complex problem. Little to no effort is spent actually analyzing the problem or coming up with possible alternative solutions. So starts a newly released article that identifies the failures of City and County Officials to investigate and find traditional solutions in favor of implementing a totalitarian solution to force a particular lifestyle on the people of this country, a country that is supposed to be the land of the free and home of the brave.