Tag Archives: Recycling

Bag Bans – A Waste of Time and Money!

Redwoods Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
Redwoods Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park – by Miguel Vieira, Walnut Creek

Most plastic bag bans follow the simple formula of banning plastic grocery bags and placing a fee on paper bags in order to force shoppers to bring and use their own reusable bags. A bag ban is justified because littered plastic grocery bags are unsightly litter that can cause harm to wildlife through ingestion. However, absent from the discussion are three key issues: (1) the magnitude of plastic grocery bag litter; (2) the cost to consumers to comply with a bag ban; and (3) the impact on reducing litter, particularly plastic debris, that finds its way to the ocean and potentially causes harm to wildlife through ingestion.

When these issues are honestly looked at we discover that plastic bag litter is negligible and the cost to consumers is disproportionate to the results achieved. For example, plastic bag litter comprises only 0.6% of roadside litter of which about only half (about 0.3%) is plastic grocery bags. Hence, a plastic bag ban will still leave 99.7% of litter that must be cleaned up through traditional litter abatement methods. The effort to clean up the remaining 99.7% of litter could easily include the other 0.3% (e.g. plastic grocery bags and retail carryout bags) as part of the total effort. In other words, a plastic bag ban is not needed and certainly NOT JUSTIFIED for the small amount of plastic grocery bags littered in the community.

Furthermore, the cost to consumers to eliminate plastic grocery bags from roadside litter averages about 12-cents for each 2-cent plastic bag eliminated by a bag ban. Add to that the cost of plastic bag bans by local and state governments and costs incurred by retailers increasing the total cost far more than the 12-cents cost per plastic bag incurred by consumers! If you compute the annual cost per littered bag, it will be on the order of $250.00 per littered plastic bag per year. Obviously, this is NOT a good deal for consumers! So not only is a plastic bag ban a waste of time and money for the public; it is also a waste of time and money on the part of the environmentalist who promotes bag bans for such a miniscule reduction in litter, when traditional comprehensive litter abatement methods exist that will not only eliminate all plastic bags but also other plastic debris that makes its way to the ocean potentially harming wildlife.

To read the entire article, click on the following link: Bag Bans Waste of Time & Money

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Dallas, TX City Council Repeals Bag Fee – Rejects Bag Ban

640px-Dallas_Downtown
Dallas Downtown” by fcn80. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Dallas, Texas.  Faced with a lawsuit claiming that the city did not have authority to tax plastic grocery bags, a lawsuit the city was certain to lose, the Dallas City Council voted 10-4 to repeal the ordinance that placed 5-cent fee on plastic grocery bags. In a companion motion, to ban plastic grocery bags entirely, the City Council voted 9-6 to reject the ban. On Monday, 8 June grocery stores will again be able to issue plastic grocery bags to shoppers for free. (Findell, 2015)

Unlike California, where grocers get to keep 100% of the plastic and paper bag fees; grocers in Dallas only get to keep 10% with 90% of the fee going to the city. The 5-cent plastic bag fee was originally approved by Dallas City Council in March 2014 and went into effect in January, 2015. (Gillett, 2015)

The Dallas plastic grocery bag fee became a hot issue when a group of bag manufacturers and recyclers filed suit against the city. The lawsuit alleged that the 5-cent-per-bag tax passed by the City Council in March 2014 violates the Texas Solid Waste Disposal Act. At the time the Dallas Bag Fee was passed, then-State Attorney General Greg Abbott (now Governor Abbott) was looking into whether bag bans or taxes were legal in the state. He concluded that such ordinances were a violation of state law. (Putrich, 2015)

Several of the Dallas City Council members argued that the bag fee was government overreach. Several other council members argued that consumers were beginning to change shopping habits. The presence of the Plastic Bag Monster™ did not persuade council members.

The motion to repeal the 5-cent fee on plastic bags was passed by the City Council, 10-4 with council members Mike Rawlings, Tennell Atkins, Monica Alonzo, Adam Medrano, Vonciel Jones Hill, Rick Callahan, Sheffie Kadane, Jerry Allen, Lee Kleinman, and Jennifer Staubach Gates voting YES to repeal the bag fee. Council members Scott Griggs, Dwaine Caraway, Sandy Greyson, and Philip Kingston voted NO to keep the 5-cent bag fee in place. (Findell, 2015)

