City Council To Decide on Plastic Bag Ban Ordinance

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Back in February, the Davis City Council directed staff to hold off on CEQA documentation to see what would happen at the state level with regard to the implementation of single use plastic bag legislation.  While several bills were under consideration at the legislative level, the legislature killed several of them and it appears that they will not act on any legislation this session.

Based on that, staff is presenting a schedule for the Davis City Council to move forward with consideration of a local ordinance that would regulate single use carry-out bags, similar to efforts in communities throughout California.

Staff is putting forward the ordinance recommended by the NRC (Natural Resources Commission).  The draft ordinance would include a plastic bag ban, a 10-cent charge for paper and a greater than 10-cent charge for reusable bags, and would only be applicable to larger retailers including supermarkets, drug stores and convenience stores.

If passed, the ordinance could be effective by July 1, 2014.

On September 25, 2012, the City Council directed staff to contract with ESA, an environmental science and planning firm with a location in Sacramento, to do an Initial Study/Negative Declaration for the City of Davis Single Use Carryout Bag Ordinance, in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and State CEQA Guidelines.

“The City of Davis has prepared a draft Initial Study and intends to adopt a Negative Declaration for the Single Use Carryout Bag Ordinance. Friday, January 25 marked the start of the 30 day public review period, which ends at 4:30pm on February 25, 2013,” according to a communication from Utilities Manager Jacques DeBra.

“On December 6, 2011, the City adopted a Zero Waste Resolution in which the City strives to implement zero waste strategies,” the city writes. “It is the desire of the City of Davis to conserve resources, reduce GHG emissions, waste, litter and pollution. The use of single-use shopping bags (plastic, paper, and biodegradable) have negative environmental impacts, including greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, litter, water consumption, solid waste generation and effects on wildlife.”

The city adds, “From an overall environmental and economic perspective, the best alternative to single-use plastic and paper carry-out bags is a shift to reusable bags. Studies and impacts from similar policies adopted in other jurisdictions document that restricting plastic bags and placing fees on paper bags will dramatically reduce the use of both types of bags.”

“Despite their lightweight and compact characteristics, plastic bags disproportionately impact the solid waste and recycling stream and persist in the environment even after they have broken down,” the city continues. “Even when plastic bags are disposed of properly, they often become litter due to their aerodynamic nature. The bags can be blown out of the landfill by the wind. Plastic litter not only causes visual blight, but can potentially harm wildlife.”

The initial study by the city was completed earlier this year.  However, at the time, council suspended efforts, pending state legislative direction.

In March, the Second Appellate District affirmed the judgment of a Los Angeles County judge who upheld a Los Angeles County plastic bag ban ordinance which prohibits retail stores from providing single-use plastic carryout bags and requires stores to charge customer a 10-cent surcharge per paper carryout bag.

Lee Schmeer and others (Petitioners) filed a combined petition for writ of mandate and complaint, challenging the ordinance, contending that the ordinance violates Article XIII C of the California Constitution, as amended by Proposition 26, because they claimed the 10-cent charge is a tax and was not approved by county voters.

Writes the appellate court: “We conclude that the paper carryout bag charge is not a tax for purposes of article XIII C because the charge is payable to and retained by the retail store and is not remitted to the county. We therefore will affirm the judgment in favor of the county and other respondents.”

The ordinance, passed in November of 2010 by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisorsm prohibits retail stores within unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County from providing plastic carryout bags to customers.

The ordinance “states that retail stores may provide, for the purpose of carrying goods away from the store, only recyclable paper carryout bags or reusable carryout bags meeting certain requirements (including plastic bags satisfying those requirements).”

The study commissioned by the city of Davis found, “In an effort to characterize carryout bag use within the City of Davis, staff conducted a survey at 6 large grocery stores in Davis in August 2012. At each store, five hundred shoppers were surveyed and the number of different bag types (plastic, paper, reusable, or no bag) that shoppers carried out of the store were counted. On average, 49.5% of carryout bags used were single use plastic, 20% were paper, 17.2% were reusable bags and 13.3% opted not to use bags.”

