Tag Archives: Reusable Bags

California’s Plastic Bag Ban and California’s Health Crisis

Lassen Manzanita Lake – By Smack (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Several articles have been recently published suggesting a potential link between California’s Plastic Bag Ban (Proposition 67) and the Hepatitis A outbreak among the homeless populations in California where more than a dozen have died and more than 400 have contracted the disease. The articles are as follows:

While the above articles do not provide conclusive proof of a causal connection between the plastic bag ban and the Hepatitis A outbreak among the homeless in California, the articles do document a link between the once plentiful plastic bags and hygiene and sanitation issues associated with the homeless.  Hygiene and sanitation issues also associated with the Hepatitis A outbreak. Rather than summarize the above articles herein; the reader is urged to read the above listed articles instead.

One notable quote from the article Plastic-bag ban led to a hep A health crisis? by Marty Graham is as follows:

Plenty of people discounted the plastic-bag theory but San Diego County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten was not one of them. “Yes, absolutely, we know people use the bags for that,” she said. “We know people don’t have bathrooms and they can put bags in cans and buckets and maintain good hygiene. That’s why we put plastic bags in the hygiene kits we’re handing out. That’s what we expect people will use them for.” (Graham, 2017)

The above articles demonstrate that California’s bag bans are responsible for exacerbating hygiene issues for those living on the streets or in homeless encampments.

In a previously posted article, entitled “Bacterial and Viral Health Hazards of Reusable Shopping Bags”, the author identifies the health hazards with the use of reusable shopping bags to the public and the homeless. For example, reusable bags must be maintained in a sanitary condition by regular washing or cleaning. Those who live on the streets and in homeless encampments simply do not have the means of washing or cleaning reusable bags. In addition, reusable bags that come into the grocery store from an unsanitary or disease laden environments (e.g. a homeless encampments or a home where there are communicable diseases) poses a public health hazard to shoppers and store clerks. For details read the cited article. (van Leeuwen, 2013)

Have you noticed how many grocery clerks are now donning plastic latex gloves? If you noticed this, then you must ask yourself: Why? Could it be that handling a customer’s reusable bags poses a real health risk to store employees,  a health risk not encountered with store provided paper and plastic bags?  The answer is obvious.

Bag Bans don’t solve problems, they just exchange one problem for another.

Bibliography

Graham, M. (2017, Sept 8). Plastic-bag ban led to hep A health crisis? Retrieved from San Diego Reader: https://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2017/sep/08/stringers-plastic-bag-ban-led-hep-health-crisis/

van Leeuwen, A. (2013, June 2). Bacterial and Viral Health Hazards of Reusable Shopping Bags. Retrieved August 10, 2013, from Fight The Plastic Bag Ban: https://fighttheplasticbagban.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/bacterial-and-viral-health-hazards-of-reusable-shopping-bags_rev_1.pdf

 

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Plastic Bag Manufacturers File New Initiative

California Attorney General, Kamala D. Harris
California Attorney General, Kamala D. Harris

On October 2, 2015 the American Progressive Bag Alliance, representing plastic bag manufacturers, filed a proposed initiative statute with Kamala D. Harris, California State Attorney General, entitled the “Environmental Fee Protection Act.”  The initiative would require that mandated fees paid by shoppers for carryout bags to be put into a statewide environmental fund rather than kept by grocers. (Lin, 2015) (Johnson, 2015)

According the filing: “The purpose of the Environmental Fee Protection Act is to fulfill Californians’ expectations by requiring that any charges on carryout bags paid by consumers in connection with, or to advance, any plastic bag ban are dedicated to appropriate and worthy environmental objectives like drought mitigation, recycling, clean drinking water supplies, parks, beach cleanup, litter removal, and wildlife habitat restoration.” (Johnson, 2015)

To be more explicit, the proposed initiative declares as follows:

“The People of the State of California find and declare as follows:

(a)          In 2014, the California state Legislature enacted a ban on plastic carryout bags after lobbying by special interests including the California Grocers Association.

(b)          The law further mandated that stores sell every paper or reusable carryout bag they provide to consumers for a minimum of 10 cents. Stores can charge even more if they so choose, and the grocers and retailers are specifically required by the law to keep these mandated sales charges as extra revenue.

(c)           None of the sales charges on carryout bags required by state law will go to environmental purposes. The Legislature specifically wrote the law in such a way as to make these sales charges additional revenue to grocers and retailers.

(d)          This special interest deal will provide grocers and retailers over $400 million in added revenue every year – all at the expense of California consumers and with little or no benefit to the environment.

(e)          The people of California have every right to expect that any sales charges on carryout bags they are required by state law to pay are dedicated to protecting the environment; not enriching corporations.” (Johnson, 2015) Continue reading Plastic Bag Manufacturers File New Initiative

Shoppers Reject Using Reusable Bags

Maker Faire 2008 San Mateo 16
City of San Mateo Bags Booth, Maker Faire 2008
Bag usage surveys conducted to date overwhelmingly show that shoppers have rejected using reusable bags and preferred to use paper bags or NO bags at all by a ratio of about two-to-one. While the stated intent of most plastic bag ban ordinances is to shift the majority of shoppers into using reusable bags, and reinforced by imposing minimum fees on paper bags in order to coerce shoppers into using reusable bags, the exact opposite has happened instead. This is not surprising since using reusable bags is not without its own set of problems.

To read more click on the following link: Shoppers Reject Reusable Bags

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.

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.