My View: Should We Put Plastic Bags on the Ballot Too?

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plastic-bag-putah

I was reading a rather pointed letter to the editor of the Enterprise suggesting that “[t]elling some businesses they may no longer use plastic bags versus telling all businesses they may no longer use plastic bags is selective fascism versus total fascism.”

They then proceed to argue, “Democracy means that the people decide! Put plastic bags in Davis to a vote of the people of Davis!”

I do find it interesting that people tend to think of representative democracy as illegitimate, while accepting the notion of direct democracy as legitimate.  I find myself channeling the voices who this week argue that we, in fact, elect our representatives for a reason and, if we do not like what they do, we simply vote them out.

I find myself also mirroring those who argue that we cannot put everything on the ballot and therefore must reserve ballot questions for the big issues of the day.  For the most part, the city has not put a tremendous amount on the ballot.  Parcel taxes are required by law, land use decisions are required by city ordinance.

Given the magnitude of the impact of the water rates, I think that was a reasonable decision, especially considering the amount of polarization on that issue.

Given all that, under normal conditions I would not be inclined to put plastic bags on the ballot.  Let the council decide the issue, right?  That is what they are there to do.  If people do not like their decision, vote them out.

Seems like an easy call here.  But then I got to thinking: maybe we should put the decision on the ballot.  The assumption made by opponents of the plastic bag ban is that the majority of citizens would oppose such a measure.  But would they?

Up and down the coast of California, we have seen more and more communities ban plastic bags.  Why?  Several reasons.  First, the use of disposable products in large quantities is ultimately not sustainable.  We need to move away from the use of products that end up in landfills or, worse yet, on the side of the roads.  They end up clogging waterways, causing damage to marine life and birds, and they are a general nuisance.

There are currently 58 communities with plastic bag ordinances.  These include most of the communities considered most progressive: Alameda County, Mendocino County, Santa Monica, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, etc.

The areas most think of as most progressive and environmentally conscious have already made the decision to ban plastic bags.  Missing from that list is, of course, the city of Davis.

Davis has lived for years off its progressive reputation: bike lanes, Village Homes, the solar array in Community Park, and the smoking ban.  But critics like the Vanguard have noted the lack of innovative development since Village Homes, that the solar array doesn’t work and the smoking ban is twenty years old, and for most of the more recent environmental innovations, Davis has not led the way.

Hey, you can’t even reasonably bicycle down Fifth Street to get to the National Bicycling Hall of Fame.  We should be embarrassed – instead we’re fighting over the Fifth Street redesign.

So, is Davis a progressive community on the environmental forefront?

One way to find out is whether Davis is willing to join its progressive brethren across the state and become the 59th city or county to enact a plastic bag ordinance.

I think it is time for Davis to put up or shut up.  And therefore, I surprisingly have reached the conclusion that Davis needs to put its plastic bag ban on the ballot.  If it passes, then we can keep our name in the conversation as being among the more progressive communities in California – even if we are no longer leading the way.

But if the bag ordinance loses, it is all over for Davis.  I have been arguing, for my seven years on the Vanguard, that Davis has the veneer of progressivism, so that if you scrape away you find regressive and downright reactionary policies at its core.

This is a critical testing point.  Will the voices of progressivism that still claim to run this community prevail, or will the reactionary voices that gain a home with a certain newspaper columnist ultimately prove to be stronger?

Are we the community of Cool Davis, the Climate Action Report, the National Bicycling Hall of Fame, or are we a community that believes that there is not a plastic bag problem.

The city’s EIR notes, “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.”

A 2011 letter from Rebecca Loux in the Enterprise noted, “Davis, as a leading California environmental community, needs to take action now to ban single-use plastic grocery bags. The Pacific Garbage Patch, already twice the size of Texas, is an ecological disaster that has tripled in the past 30 years.”

But Davis hasn’t led the way.  So I believe it is time for Davis to step up to the plate and show why it should still be considered a leading community in the environmental and progressive movement.

In an ideal world, of course, we would not have to prove ourselves.  But given the strong undercurrent pushing us away from our brethren, I see little other choice.

So the Davis City Council should punt on this difficult issue, put the matter before the voters, and put our reputation as a progressive community on the line for all to see.  Or maybe we can just let the city councilmembers do their jobs and let our votes next June determine in what future direction we go.

