Tag Archives: Plastic bag

Plastic Bag Ban – Paper Bag Fees Unequally Levied

New Horseshoe Checkstands
New Horseshoe Checkstands (Photo credit: SaCaSeA)

Currently, retail stores distribute plastic and paper bags to customers at checkout to carry their purchases home at no additional charge.  The cost of these bags is included in retail prices paid for and shared by all customers.

Customers who choose to use no bags or reusable bags still pay a small portion toward paper and plastic bags, even when they choose not to receive such bags.  However, some stores do credit customers for every reusable bag used.

 A bag ban imposes a minimum fee of 10-cents for each paper bag distributed in order to discourage paper bag use and also creates an exemption to that fee for those who participate in the California Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) or in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) also known as the Food Stamp program.

In other words, the ordinance creates two classes of shoppers regarding paper bag fees, non-exempt and exempt: Non-exempt shoppers, pay a fee for each paper bag received; Exempt shoppers, receive paper bags free of charge. Continue reading Plastic Bag Ban – Paper Bag Fees Unequally Levied

Bag Bans and Obamacare – Cut From the Same Cloth

Obamacare Protest at Supreme Court
Obamacare Protest at Supreme Court (Photo credit: southerntabitha)

The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (HR 3590) commonly referred to as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or “Obamacare” was passed and signed into law on March 23, 2010. (Wikipedia)  You might ask the question “What does Obamacare have to do with a plastic bag ban?”  A lot more than you think!  The similarity of characteristics between Obamacare and plastic bag bans is striking in many areas.

A Plastic Bag Ban, like Obamacare, is a product of progressives who implement big government, top down, totalitarian solutions in response to real or imagined problems.  To see what Obamacare and Plastic Bag Bans have in common, read on!

What Bag Bans and Obamacare Have in common

Obamacare was passed on a single party line vote and signed into law despite the overwhelming opposition by the public. (Williams, 2014)  Likewise, plastic bag bans are passed into law by progressive city councils or county board of supervisors even though more than 50% of the public is opposed.  In other words, like Obamacare, plastic bag bans are forced down the throats of the public whether you like it or not.

Obamacare prevents health insurance companies from selling insurance policies that do not meet federal coverage standards.  Likewise, state and local bag ban ordinances prevent retail stores from distributing plastic carryout bags that do not meet reusable bag standards and are at least 225 mils thick.

There is much, much more.  Click on the following link to read the entire article: Bag Bans and Obamacare – Cut From the Same Cloth

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Lake Tahoe Passes Bag Ban With A Twist

Highway 50 through South Lake Tahoe
Highway 50 through South Lake Tahoe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On 1 October, 2013 the Lake Tahoe City Council voted 3-2 to ban “single-use” plastic bags distributed at the check stand for customers to carry purchases home.  Councilmembers Hal Cole, Angela Swanson, and Brooke Laine voted for the ban and Mayor Tom Davis and councilmember JoAnn Conner voted against the ban.  What makes this plastic carryout bag ban ordinance different from others is that is does not mandate a fee for paper bags; does not require retail stores to keep records and report to the city on the number of paper bags distributed and fees collected; and does not implement an enforcement mechanism by the city.  The council decided that it is up to the retailer to decide if he wants to charge a fee for paper bags or recover the cost of paper bags through higher retail prices.

To read the entire article, click on the following link: Lake Tahoe Passes Bag Ban With A Twist

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Bag Bans: Trading One Problem For Another

 

Australian Green Bag
Australian Green Bag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Officials in many communities across California and the Nation have implemented bans on the distribution of plastic carryout bags at selected retailers including a fee on paper bags.  The fee on paper bags is imposed for no other reason than to coerce shoppers to switch to using reusable bags.  The reason most often given by these officials is the litter and aesthetic problem posed by plastic carryout bags and the harm caused to marine and terrestrial environments including wildlife.