The study shows, “The results of the survey indicated that Davis residents already use single use carryout plastic bags at a lower rate compared to larger jurisdictions such as Los Angeles (where 96% of transactions involved single use plastic bags).”

The study estimated that, according to the Yolo County Central Landfill, “plastic bags make up approximately 50-60 percent of the litter and it was estimated that 1,815 man hours per year were spent picking up litter at the YCCL. This equates to roughly $34,000 a year spent for plastic bag litter clean up costs (City of Davis, March 26, 2012 NRC Staff Report).”

“Implementation of the proposed ordinance will result in the reduction of single use carryout bags from distribution and potentially reduce the amount of litter and associated aesthetic impacts and will not result in any new potentially significant aesthetics impacts,” the report finds.

The study also found, “Implementation of the proposed ordinance will have the direct physical impact of greatly reducing single-use carryout plastic bags from distribution within the City from approximately 45 larger retail establishments, and to be replaced with ‘recycled’ paper bags and reusable bags. While the exact number of carryout bags to be removed and replaced with paper or reusable bags is not known, plastic bags would not be replaced by paper bags on a one to one ratio since paper bags have a higher capacity.”

They continue: “In light of anticipated education efforts and the public’s existing concern for this issue, at least some percentage of plastic bags are expected to be replaced by reusable bags rather than paper bags.”

They find: “Any increase in the use of paper bags resulting from the proposed ordinance, coupled with any cumulative increase in paper bag use associated with the adoption of other similar ordinances from other jurisdictions located within the State of California, would be relatively small with a minimal increase in energy consumption. Any potential air quality impacts related to increased truck traffic associated with the distribution of carryout bags is expected to be less than significant.”

The study also finds: “Single-use carryout bags, when compared with reusable bags, have a much higher chance of becoming litter and entering creeks, streams, and other sensitive habitat. Implementation of the proposed ordinance would serve to reduce this type of litter and have a potentially beneficial effect to creeks, streams, and other sensitive habitat within and around the City of Davis.”

The study also expects a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions as the result of the ordinance.

They write: “The data showed there was an overall reduction in the total number of carryout bags distributed and a shift to using reusable bags or no bags at all. Ultimately, Greenhouse Gas Emissions associated with the shift from plastic to paper and/or reusable bags were projected to decrease by over 20 percent (Santa Clara County, 2011). The data was considered to be conservative because it assumed that no recycling of paper bags occurred. Thus if the data was adjusted to account for existing recycling rates, the resulting greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced further.”

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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43 thoughts on “City Council To Decide on Plastic Bag Ban Ordinance”

  1. JustSaying

    “This equates to roughly $34,000 a year spent for plastic bag litter clean up costs (City of Davis, March 26, 2012 NRC Staff Report).”

    Where do we find this report? This seems like an exaggeration. Why would we be pay someone $60,000 a year as a litter picker upper? Does this include health benefits, retirement contributions and other. Does the position require an advanced degree?

    PS–There’s that obviously staged photo yet again.

  2. David M. Greenwald

    Guys, the reason I like the picture is illustrates a bag. It’s a stock photo. It’s not a policy argument. If I wanted to use a photo for that purpose, I would post the one of the bags against the fence on the causeway, which was not staged.

  3. SouthofDavis

    When we get the name of the guy making $68K and see the contract that he will be working part time and taking a $34K after the bag ban passes I’ll believe this, otherwise I’ll just assume it is a made up number like most of the other numbers in the article (I had to laugh when I thought about 90% of LA shoppers walking out of stores with packs of gum, lacks of cigarettes and 12 packs in plastic bags…

  4. szumskis.ex

    think carefully before you pass this plastic ban ordinance. what do you use your used plastic bags for mostly? collecting garbage? disposing of unwanteds? what impact will no plastic bags with their handy handles have on your life? and the community? what impact on the homeless? just think about it. are you gonna grab a paper bag and clean up your garbage or let it lie? what about people who resent the ban? ya gonna put some teeth in your anti littering law? it is high minded and short sighted to change everybody’s lifestyle for the environmental sanctity you value so much but the end result could be much worse…as usual.