—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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67 thoughts on “My View: Should We Put Plastic Bags on the Ballot Too?”

  1. Growth Izzue

    [quote]And therefore, I surprisingly have reached the conclusion that Davis needs to put its plastic bag ban on the ballot.[/quote]

    I was so ready to jump on you because I was sure you were going to say that this was an action that only the city council should vote on because you know they would vote how you feel.
    I fully agree, let the people decide.

  2. Growth Izzue

    GandG
    [quote]After the election, Mr. Granda can protect the minority supporting plastic bag pollution by suing in some cacamamie fashion. [/quote]

    I think you’re wrong in believing that it’s a minority that don’t believe we need an ordinance for something that’s a non problem.

  3. JustSaying

    “The assumption made by opponents of the plastic bag ban is that the majority of citizens would oppose such a measure.”

    Just as the proponents assert that they are speaking for the majority.

    “Up and down the coast of California, we have seen more and more communities ban plastic bags.”

    Maybe they realize that contentions that their bags end up in the Pacific and affect wildlife survival aren’t just wild exaggerations like they are for Davisites. (See the “2011 letter from Rebecca Loux in Enterprise” regarding the Pacific Garbage Patch.)

    Oh, ho hum, sure, let’s waste some more money having an election instead of having our council decide. But, first, lets get rid of the outrageous inventorying and reporting requirements and the need for city staff to check store records. Let’s also make sure that the ordinance applies to all businesses instead of just a few large stores.

  4. Growth Izzue

    [quote]The Pacific Garbage Patch, already twice the size of Texas, is an ecological disaster that has tripled in the past 30 years.”[/quote]

    I’m surprised you quoted that, it’s already been debunked.

  5. JustSaying

    The picture that’s appeared to illustrate the Davis problem so many times also is a phony, obviously staged in this case. It’s just too bad that we can’t discuss issues without suffering through so much exaggeration.

  6. keithvb

    [quote]I do find it interesting that people tend to think of representative democracy as illegitimate, while accepting the notion of direct democracy as legitimate. [/quote]
    I think there is a third option. Our representatives, if truly representative, will poll, via Internet, their constituents on issues like this bag ban.
    Probably too simple a solution but know that if I was ever in the place of one of my representatives, I’d poll every issue.

  7. medwoman

    [quote]I think it is time for Davis to put up or shut up. And therefore, I surprisingly have reached the conclusion that Davis needs to put its plastic bag ban on the ballot. If it passes, then we can keep our name in the conversation as being among the more progressive communities in California – even if we are no longer leading the way.
    [/quote]

    If it is truly ecologic leadership that you are promoting, I do not think that it matters who makes the decision, the city council or the voters directly. Either way, choosing the more ecologic option, puts Davis in a leadership position. I also do not think it matters whether it is as important an issue here as it is for costal cities, it is not without some impact and I truly believe we should be minimizing our impact on the environment where we can.
    This is just one opportunity and does not have to be turned into a hot button issue to appreciate the benefits.

  8. alanpryor

    [quote]…lets get rid of the outrageous inventorying and reporting requirements and the need for city staff to check store records. Let’s also make sure that the ordinance applies to all businesses instead of just a few large stores. [/quote]

    This has already been “strongly” proposed by various Councilmembers in their previous discussions. If the Council votes on it I would be very surprised if at least the investory reporting requirement were not dropped. However, this is actually not as onerous as it seems because every potentially affected retail store that I am aware of in Davis already uses a computerized inventory management system. Most require only a simple query at the end of the year to get an annual report on how many bags were purchased and sold. Opponents are simply throwing this out as a red herring pretending it is some insurmountable and time-consuming obstacle for businesses to implement. Also, virtually every other single use bag ordinance in the state has some sort of reporting requirement but ONLY if Staff asks for it it as is proposed in the Davis ordinance. Very few of the municipalities I talked to even bother collecting the information beyond the first year.

  9. B. Nice

    “And therefore, I surprisingly have reached the conclusion that Davis needs to put its plastic bag ban on the ballot.”

    Part of me prefers council just deal with it, but an advantage of it going to a vote, is that it gives groups supporting the ban a chance to educate people/voters on this issue, which could infact lead to greater understanding and long term support of it.