These officials, have unfortunately, succumbed to political correctness and the self-interest of being seen as “green” and supportive of the environment.  However, instead of due diligence to carefully evaluate alternative solutions, officials adopt the same populist prescription implemented by other communities.

Although Bag Ban Proponents are passionate about their zeal to protect the environment, their ideas are generally disconnected from reality and their solutions don’t work and are unrealistic.  Nowhere is this more aptly illustrated than in the communities of San Jose and Santa Monica where bag usage surveys reveal that shoppers opt for paper bags or no bags over reusable bags by a ratio of two-to-one.  In other words, the majority of shoppers reject using reusable bags.

Because officials do not carefully evaluate the litter impact of plastic carryout bags compared to the impact that a plastic bag ban will have on their citizens, officials have unwittingly traded one problem for another.  In other words, the bag ban doesn’t really solve a problem, it only shifts the problem from one area to another.  What is worse, a plastic bag litter problem which has no impact in your personal life, now after a bag ban presents a series of challenges, in your face, each and every time you go shopping.

To read the entire article click on the following link:  Bag Bans – Trading One Problem For Another

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Using Reusable Bags: It’s Not That Easy

English: ENVITOTE’s superior design is a styli...

One of the most often heard claims by those who advocate imposing bag bans on everyone else, is that using reusable bags is not very hard to do.  Here are a few of their typical statements:

  • “I’ve happily been using reusable bags for years, so others should too.”
  • “What’s the big deal about remembering to bring your bag?”
  • “Some people will resist it at first, but eventually they will change and get used to it.”
  • “Sometimes it is hard to change habits, but people will change.  They just need encouragement.”
  • “Look!  I carry a few compacted reusable bags right on my purse strap!”
  • “It is easy! It isn’t so hard!”

These statements are often delivered in an exasperated or condescending tone, implying that people are making a big deal out of nothing.  The real basis for their argument is this: They do it, so others should not complain when they are forced to do it as well.

Setting aside the argument about whether or not it is right to force others to adopt an assumed green lifestyle, we wanted to examine why using reusable bags is challenging and why compliance with using reusable bags is so low, even in communities that have already implemented bag bans.  

Statistics

Surveys at grocery stores before and after bag bans show that most people are choosing not to use reusable bags.  In San Jose, the number of customers leaving grocery stores with no bag went up from 12.9% to 43.5% and the number of customers using paper bags went up from 10.3% to 18.8% after the bag ban. (Romanov, 2012)  Similarly, in Santa Monica customers with no bag went up from 15% to 36% and paper bags went up from 5% to 29%. (Team Marine, 2013)  The statistics for non-grocery stores are even worse, with an abysmal 8% of shoppers using reusable bags almost 2 years after the bag ban. (van Leeuwen & Williams, 2013, p. 12)

Using reusable bags must not be that easy, since the vast majority of shoppers avoid using these bags and choose to use either paper bags or no bags at all over reusable bags by a ratio of about two to one. (van Leeuwen & Williams, 2013)

To read the rest of the article, click on the following link: Using Reusable Bags Not That Easy

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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

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

Current List Of Articles Posted

The following is a current list of articles posted.  The articles are located under the “Documents” menu item.  You can click on the link to proceed directly to the articles.  All articles are published using Adobe Acrobat.  You are free to save the article to your own computer and print the article.

Be sure to click on the button to follow the  blog in the right column and enter your email address.  You will be notified of new postings when they occur.   A number of articles will be posted next month and you will not want to miss them!

Shoppers Reject Reusable Bags – This article explains that shoppers reject using reusable bags about two-to-one.

Plastic Bag Bans and Californias Drought – This article explains why plastic bag bans and the use of reusable bags is the wrong solution in areas where droughts are frequent.

Plastic Bag Bans – A Community Could Do So Much Better & For So Much Less – This article identifies traditional litter control and removal measures that would be more effective than a plastic bag ban and cost local jurisdictions and their residents much less.