  5. JustSaying

    2cowherd, thanks for the offer. I’ve got a good supply right now, but I’ll check back with you if this thing goes through. I suspect we’ll all be able to get a good supply if we just switch to Woodland for groceries while we’re over there at Costco, Walmart, Sears, Home Depot, etc.

    I always use each one at least two times, sometimes more so they last quite awhile. If they start getting too torn us, I try to keep them out of the landfill by burning them in my fireplace.

    You might save one for the dude who that the photo, bit I assume he carries that Safeway bag with him to tie onto shrubs and fences fore these great pictures.

    I’ve been watching the causeway fencing and the roadside fences when we take stuff to the landfill. David’s correct that those bags don’t appear twisted onto the fencing or bushes, just blown there. Over the past year, I’ve counted 14 such flyaway bags. I thought about stopping and grabbing them, but it seemed a little a little dangerous for then good-citizen benefit.

    Nothing was said here about whether the onerous rules for stores still is a part of this proposal. Or, how much it’ll cost them for record-keeping. Or, how much we’ll be paying for the city employee(s) who’ll be making the surprise inspections and analyzing the store bag purchases, inventories and actual usage.

    Also, I’m wondering whether paper bags will be outlawed since they obviously don’t provide the same litter problems as the plastic ones supposedly do.

    I hope the city council will start concentrating on things that will make a significant difference for our community and the environment. Maybe they could earmark some of the innovation dollars for inventing paper and plastic bags that are biodegradable.

  6. B. Nice

    [quote]Just Saying “I hope the city council will start concentrating on things that will make a significant difference for our community and the environment”[/quote]

    Sounds like banning plastic bags will make a significant difference, even if you only consider that they estimate to make up 50%-60% of liter in the landfill.

    [quote] szumskis.ex what impact will no plastic bags with their handy handles have on your life? [/quote]

    This is a great question. I would argue that not having them will create far fewer, and less consequential, negative impacts on most people’s lives then the negative environmental impacts their use causes.

    Are there compelling reasons not to pass this ban, besides what seems like minor inconveniences, because it seems like there are a lot of good reasons to pass it.

  7. Don Shor

    Once again, as I have to point out on every single blog article on this topic, this is not a “plastic bag ban ordinance.” It is a single-use bag ordinance that bans plastic bags and creates a regulatory system for paper bags. The regulatory system for paper bags includes the following:

    ” When requested by the Public Works Directoror designee, Applicable Stores required to
    collect a Paper Bag Cost Pass-Through shall report to the City, on a form prescribed by the Public Works Department, a summary of all payments of Paper Bag Cost Pass- Throughs received. The form shall be signed by a responsible officer or agent of the Store who shall swear or affirm that the information provided on the form is true and complete.

    (e) Applicable Stores shall keep complete and accurate record or documents of the purchase of any Recycled Paper Bag by the Applicable Store for a minimum period of three years from the date of purchase, which records shall be available for inspection at no cost to the City during regular business hours by a City employee authorized to enforce this Chapter. These records may be kept at the corporate level.”

  8. SouthofDavis

    B. Nice wrote:

    > I don’t understand the goals/purpose of the
    > paper bag regulatory’s system.

    Like most laws like this it will add a new task for small business owners that the city can fine when the find a gap in their daily paper bag “records”…

    P.S. I wonder if pet stores selling live fish will be exempt from the plastic bag ban?

  9. JustSaying

    “Sounds like banning plastic bags will make a significant difference, even if you only consider that they estimate to make up 50%-60% of liter in the landfill.”

    This claim has been repeated every time the plastic bag issue is raised in Davis. Someone, please provide the documentation for this report.

    Does his mean 50-60% of the landfill’s weight? Or, 50-60% of the landfill’s volume? Either way, the claim seems nonsensical. Even if all the single-use plastic bags in Davis were just hauled off to the dump as soon as they arrived in the city (rather than being used for various purposes) the bags wouldn’t approach these claimed amounts.

