Tag Archives: San Francisco

San Jose Painfully Learns Litter Problems Were Not Solved By Plastic Bag Ban!

Palm trees lining streets in San Jose, California
Palm trees lining streets in San Jose, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The City of San Jose is painfully discovering that the much touted bag ban that cost residents millions of dollars in out of pocket costs and personal time did nothing to solve litter problems. An environmental group, San Francisco Baykeeper, has notified the city that intends to file a lawsuit because of the city’s failure to prevent trash and sewage from flowing into the Guadalupe River and Coyote Creek through its storm drain system and into San Francisco Bay. The lawsuit is being filed because of violations of the Federal Clean Water Act. (Rogers, 2014)

San Jose is a hot spot for trash pollution and bacterial pollution into the bay,” said attorney Sejal Choksi, program director for Baykeeper. “Its leaders have not taken care of the problem or prioritized the issue. We’ve seen the trash, we’ve measured the bacterial pollution. What they are doing is not sufficient.” (Rogers, 2014)

In response, Kerrie Romanow, director of environmental services for the City of San Jose, stated that nine catch basins have already been installed in the storm drain system to trap trash and plans are to install 20 more in the next three years. She also stated that the city has increased street sweeping and banned plastic bags. (Rogers, 2014)

San Francisco Baykeeper is a non-profit corporation whose purpose is “… to preserve, protect, and defend the environment, wildlife, and natural resources of San Francisco Bay, its tributaries, and other waters in the Bay Area.” (San Francisco Baykeeper, 2014) Continue reading San Jose Painfully Learns Litter Problems Were Not Solved By Plastic Bag Ban!

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Rebuttal of the San Jose Bag Ban Results

English: Montage of San Jose, California pictures.
English: Montage of San Jose, California pictures. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.