Tag Archives: Take-out

Plastic Bag Bans – A Community Could Do So Much Better & For So Much Less

Plastic Ocean
Plastic Debris in Ocean (Photo credit: Kevin Krejci)

Litter from fast food waste makes up 29.4% of roadside litter.  Should we ban fast food takeout?  Now, before you answer, plastic grocery bags make up less than 0.6% of all roadside litter and cities all over California are banning plastic grocery bags!  The good news is that fast food takeout is not being banned, but it begs the question “Why are plastic grocery bags singled out when their contribution to litter is miniscule?”

In fact, officials who vote for plastic bag bans cannot even point to a plastic bag litter problem in their own community!  Let alone a problem of sufficient magnitude that would justify a ban.  Litter surveys are rarely ever conducted and when they are, they are conducted in a haphazard manner leading to questionable results.  Decisions to implement bag bans are usually based on anecdotal evidence, questionable at best, offered by environmental groups such as showing pictures of a few plastic bags littered around town, in the river bed, and pictures of a turtle chewing on a plastic bag.

Everything that man uses is littered.  Ever see a discarded candy wrapper, a paper bag, a milk carton, a mattress, a sofa, or a tire on the side of the road?  Life would be tough if we ban everything that is littered, including plastic grocery bags.  Despite the lack of evidence that plastic bag litter is a significant problem, let’s assume it is and look at more cost effective and appropriate methods of dealing with that litter, methods that would be beneficial to the community.

To read the entire article click on the following link:  Plastic Bag Bans – A Community Could Do So Much Better & For So Much Less

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Updated Article: Do Californians Really Use 20 Billion Plastic Bags Per Year?

The article Do Californian’s Really Use 20 Billion Plastic Bags Per Year? has been updated.  The text was clarified in a number of areas, including the insertion of equations showing how to perform calculations, as well as footnotes to fully document all of the sources of information.  We still maintain that the 20 billion Plastic Carryout Bag number is erroneous and the true number of plastic bags used is closer to 9 to 10 billion per year.

Statewide Bag Ban Would Cost Residents More Than $1 Billion!

State Lawmakers and environmentalists who propose a statewide plastic carryout bag bans, like so many officials in communities that have implemented such bans, most often fail to take into consideration the economics of a bag ban and the increased costs to residents.  Not only will residents incur out-of-pocket costs to purchase bags, but depending upon the type of bag chosen, personal time will be required to manage bags and maintain bags in a sanitary condition. Continue reading Statewide Bag Ban Would Cost Residents More Than $1 Billion!

Residents Launch Initiative to Stop Bag Bans

Residents in Campbell, California who are opposed to plastic carryout bag bans have filed official paperwork to launch an initiative petition which will allow the citizens of Campbell to vote to block bag bans from coming to their city. Their effort, supported by the Stop the Bag Ban citizen’s group, will be the first such effort launched in California empowering the people to stop a bag ban.

Bag bans typically ban plastic carryout bags and impose a minimum fee on paper bags issued with the goal of coercing shoppers to use reusable bags.  Bag bans have been adopted by the governing bodies in over 70 municipalities and counties in California; however, none has ever allowed their citizens to affirm or overturn their decision by popular vote.

The proposed initiative would add language to Campbell’s Municipal Code to prohibit carryout bag bans, taxes, or minimum fees, and would overturn any laws that had been passed prior to the vote.

According to petition co-organizer Larry Grattan, a long time Campbell resident, a bag ban is simply not needed.  He stated that arguments for a bag ban are weak and more of an emotional plea that ends up taking away the freedoms and rights of businesses and individuals, exposes the public to increased health risks, and increases the monetary cost of shopping.

“If someone wants to use a reusable bag, then they have that right,” said Larry Grattan, “but it is wrong to force the other 90% of the people who freely choose plastic or paper bags to use reusable bags against their will.”  

Signature gathering is expected to begin in early July. The petitioners will have 6 months to gather enough signatures to force the initiative to a vote of the people at the next general election or to force a special election if needed to stop implementation of a bag ban passed by the city council.