    How do single-use plastic bags get to the Yolo County landfill? Take a look at your own trash can; do you see more than a tiny amount of them compared to the rest of the trash in there? Look in any dumpster around town, where are the single use bags?

    Drive out to the landfill and take a look. How many bags would it take to match just one of the couches…or mattresses…or any other of the typical landfill items?

    My guess is that trash bags might even provide more plastic for the landfill than the targeted shopping bags. My guess is that single-use shopping bags provide no where near the landfill contribution that the commission and other proponents allege.

    More than half of our landfill is made up of single-use plastic bags? Please! Listen, if you prove this one, I’ll become a ban advocate.

    PS–Nothing personal, B. Nice. I’ve just read this so many times that I finally have to say, “What?”

  10. B. Nice

    [quote]Like most laws like this it will add a new task for small business owners that the city can fine when the find a gap in their daily paper bag “records”… [/quote]

    I’m assuming there is a reason for this task, besides just fining business’ when they don’t do it?

  11. Growth Izzue

    Justsaying, the 50 to 60% in plastic bags is the percentage of the litter that the highly paid plastic bag pickerupper is supposedly paid.

    If the city council wants to ban plastic bags than the only fair way is to let stores that want to give away the paper bags do so. I think that should make most everyone happy. The pastic bag banners got their way and those that still want a bag at the store aren’t being forcibly charged 10 cents for their paper bags.

  12. Don Shor

    [quote]and would only be applicable to larger retailers including supermarkets, drug stores and convenience stores.[/quote]

    7 ELEVEN STORE
    AGGIES LIQUORS

    DAVIS BEER SHOPPE
    THE ANDERSON GAS & MINI MART
    ARCO AM PM
    BASSI SHELL

    CHEVRON
CIRCLE K STORE
    COST PLUS WORLD MARKET
    CVS PHARMACY
    DAVIS 1 STOP
    DAVIS FOOD COOPERATIVE INC
    DAVIS WINE COMPANY
    DOLLAR TREE

    FARMERS MARKET
    FAST & EASY MART

    GROCERY OUTLET

    INCONVIENENT STORE

    INTERNATIONAL MARKET

    KIMS MART

    MACE MARKET

    NATURAL FOOD WORKS

    NUGGET MARKET

    OLIVE DRIVE MARKET

    RITE AID/ PAYLESS DRUG STORE
    QUICK SHOP MARKET

    SAFEWAY INC
    SAVE MART SUPERMARKETS
    SOUTH DAVIS VALERO

    STOP & SHOP FOOD MART

    SUDWERK RESTAURANT AND BREWERY
    TARGET

    THE DAVIS BEER SHOPPE

    TRADER JOES
    UNIVERSITY SHELL

    VALLEY WINE CO

    WESTLAKE MARKET

    WHOLE FOODS MARKET

    LOIS RAE WINES

  13. JustSaying

    “P.S. I wonder if pet stores selling live fish will be exempt from the plastic bag ban?”

    I think the current plan is to exempt most Davis businesses from this foolishness. The fact is that most Davis residents are environmentalist volunteers and hardly need this ordinance to be responsible citizens. Still, a rainbow colored, reusable jute bag might not do the job for live fish. (Now, those Los Angeles folks are another story.)

    Considering that insular Davis would be the only bag-ban community that contributes to the Yolo landfill, it’s difficult to see why we should take on this imposition anyway. Is this another example of a small minority imposing its pet idea on the majority? Or, would proponents dare subject the concept to a vote? Let’s give democracy a try, city council.

  14. B. Nice

    [quote]Does his mean 50-60% of the landfill’s weight? Or, 50-60% of the landfill’s volume? Either way, the claim seems nonsensical. Even if all the single-use plastic bags in Davis were just hauled off to the dump as soon as they arrived in the city (rather than being used for various purposes) the bags wouldn’t approach these claimed amounts. [/quote]

    Just Saying, my husband (who works in the environmental engineering world) basically said the same thing when I quoted him these numbers. Do we know how the study came up with this estimate?