The companion motion to ban plastic grocery bags failed to pass the City Council by a vote of 9-6 with council members Scott Griggs, Adam Medrano, Dwaine Caraway, Lee Kleinman, Philip Kingston, and Carolyn Davis voting YES to ban plastic grocery bags and council members Mike Rawlings, Tennell Atkins, Monica Alonzo, Vonciel Jones Hill, Rick Callahan, Sheffie Kadane, Jerry Allen, Sandy Greyson, and Jennifer Staubach Gates to vote NO to keep plastic grocery bags. (Findell, 2015)

Bibliography

Findell, E. (2015, June 3). Update: Dallas City Council votes to repeal 5-cent bag fee; bags free starting Monday. Retrieved from The Dallas Morning News: http://cityhallblog.dallasnews.com/2015/06/dallas-city-council-debates-5-cent-bag-fee.html/

Gillett, B. (2015, June 3). Dallas City Council Repeals 5-Cent Plastic Bag Fee. Retrieved from CBSDFW.com: http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2015/06/03/dallas-city-council-repeals-5-cent-plastic-bag-fee/

Putrich, G. S. (2015, June 3). Dallas does away with its bag fee, rejects plastic bag ban. Retrieved from Plastic News: http://www.plasticsnews.com/article/20150603/NEWS/150609954/dallas-does-away-with-its-bag-fee-rejects-plastic-bag-ban

Huntington Beach City Council Rejects Placing Plastic Bag Ban Repeal on Ballot

Huntington Beach during the day.
Huntington Beach during the day. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The plastic bag ban was again placed on the Huntington Beach City Council Agenda by Council member Dave Sullivan. The agenda item if approved by the City Council would direct the City Attorney to prepare a ballot measure which would repeal Chapter 5.95 USE OF PLASTIC CARRYOUT BAGS AND RECYCLABLE PAPER of the Huntington Beach Municipal Code (i.e. the Reusable Bag Ordinance) for the November 4, 2014, General Municipal Election ballot to be submitted to the qualified electors of the City of Huntington Beach, California.

A total of 54 speakers chose to speak. Of the 54 speakers, 27 were in favor of putting the issue to repeal the plastic bag ban on the ballot, 20 opposed putting the issue on the ballot, and 7 speakers spoke on a variety of other issues.

Some key issues brought up by speakers who spoke at the City Council Meeting:

  • The plastic bag ban is a divisive issue in the community and a source of anger.
  • The Paper Bag Fee is a tax and a bribe to retailers/grocers for their cooperation or silence.
  • The city took away the right of individuals and businesses to make their own choices of whether or not to use reusable bags.
  • Results in higher consumer water consumption to wash and sanitize reusable bags.
  • Many people now shop in surrounding communities resulting in a loss of sales tax.
  • Plastic bag ban is a feel good policy and government has gone too far.
  • Put the Repeal of the Plastic Bag Ban on the Ballot and let the people decide.

To read the entire article click on the following link: Huntington Beach City Council Rejects Placing Plastic Bag Ban Repeal on Ballot

 

 

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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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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

Reusable Bag Recycling Rate Lower Than Plastic Bags

The majority of reusable bags currently in use in California are made from non-woven Polypropylene (PP) or fabrics such as cotton.  While PP is technically recyclable, currently there is no recycling infrastructure for PP bags in the state of California.  Furthermore, although cotton bags are technically compostable, there is no composting facility currently available.  Hence, both PP and cotton reusable bags must be disposed of in the trash or landfill.

A very small percentage (much less than 5%) of reusable bags are made from High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) or Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE).  These bags are recyclable via the In-Store Recycling Bin at your local retail store.

Environmentalists like to say that the recycling rate for plastic grocery bags is only 5% and therefore they should be banned.  But the recycling rate for reusable bags is closer to 0%.  Should they not be banned?

Bag Bans: Officials Neglect Homework!

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.

To read the new article click on the following link:  Bag Bans Officials Neglect Homework.

This hard hitting article is a must read for citizens who want to see how their elected officials are failing to perform due diligence.

Sample Letter Opposing Bag Ban and Carryout Bag Fees

Assembly Member <Enter name Here>

I am requesting that you vote NO on any plastic bag ban or bag fee.  A plastic bag ban is worse for the environment than the status quo.  Currently, under the Clean Water Act and the local Total Maximum Daily Loads program, trash excluder or capture devices are being installed in storm drain catch basins or outfalls.  This will capture and prevent trash including plastic bags from getting into creeks and rivers and flow to the ocean.  80% of plastic in the ocean comes from land based sources via the storm drain; hence, trash excluders will prevent most bags from reaching the ocean.  While the solution is not 100%, a 100% solution is not required since not all plastic bags are banned.  Furthermore, reusable bags are not all recyclable.  Continue reading Sample Letter Opposing Bag Ban and Carryout Bag Fees