Bag Bans and Obamacare – Cut From the Same Cloth – This article compares plastic bag bans with Obamacare and shows that there is a lot in common and that both come from the same type of political mindset.

Lake Tahoe Passes Bag Ban With A Twist – This article looks at the plastic bag ban that was passed in Lake Tahoe and how that bag ban is different.

Plastic Bags In Landfill – Not a Problem – This article debunks the concern that many have about plastic bags in landfills.

Bag Bans – Trading One Problem For Another – This article looks at how a plastic bag litter problem that did not affect you in your personal life becomes an “in your face” problem you have to deal with each time you shop.

Using Reusable Bags Not That Easy – This article looks at the challenges families face when using reusable bags and that despite bag banners saying that using reusable bags is easy it turns out not to be that easy but an inconvenience to be avoided.

Plastic Bags – Greener Than Alternatives – This is an article that looks at all of the environmental impact categories to show that plastic bags are better than the alternatives for the environment.

Paper Bag Fee Setting A Bad Precedent – This is an article that looks at tax issues around the paper bag fee including sales tax issues and court rulings regarding the paper bag fee as an end around California’s Proposition 26.

How To Fight Back Against Bag Bans – This is a new article that answers the difficult question of what can we do to fight back against plastic bag bans.  And provides a number of suggested actions.

Bag Bans Defrauding The Public Of Reasonable Alternative Solutions – This controversial article looks at how the public is defrauded from more reasonable solutions to the windblown litter problem presented by thin film plastic carryout bags and how someone else’s solution is being shoved down the throats of the American Public.

California Landfills Impacted By Bag Bans – This article is an update of the article previously titled “Fact Sheet Landfill Impacts LASBVTA“.  The article now looks at the impacts to landfills across the State of California along with Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.

Ventura City Council Votes To Proceed With Plastic Bag Ban Preparation – This article discusses the City Council decision to move ahead with the ground work required for a plastic bag ban and the agenda item prepared for the City Council.

Santa Barbara County Supervisors Not Well Served – This article discusses erroneous and misleading information about bag bans and associated issues in a viewgraph presentation made to the Santa Barbara County Supervisors.

Plastic Bag Recycling Rate – A Non-Issue – This article exposes the truth about the 5% plastic bag recycling rate and why that recycling rate is so low and why the low recycling rate is not a reason to ban plastic carryout bags. Continue reading Current List Of Articles Posted

Ventura City Council Votes To Proceed With Plastic Bag Ban

Ventura City Hall
Ventura City Hall (Photo credit: InSapphoWeTrust)

On 16 December 2013, the Ventura City Council voted 6 to 1 to go ahead and prepare a Single-Use Carryout Bag Ordinance and BEACON EIR addendum for consideration in six months by the City Council.   The council also voted to support the efforts of State Senator Padilla to pass a bill to institute a statewide single-use carryout bag law rather than a local ordinance.

Currently there are two bills going through the California State Legislature concerning plastic carryout bags.  SB-405 is authored by State Senator Padilla and AB-158 by Assembly member Levine.  Both bills appear to have started out with the same text which is being marked up as the bills goes through the different committees in their respective houses.

The full article can be read by clicking the following link: Ventura City Council Votes To Proceed With Plastic Bag Ban Preparation.

Plastic Bag Recycling Rate – A Non-Issue

Bag Ban Proponents like to point out that the recycling rate for plastic carryout bags is 5% or less and that because of the low recycling rate, plastic carryout bags should be banned.

Bag Ban Proponents totally miss the point.  When plastic carryout bags are reused as trash bags, waste can liners, to pick up pet litter, dispose of kitchen grease, dispose of dirty diapers, or the myriad of other uses and end up in the landfill filled with trash, they cannot be recycled.  Bag Ban Proponents appear to have a particularly difficult time comprehending this simple fact. Continue reading Plastic Bag Recycling Rate – A Non-Issue