    That being said I do think legitimate arguments exist to support a ban on single use plastic bags. (I don’t understand the part of the ordinance that deals with paper bags.)

  15. B. Nice

    [quote]The study estimated that, according to the Yolo County Central Landfill, “plastic bags make up approximately 50-60 percent of the litter and it was estimated that 1,815 man hours per year were spent picking up litter at the YCCL.[/quote]

    My husband (again who works in the environmental engineering field) read on this is that “litter” in this case is not the garbage being dumped into the landfill. He thinks it means that plastic bags make up 50%-60% of the garbage being dumped into the landfill that gets blown to where it’s not supposed to go, not that 50%-60% of the all the garbage being dumped is plastic bags. The man hour is time is takes people to walk around and put the plastic bags back with the trash so it can be buried.

  16. JustSaying

    As I understand it, the plastic bag ban proposal has incorporated a requirement that “semi-bans” paper as well by prohibiting certain stores from giving them to customers. Requiring some stores to charge a specific amount for each paper bag that is used apparently requires setting up a whole new enforcement system to keep stores from sneaking a free paper bag to any customer except, maybe, food stamp users (?).

    It’s difficult to know how much of our city staff time will go to checking inventory records, penalizing offenders, etc.

    (This might not be a completely accurate summary, but it’s what I’ve gathered from previous Vanguard and Enterprise discussions. Someone, no doubt, will help you with a more detailed, accurate evaluation.)

  17. B. Nice

    [quote]As I understand it, the plastic bag ban proposal has incorporated a requirement that “semi-bans” paper as well by prohibiting certain stores from giving them to customers. Requiring some stores to charge a specific amount for each paper bag that is used apparently requires setting up a whole new enforcement system to keep stores from sneaking a free paper bag to any customer except, maybe, food stamp users (?). [/quote]

    Got it. Thanks.

  18. Don Shor

    You can read the whole proposal by going here: [url]http://city-council.cityofdavis.org/council-meetings/agenda—july-2-2013[/url]
    and clicking on item 09.

  19. David M. Greenwald

    “If the city council wants to ban plastic bags than the only fair way is to let stores that want to give away the paper bags do so.”

    I was in San Luis Obispo a few weeks ago, it wasn’t a big deal. If you wanted a bag, you pay 10 cents. One of the clerks said, he was shocked by how many people would rather just carry their stuff than pay 10 cents.

  20. David M. Greenwald

    “I think the current plan is to exempt most Davis businesses from this foolishness. “

    Foolishness that seems to work well in SLO and countless other cities around the state.

  21. David M. Greenwald

    “As I understand it, the plastic bag ban proposal has incorporated a requirement that “semi-bans” paper as well by prohibiting certain stores from giving them to customers. Requiring some stores to charge a specific amount for each paper bag that is used apparently requires setting up a whole new enforcement system to keep stores from sneaking a free paper bag to any customer except, maybe, food stamp users (?).”

    This seems to be the model in most jurisdictions. The idea is that they don’t simply want to replace plastic with paper, but rather want to encourage people to go reusable. The nice part of not being innovators on this is that we can look at what’s worked in other jurisdictions.

  22. Don Shor

    The San Luis Obispo County ordinance contains no paperwork provision requiring record-keeping.
    [url]http://www.iwma.com/admin/ordinances/Draft Single Use Bag Ordinance 11-2-11.pdf[/url]
    The thing is, David, I’ve said this over and over. You keep using a misleading headline to describe the ordinance, and you keep suggesting Davis adopt an ordinance similar to what other communities have done. And I keep saying they should drop the onerous paperwork and record-keeping requirement about paper bags. And you never acknowledge that. At each stage, some of us have suggested simplifying the ordinance to remove the paper bag monitoring requirement, but it never goes anywhere. It seems the proponents of this bag ordinance, including you, just want it to go forward as is and won’t accept any changes.