  10. B. Nice

    “I think there is a third option. Our representatives, if truly representative, will poll, via Internet, their constituents on issues like this bag ban. “

    If constituents were studying the issues as closely as our elected officials were I would think you may have a point. A lot of times I have knee jerk reactions to things that change as I learn about the issue more. I don’t always have the time or inclination to study issues, which is what I’m counting on my elected officials to do so. Maybe people being polled should have to take a test showing the understand some of the complexities of the issue before their “poll” counts.

  11. B. Nice

    “Very few of the municipalities I talked to even bother collecting the information beyond the first year.”

    Then why do they bother with it at all?

  12. Growth Izzue

    B. Nice[quote]Where dd you learn this false information? Foxx New? [/quote]

    [quote]Maybe people being polled should have to take a test showing the understand some of the complexities of the issue before their “poll” counts. [/quote]

    Good idea, I agree that maybe some people should take a test of the complexities before their poll counts especially if they’re gullible enough to believe that there’s a Pacific garbage patch twice the size of Texas.

  13. Growth Izzue

    Also some of those same people who believe that Davis plastic bags somehow make their way to the ocean maybe should be tested too before their poll vote counts.

  14. B. Nice

    “Good idea, I agree that maybe some people should take a test of the complexities before their poll counts especially if they’re gullible enough to believe that there’s a Pacific garbage patch twice the size of Texas.”

    So when you say, “debunked” you meant exaggerated, you aren’t denying it’s existence? What’s the acceptable size of a floating garbage patch, which is continuing to grow, and how long should we wait to do anything about it?

  15. B. Nice

    GI: “Also some of those same people who believe that Davis plastic bags somehow make their way to the ocean maybe should be tested too before their poll vote counts.”

    Are you saying that the only place plastic bags cause environmental damage is the ocean?

  16. Growth Izzue

    [quote]Are you saying that the only place plastic bags cause environmental damage is the ocean? [/quote]

    No, can you read? I said that there are actually people in Davis who think our plastic bags somehow magically make their way to the ocean. Don’t try and put words in my mouth.

  17. B. Nice

    “No, can you read? I said that there are actually people in Davis who think our plastic bags somehow magically make their way to the ocean. Don’t try and put words in my mouth.”

    It was a question, I didn’t say you felt that way, I was asking if you did.

    Again I don’t understand your need to personally attack people who disagree with you, and once again I’d like to challenge you to a debate that does not include personal insults.

  18. B. Nice

    There is no magic required: Our gutters empty into Willow Slough and then our water (and any trash carried in it) travels through the city of Davis wetlands, the toe drain, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and into San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

  19. B. Nice

    Jrberg posted this link: http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/about/media/how-big-great-pacific-garbage-patch-science-vs-myth.html

    Here is a quote from it:

    “There are many “garbage patches,” and by that, we mean that trash congregates to various degrees in numerous parts of the Pacific and the rest of the ocean. These natural gathering points appear where rotating currents, winds, and other ocean features converge to accumulate marine debris, as well as plankton, seaweed, and other sea life. (Find out more about these “convergence zones” in the ocean and a NOAA study of the North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone [PDF].)”

    I we supposed to feel better about, “many garbage patches”?

  20. DT Businessman

    “I have been arguing, for my seven years on the Vanguard, that Davis has the veneer of progressivism, so that if you scrape away you find regressive and downright reactionary policies at its core.”

    I agree with this opinion. That said, are you seriously arguing that the 5th Street Road Diet and a plastic ban are true tests of our community progressiveness and sustainability? Not! For some weird reason the progressives in Davis are all too quick to seize upon superficial instead of substantive action to create and foster a truly progressive/sustainable community. Furthermore, investing scarce community resources in the pursuit of superficial action is a massive opportunity costs. These resources could and should be invested in much more meaningful actions.

    -Michael Bisch

  21. alanpryor

    [quote]“Very few of the municipalities I talked to even bother collecting the information beyond the first year.”

    “Then why do they bother with it at all?” [/quote]

    The larger municipalities collected the information on the number of bags distributed because they wanted to see how well the restrictions worked. From San Francisco to LA, the results have been generally consistent showing about 95%+ of the plastic bags were eliminated along with 65% of the paper bags for which a fee was charged.

