The California Legislature has once again failed the people of California, this time by passing a draconian plastic bag ban i.e. SB-270). This legislation would ban the distribution of thin-film plastic carryout bags by grocery and convenience stores and impose a minimum fee of 10-cents per store provided paper or reusable bag. The intent of the fee is to change shopper behavior by using a punitive financial incentive to coerce shoppers into bringing and using their own reusable bags. The legislature could have passed a much simpler solution that would have received a much greater and widespread public support and would not have involved changing shopper behavior or imposing bag fees while at the same time solving the plastic bag litter problem. Continue reading California Legislature Fails Citizens with Draconian Bag Ban
On Friday, 29 August, 2014 the California State Legislature passed a statewide plastic bag ban in passing SB-270. SB-270 now goes to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature. Governor Brown has until 30 September 2014 to act on the measure. Governor Brown has not indicated support for or opposition to the measure.
If the measure becomes law, shoppers will have to bring their own carryout bags, purchase and use reusable bags, or purchase a paper or thick plastic “reusable” bag for 10-cents each. The law becomes effective on 1 July 2015 for most grocery stores and 1 July 2016 for convenience stores.
NOTE: The key provisions of SB-270 are outlined below. These key provisions are taken from the language of SB-270 as much as possible but have been changed and modified for clarity and readability. Readers are referred to the actual legislation at: SB-270 (Padilla). Continue reading California Legislature Passes Statewide Bag Ban Bill
Reason Foundation, a public policy research organization recently released several studies that raise serious questions about plastic bag ban and the associated environmental and economic impacts. The articles and associated documents can be downloaded by clicking on the article links.
In a column titled “California’s Proposed Plastic Bag Ban Would Cost Consumers But Wouldn’t Improve the Environment” researchers Julian Morris and Lance Christensen claim that banning lightweight plastic bags would likely increase our use of energy and water and increase greenhouse gas emissions and would not substantially reduce litter or reduce the cost of litter removal. In addition, they state it is difficult for California’s political class to justify imposing the more than $2 billion it would cost the state’s consumers.
In a study titled “An Evaluation of the Effects of California’s Proposed Plastic Bag Ban” researchers Julian Morris and Lance Christensen look at bag bans implemented by local jurisdictions and the recently introduced bill by State Senator Alex Padilla (SB 270) that would impose a statewide ban. They state the premise of these laws is to benefit the environment and reduce municipal costs; but, that in practice the opposite occurs. They state that available evidence suggests that these laws will do nothing to protect the environment, will waste resources, and cost Californian’s billions of dollars.
In a study titled “How Green Is that Grocery Bag Ban?” researchers Julian Morris and Brian Seasholes assess the environmental and economic effects of grocery bag bans and taxes. The researchers noted that the bag bans have a miniscule impact on litter, does not reduce litter collection costs, does not reduce environmental impacts including greenhouse gas emissions, more than likely has an adverse health effect from people not washing reusable bags, and that using reusable bags are inconvenient and costly, and that the cost of bag bans disproportionately fall on the poor.
The movement to ban bottled water sales in favor of using reusable water bottles filled from the tap is still in its infancy compared to the movement to ban plastic carryout bags and to use reusable shopping bags instead. While only one city has banned the sale of bottled water within city limits, many cities have banned the sale of bottled water on city property including city owned buildings and parks. Some National Parks and some but not all Colleges and Universities have also banned the sale of bottled water in single-use single-serving plastic bottles.
In this article, we will examine why banning the sale of bottled water in single-serving single-use plastic bottles is not a smart decision. Despite the glowing rhetoric of using refillable water bottles filled with tap water, this solution is not all that it is cracked up to be. While a ban on bottled water sales is similar to a ban on plastic carryout bags, the major difference is that water is consumed by mouth, where taste, not to mention the perception of health risks, becomes the discriminating factor in whether refillable water bottles with tap water are accepted by the public. But even if accepted by the public, the question of whether banning the sales of bottled water in single-serving single-use containers is the right solution, remains.
To read the complete article, click on the following link: Banning Bottled Water – Wrong Solution
Last December, the Ventura City Council voted 6 to 1 to go ahead and prepare a Single-Use Carryout Bag Ordinance and an addendum to the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) developed by the Beach Erosion Authority for Clean Oceans and Nourishment (BEACON) EIR for consideration by the City Council in six months.
On 19 May 2014, this Single-Use Carryout Bag Ordinance and the EIR addendum was on the city council agenda and failed to pass because of the tie vote by the Ventura City Council.
Mayor Cheryl Heitmann opened discussion of the Single-Use Carryout Bag Ordinance agenda item and turned it over to Ray Olson, Public Works Environmental Sustainability Division Manager for the City of Ventura. Mr. Olson presented a slide show outlining the proposed ordinance developed by city staff. Key features of the ordinance presented in the presentation are as follows: Continue reading Ventura Single-Use Carryout Bag Ordinance Decision Delayed
Most communities that have implemented plastic bag bans have generally followed the same prescription. First, plastic carryout bag are banned at checkout, and a minimum fee of 10-cents is charged for each paper bag issued in order to coerce shoppers into bringing their own reusable bags. In addition, most communities but not all, provide an exemption to the paper bag fee for certain low income groups.
Most communities that have passed plastic bag bans have done so without seriously considering the impact upon on community residents. In particular the costs imposed on residents complying with the bag ban. While a few cities have calculated the cost of reusable bags for a typical family, they have largely ignored the value of personal time required for residents to handle reusable bags (such as the effort to put bags into the car, wash bags on a regular basis, dry bags, fold bags, etc.) and the increased cost of water and energy. As a result such estimates are flawed and incomplete.
Cost of Plastic Bag Alternatives
In an article titled “Plastic Bag Alternatives Much More Costly To Consumers” the cost of different bag alternatives is estimated and discussed. This analysis includes bag alternatives such as store supplied plastic bags, store supplied paper bags. Shopper supplied plastic bags, and shopper supplied reusable bags. Furthermore, the analysis includes not only the out-of-pocket costs for bags and also the value of one’s time calculated at $12 per hour required to manage shopper supplied bag options. Continue reading What Will A Plastic Bag Ban Cost Residents In Your Community
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
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
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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- “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.
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