  23. David M. Greenwald

    I know Rochelle is sympathetic to dropping that requirement, the business community has her ear, and I completely expect it to be dropped. But it hasn’t gotten to council yet on the merits and at that point, I think they’ll drop it.

    I’ve never expressed that I think it should go forward as is and without changes.

  24. Don Shor

    From the SLO county ordinance:
    “This Ordinance [b]shall not be construed as requiring a store to[/b]: (1) collect, transport, or recycle plastic carryout bags; (2) impose a plastic carryout bag fee; and (3) [b]impose auditing or reporting requirements on stores.”[/b]

    So propose the SLO ordinance for Davis. Once again, I urge the council to eliminate the record-keeping component of the proposed ordinance. Better yet, just adopt the SLO County ordinance.

  25. Don Shor

    [quote]I’ve never expressed that I think it should go forward as is and without changes.[/quote]
    You’re right. I just looked at your commentary from 2012, and you make the exact point about the record-keeping. Sorry. I must have been conflating you with Alan Pryor, which isn’t fair to either of you.

  26. Growth Izzue

    I was in SF last week and everyone I talked to said they were disgusted that they’re now forced to pay 10 cents for paper bags and that soon the ordinance will apply to most stores, even food establishments. They all said that getting rid of plastic bags was okay with them but that they couldn’t understand why they had to pay for paper if the stores were willing to give paper bags out for free.

  27. medwoman

    GI

    And do you and “everyone you talked to about it” truly believe that the stores are willing to give paper bags out
    “for free”, or do you think it more likely that they are actually charging for these bags by the adjustment of the prices of other items ?

  28. Growth Izzue

    Let free enterprise determine what if anything a store charges and not be dictated to by the city what they must charge. I’m sure any store that decides to keep their paper bags free might use that for a great advertising tool. If like you say the price is absorbed in other item’s prices, which I don’t believe to be the case anyway, that will also be taken into consideration by shoppers.

  29. JustSaying

    Alan seems to be busy over at the fluoridation write up. Since he’s writing about bag bans there, I hope he (OR SOMEBODY!) will provide a source for the claim that 50-60% of our land fill trash is the used plastic bags.

    Don, there never seems to be much justification offered for the paper bag record-keeping requirement from the ordinance promoters. I think David repeatedly observes that it’ll probably drop out but it never seems to. It would be nice to read what the Vanguard specifically supports and doesn’t support.

    Other supporters fail to respond at all, figuring (I figure) that it’ll slip through if there’s not much discussion.

    “The idea is that they don’t simply want to replace plastic with paper, but rather want to encourage people to go reusable.”

    I realize what “they” are trying to do–force their idea of solutions on everybody else in town. It’s the same concept that “they” want done with our water, to force their idea of a chemical solution on everyone else.

  30. David M. Greenwald

    ” I think David repeatedly observes that it’ll probably drop out but it never seems to. It would be nice to read what the Vanguard specifically supports and doesn’t support.”

    The council really hasn’t substantively reviewed it yet. All in good time.

  31. B. Nice

    [quote]I hope he (OR SOMEBODY!) will provide a source for the claim that 50-60% of our land fill trash is the used plastic bags. [/quote]

    JustSaying wanted to make sure you saw me earlier post:

    My husband’s (again who works in the environmental engineering field) read on this is that “litter” in this case is not the garbage being dumped into the landfill. His interpretation is that plastic bags make up 50%-60% of the garbage being dumped into the landfill that ends up somewhere it’s not supposed to be, not that 50%-60% of the all the garbage being dumped is plastic bags.

  32. B. Nice

    This excerpt from the an Enterprise Article is one example of how plastic bags that end up at the dump turn into “litter”.

    “The wind had blown plastic bags of all kinds off the landfill site and throughout the area, in some cases sending them more than two miles away to nearby farmland, and covering several spots where thousands of birds nested.

  33. JustSaying

    Thank you Growth Izzue and B. Nice for clarifying that business. I must have misread it the first time around and have labored for a year under the misconception that it was a claim about the amount of plastic bags that ended up in he landfill.