 To read the press release in its entirety, click on the following link: https://fighttheplasticbagban.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/campbellinitiativepressrelease.pdf

Plastic Bag Ban Creates New Welfare Benefit

Local ordinances that implement plastic carryout bag bans are very similar from one community to the next.  The ordinances ban the distribution of plastic carryout bags and impose a fee of 10 or 25 cents on paper bags to discourage paper bag use and encourage the use of reusable shopping bags.

One of the more interesting parts of the ordinance is the exemption granted to families that 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.  Participants in these programs are allowed to receive free paper bags when they shop; whereas, all others must purchase paper bags or purchase and use reusable bags.  In addition, participants may be eligible for free reusable bags at the option of the store. Continue reading Plastic Bag Ban Creates New Welfare Benefit

Plastic Bag Ban Creates New Administrative Regulatory Burdens

Local ordinances that implement plastic carryout bag bans are very similar from one community to the next.  The ordinances ban the distribution of plastic carryout bags and impose a fee of 10 or 25-cents on paper bags to discourage paper bag use and encourage the use of reusable shopping bags.

In addition to regulating bag use, the ordinances have annual or quarterly reporting provisions that require stores in the jurisdiction and subject to the ordinance to report the number of paper carryout bags issued and the amount of money collected for providing paper carryout bags.  In addition the store must summarize the efforts undertaken to promote the use of reusable bags in the previous quarter.   In other words, a new regulatory burden is created for the store that adds to the cost of doing business.  The regulatory burden continues indefinitely or until the ordinance is no longer in effect or until the city directs that quarterly reporting cease.

On the city’s side, the quarterly reports must processed and evaluated and statistics developed to determine if the goals of the ordinance are being met.  Of course, annual reports to the city manager and the city council will also be made.  In addition, there are inspections of stores to determine that they are indeed complying with the ordinance. 

Every store that is regulated by the ordinance will experience an increase in regulatory costs, which will have to be recovered from customers through higher food and merchandise prices. 

In addition, the jurisdiction that implemented the Plastic Bag Ban will also incur thousands of dollars of costs annually in order to administer the ordinance.  To spend thousands of taxpayer dollars to administer an ordinance that controls the type of bags residents use to carry groceries home from the supermarket is wasteful and plain stupid.  Those tax dollars could be better spent fixing pot holes on city streets.

Pro-Choice on Shopping Bags

One of my primary objections to plastic carryout bag bans is that it imposes someone else’s solution to a perceived problem on everyone else.  It does so, by banning plastic carryout bags and imposing a fee of 10 or 25 cents on paper bags to coerce the customer into using reusable shopping bags.  While customers can always bring their own bags of any type, including plastic carryout bags, to the store to take their purchases home, the stores are only allowed to sell paper bags or reusable bags to the customer.    Continue reading Pro-Choice on Shopping Bags

Plastic Bags Today And Bottled Water Tomorrow

Many people may wonder why, after retirement, I chose to become involved in fighting the plastic bag ban.  The answer is rather simple.  Had our government leaders just banned plastic bags because of the litter issue and reported harm to marine wildlife, I would have simply gone along with it.  But instead, they crossed the line when the ordinances imposed a fee on paper bags in order to coerce you into purchasing and using a reusable bag.  When the government through force of law tells you to use a certain kind of shopping bag to take your purchases home from the store, you know you have lost a little bit more of freedom and individual liberty.  That little bit of freedom was fought for by men and women from the founding of our nation to the present time, whose blood was spilled to preserve our nation and the precious freedom and liberty we enjoy.  Continue reading Plastic Bags Today And Bottled Water Tomorrow

Do Californians Really Use 20 Billion Plastic Bags Per Year?

How often have you heard proponents of plastic carry out bag bans say that Californian’s use 20 billion plastic carry out bags per year or 531 bags per capita.  Have you ever  asked yourself the following questions:

  • Where did this number comes from?
  • How is this number is calculated?
  • Is the number is reasonable?
  • Is there a more reasonable number?

Continue reading Do Californians Really Use 20 Billion Plastic Bags Per Year?