  22. alanpryor

    [quote]For some weird reason the progressives in Davis are all too quick to seize upon superficial instead of substantive action to create and foster a truly progressive/sustainable community. [/quote]

    Michael – The single-use bag ordinance is just one of a series of actions to be implemented by the newly adopted Integrated Waste Management Plan. This plan is required to meet state mandated waste diversion goals. You are right that just a restrictive bag ordinance would have little overall impact on Davis trash diversion rates but along with all of the other series of planned changes, they add up to a huge sustainable change in how we generate and handle waste in the future. It is just part of the bigger picture we all have to address to leave the world a better and more sustainable place for future. generations.

    [quote]…investing scarce community resources in the pursuit of superficial action is a massive opportunity costs. These resources could and should be invested in much more meaningful actions.[/quote]

    The items I see you promoting most in town as DDBA president are to pretty up the train trestle underpass into town and to build a huge parking garage. I do not consider those meaningful steps towards a more sustainable future. What other meaningful actions did you otherwise have in mind?

  23. B. Nice

    [quote]From San Francisco to LA, the results have been generally consistent showing about 95%+ of the plastic bags were eliminated along with 65% of the paper bags for which a fee was charged.[/quote]

    This is interesting data and think there is value in having it, but if the inventorying and reporting clauses cause more problems for the ban bag then I’m for dropping it (even if it is indeed a red herring).

  24. B. Nice

    [quote]DT Businessman: For some weird reason the progressives in Davis are all too quick to seize upon superficial instead of substantive action to create and foster a truly progressive/sustainable community.[/quote]

    Do you not think these numbers are substantive:

    “From San Francisco to LA, the results have been generally consistent showing about 95%+ of the plastic bags were eliminated along with 65% of the paper bags for which a fee was charged.”

  25. DT Businessman

    Alan, the single greatest principal guiding my actions as Davis Downtown president, apart from achieving the objectives of my board, is fostering a sustainable community. The more productive use we make of our residential and commercially zoned land, the less pressure their is to sprawl. Furthermore, fostering not just a compact community, but a dense community with jobs, housing, and entertainment in close proximity to one another, reduces vehicle miles, promotes walking and biking, reduces carbon emissions, increases economic activity through innovation, exploration, creativity, and art, which generates more revenue for community amenities and social/health services, builds community, etc. It also makes me feel good.

    What’s guiding your actions, Alan?

    -Michael Bisch

  26. alanpryor

    [quote]What’s guiding your actions, Alan?[/quote]

    All of the environmental initiatives I am promoting are focused on 1) preserving class 1 and 2 ag land and expanding habitat; 2) reducing man-made toxic emissions into the environment including methane and CO2, industrial air and water emissions, residential water and air pollution including wood smoke, and industrial and residential waste going to landfill ((such as plastics and organic waste); and 3) ensuring clean water and water conservation (including preventing fluoridation of our drinking water which will release over 12 tons per year of hexafluorosilicic into our environment to provide about 80 lbs per year of fluoride for ingestion by drinking water). This is the short list. It all has to do with making the world cleaner for future generations.

  27. Ginger

    B. Nice: [quote]Again I don’t understand your need to personally attack people who disagree with you, and once again I’d like to challenge you to a debate that does not include personal insults.[/quote] Funny, I was going to say something similar to you when you mocked GI:
    [quote]Where dd you learn this false information? Foxx New?[/quote] 😉

    DT:
    [quote]I agree with this opinion. That said, are you seriously arguing that the 5th Street Road Diet and a plastic ban are true tests of our community progressiveness and sustainability? Not! For some weird reason the progressives in Davis are all too quick to seize upon superficial instead of substantive action to create and foster a truly progressive/sustainable community. Furthermore, investing scarce community resources in the pursuit of superficial action is a massive opportunity costs. These resources could and should be invested in much more meaningful actions. [/quote] YES!
    Even if I were 100% convinced that banning plastic bags was an overall win for the environment (and I’m not…is it better to cut down trees to manufacture paper bags? Is it better to wash reusable bags which gobbles up water and dumps chemicals into our waste water)…as has been noted by alanpryor:
    [quote]a restrictive bag ordinance would have little overall impact on Davis trash diversion rates[/quote]

    Sometimes I wonder if it isn’t more about a panicy feeling that Davis isn’t being a “leader” and is being rather shown up by those other cities that have already have plastic bag bans in place.