    As I understand it now, more than half of the litter that LEAVES the landfill is made up of single use plastic bags. Makes a lot more sense than my original understanding, given the fact that empty plastic grocery bags seem designed for flight more than any other items that would end up in a landfill.

    So, is that a problem that requires banning the bags? Or, can we deal with it by using tall portable fencing and a $65,000 a year employee who has to go around picking up the other 40-50% of the blowing trash anyway? Furthermore, did the study determine what percent of the errant shopping bags are from Davis?

    I remember reading the Enterprise article you’re quoting when it first appeared. Apparently there was some unusual weather event that sent stuff flying, leading to a dispute between the county and one Cayce Wallace who deserves commendation for cleaning up trash for miles around because the county wasn’t as prompt or responsive as she felt they should have been.

    Putting this on single use shopping bags was an exaggeration, though, based on the photographs accompanying the article. It was a timely blow, coinciding with Alan Pryor’s bag-ban ordinance–something that raised questions for some of the commenters. Then there was the giant plastic tarp that Ms. Wallace carried from a distant farmstead, convinced that it made its way over the landfill fence and flew two miles to the spot.

  34. B. Nice

    “As I understand it now, more than half of the litter that LEAVES the landfill is made up of single use plastic bags”

    I don’t think it actually has to leave the landfill to be considered “litter”. According to my resident waste expert, bags (or anything else) that fly around WITHIN the facility, or up against the fences, is also considered “litter”. This stuff all needs to be recollected so it can be buried, which is where the man power costs come in. Obviously it would be easier to pickup if it stayed within the facility so higher fences would help with that aspect of the problem.

  35. Ginger

    Remember when plastic bags first arrived on the scene? They were billed as the eco-friendly alternative to those nasty brown paper bags that required trees to die.

  36. Ginger

    [quote]And Saccharin was the healthy alternative to sugar when it was first produced.[/quote]

    Yup. I didn’t believe it then about saccharin, and I still don’t believe that aspartame is healthier than sugar. And yet we have legislation in NYC that encourages people to buy diet soda over sugary soda.

    At a certain point trying to legislate behavior just become ridiculous, and can have unintended consequences.

  37. B. Nice

    [quote]Ginger: Remember when plastic bags first arrived on the scene? They were billed as the eco-friendly alternative to those nasty brown paper bags that required trees to die.
    [/quote]

    We now know that is not true.

    [quote]Ginger: At a certain point trying to legislate behavior just become ridiculous, and can have unintended consequences. [/quote]

    What “behavior” is being regulated, people can still use bags, from a consumer stand point why does it matter wether it’s plastic or paper?

  38. Ginger

    [quote][i]”Ginger: Remember when plastic bags first arrived on the scene? They were billed as the eco-friendly alternative to those nasty brown paper bags that required trees to die.”
    [/i]

    We now know that is not true. [/quote]

    That was my point. 🙂

    [quote][i]Ginger: At a certain point trying to legislate behavior just become ridiculous, and can have unintended consequences.[/i]

    What “behavior” is being regulated, people can still use bags, from a consumer stand point why does it matter wether it’s plastic or paper?[/quote]

    So are you postulating that this legislation doesn’t attempt to change how people respond at check-out when asked, “Paper or plastic?”

    As to why from a consumer standpoint why does it matter if the bag is paper or plastic…well, if it was completely irrelevant then there wouldn’t be an issue whatsoever. People wouldn’t have a preference, and shops could just do whatever they liked and their customers wouldn’t notice.

    I re-use all of my bags, paper and plastic. All of my paper bags are ultimately recycled when they have outlived their usefulness (unlike the “reusable” type you purchase…when they wear out, they go to the landfill). My plastic bags? They get used to line garbage cans, pick up doggy poo-[i]poo[/i], and as make-shift gloves. I guess I’ll have to start buying all of these plastic products independently, or go to other cities to get free plastic bags when I check out.

    Unintended consequences?

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