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Ban On Plastic Shopping Bags


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In California the only actual bans are in San Francisco and Los Angeles Counties. The state Republican party rails against this "criminal overreach of guv'mint regulation" and are working to bring back the "right to choose the bag you want to use." (oh the irony)


The reason it took so long is that they are much cheaper for the supermarkets than paper bags. The main way the bans in LA and SF got passed was to allow stores to charge for the bags (in fact that's required in SF), which the stores are ambivalent about because customers don't like the charge and complain about it, but it's a necessary evil to avoid hitting their profit margin. The independent markets in the coastal counties have all pushed paper when not given a preference because that's a popular position among the more liberal folks in the state, so it pays in marketing dividends. The stores in the interior conservative counties of the state push plastic as a kind of rebellion against the "tree huggers."


One more thing though is that in California markets are required to provide recycling bins specifically for these plastic bags, and in recent years they've been filling rapidly as people get used to recycling as a central part of their lives.


All that's changing though. They really are criminal and they'll get banned eventually as the price of the oil they're made from continues to rise.



The human race is challenged more than ever before to demonstrate our mastery, not over nature but of ourselves, :phones:


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I usually take whatever they give, but I often ask for paper at the grocery. We do have recycling for plastic, but I reuse the ones I get and they are too few anyway to justify driving to the recycle point. The reusable bags need to be cleaned and that has its own water waste and detergent/cleaner water pollution problems as well. Damned if we do & damned if we don't. :goodbad:

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We either use fabric bags - back to the old shopping bags I grew up with - or just wheel the trolley to the car let them find there own place of rest in the boot (trunk).


I abhor items that are sealed within multiple layers of packaging. Not just for the environmental impact, but the frustration of trying to get them open.

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Loblaws grocery corporation started charging 5 cents for plastic bags and selling very good quality fabric bags for 99 cents several years ago. They also offered plastic grocery shopping basket/boxes for a few dollars and sometimes for free when one purchased a specified amount of groceries. These baskets fit nicely inside a shopping cart and make transporting your purchases from store to vehicle to home very expeditious.



They also make a hard-side collapsible tote that is amazing for it's capacity and durability. I have had one for almost two years and I sometimes have it laden so heavy that I can barely carry it yet the bag shows no sign of failing. It also has side loops for lifting and that was a most practical design detail.



Their most recent addition to the line-up is an insulated shopping bag for $3.00. I have not checked out that model yet. I expect that as we head into summer, the item will become even more popular with our customers. When I buy meat, the cashiers will put it in plastic without charge to protect the rest of my purchases from potential leakage. I re-use those bags as liners for waste-baskets in my home.


Our Liquor Store also has gone bag-less. Customers can bring their own bag, buy one at the store or they will offer you a cardboard box if you are buying three bottles or more.

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You can also in Washington and Oregon bring in your plastic bags for recycling at most major grocery stores.


Just save your plastic bags into a big round wad and then bring them in to your next shopping visit, and deposit them , usually in a front of store container bin specified for that purpose.

And if you get paper bags, then that easily goes into home recycling bins..


Maybe on the West Coast U.S. we're more responsible about recycling, but it seems almost common place now that many people re-use or recycle those plastic bags.

Now that I think about it, maybe alot of people don't recycle the plastic bags; but since I've always made a habit of recycling I take for granted that many people may not.. so it doesn't seem like such a big deal when maybe it should be, considering how much junk ends up in the oceans and rivers and landscaspes...


So BANNING i guess is the way to go, otherwise most people/sheeple won't get the message.

I'm never for LESS choice, but I suppose for the Sheeple its acceptable if they can't be bothered to make an effort to recycle..

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Do you use reusable bags?

I’m 1960 vintage eco-hippie, so have been walking and biking stuff around in reusable backpacks and reusable bags my entire adult life. By bags of choice at present are a pair of sturdy green mesh bags I bought at a DC area Giant grocery store around 1990, and a nifty insulated corporate branding swag bag from 2008, all of which are easy to keep in my laptop case, which I’m pretty much never without. Since my my 2000 defeat in a matrimonial conflict know as “the Prius war”, my wife and I’ve owned a eco-piggish Ford Windstar minivan, which has a stash of 9 Elizabeth Haub Foundations bags, which are 100% recycled nylon and polypropylene fiber and film. In a low-intensity continuation of the 2000 Prius war, I try to never use the minivan, despite my wife ridiculing me for the eco-hypocrisy of being an IT guy (computers at present use an obscene fraction – about 13% in the US – of total electric power)


Having hopefully proven myself a respectable eco-citizen, I’ve gotta throw some enthusiasm dampening on the substitution of reusable shopping bags for plastic ones, and call out the common misconception that plastic shopping bags more ecologically damaging than paper ones.


By gross quantitative factors, paper bags are more ecologically damaging that plastic ones, primarily because they are more massive, and thus use more resources and energy (about 2.5 times) to manufacture, and because paper manufacture requires much more water (about 25 time). Paper is ecologically better than plastic because it’s weaker and not waterproof, so less likely to entangle wildlife, externally or internally, or clog pipes. In typical waste conditions – buried in landfills – neither plastic nor paper biodegrades very well. Of the many sources for this data, I think this one is one of the best.


Reusable bags are potentially dramatically less ecologically damaging than disposables, paper or plastic. (eg: In my personal case, for example, using the same bags for 25+ years). However, I’ve seen anecdotes (ie: in this article) suggesting that many people use a greater mass per unit time of reusable bags (which are much more massive than disposable plastic bags) than they would have using disposable plastic bags.


In short, a bag is a tool, and like any tool, can be used well or poorly.


Still, common sense (and, I expect, source I’m too lazy to dig up) suggests that disposable bag taxes and bans and other actions to increase the use of reusable bags are effective in reducing ecological damage. Further, the charge, which is typically insignificant (in my county, US$0.05/disposable bag, around $1/reusable bag) appear to be the strongest motivators to avoid the disposable and reuse the resuables.


An interesting aside I came across in this wikipedia article: China totally banned plastic shopping bags in 2008.

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