    I also sometimes can’t help but think how we’re so busy hand-wringing about our wee itty bitty corner of the world where we ALREADY are more environmentally conscious than probably 99% of the global population that we forget the big picture. That photo of the dude kayaking through the garbage-filled water? There are plenty of places where that is how it [i]always[/i] looks, kids able to walk across bodies of water because it is so choked with garbage. Maybe Davis could be an environmental leader by fostering outreach programs to parts of the globe with no means to do so themselves.

    Before anyone says this, it does NOT mean I don’t think we shouldn’t be the best stewards of the environment that we can be. We should be. It DOES mean, however, that sometimes we’re so blinded about keeping up with the Jones’ about our neck of the woods that we can inadvertently do the globe more harm than good in the end.

    For example, I think it’s entirely possible that future generations will laugh at the notion that it was an overall win for the globe for the US to ban the old Edison light bulb manufactured in the US for CFLs manufactured in China, which is notorious for having nearly no regulations for environmental protection (let alone health or safety)…I’m sure mercury is sloshing all over in those factories, and the carbon footprint to manufacture, ship, secure in thick plastic blister packs, I’m sure is pretty humongous.

    And then we have to drive OUT of town to safely recycle them. Which I KNOW means some people (not me…I’m paranoid about the mercury) just tosses them into their garbage when they’re done with them.

    Maybe Davis could be a real environmental LEADER if we instituted a bike drive-up CFL recycling center (I’m not being sarcastic). 🙂

  28. Don Shor

    So, on the next ballot:
    — water rates
    — Cannery project
    — plastic bag ban
    Plus Joe and Dan duke it out.
    How about we add:
    — burning ordinance
    — yard waste containers
    — solar energy mandate
    Others?

  29. B. Nice

    [quote]Funny, I was going to say something similar to you when you mocked GI:

    Where dd you learn this false information? Foxx New?
    [/quote]

    Actually I was taking a shot at Fox News, who often deny’s any environmental problems exist, I have no idea wether GI watches this network or not.

  30. Growth Izzue

    Thanks Ginger, I see you’re on to B. Nice too. He/she likes to make little snarky comments, change the content of what you’ve written then act all innocent when you throw it back at him/her.

  31. B. Nice

    [quote]Thanks Ginger, I see you’re on to B. Nice too. He/she likes to make little snarky comments, change the content of what you’ve written then act all innocent when you throw it back at him/her.[/quote]

    And there we go, instead of engaging in an actual debate on the issue, you find someone sympathetic to your opinion have a “conversation with them” personally attacking the person who questions your positions. Let me know when you are ready to have a conversation about the issues, instead of insulting me personally.

  32. B. Nice

    Ginger: ” Is it better to wash reusable bags which gobbles up water and dumps chemicals into our waste water)..”

    Are you arguing that reusable bags are not better for the environment then disposable ones?

    Personally we’ve used our bags for years and rarely need to wash them, they don’t get all the dirty between home and the grocery store, then back again, on the occasions that one gets soiled I just throw it in with a load of laundry, hardly a huge waste of water.

  33. Growth Izzue

    “Shopping bags should be laundered after every use when carrying food just as you would launder a kitchen towel.”

    [url]http://laundry.about.com/od/stainremoval/a/How-To-Keep-Reusable-Grocery-Bags-Clean-And-Safe.htm[/url]

  34. David M. Greenwald

    I don’t buy it. I know many people who have used shopping bags for years and they don’t launder after every use. For the most part, the bags don’t come into contact with actual food as the food is packaged or in bags.

  35. medwoman

    “…
    “Shopping bags should be laundered after every use when carrying food just as you would launder a kitchen towel.”

    Even if one is concerned enough to launder the potentially contaminated reuse able bag after every shopping trip ( which I am not after years of use) one still does not need to use excessive amounts of water. Simply designate a single bag for meat, dairy, and vegetables. Your other bags can be used for dry, canned , paper and other non susceptible items. That leaves you with a single bag to wash with your kitchen towels. Problem solved.

  36. B. Nice

    We’ve had are bags for going on five years and have never had a problem. Of coarse my kids used to lick bike tires and chew used gum they found on the ground so maybe their stomachs have adapted….

  37. Growth Izzue

    [quote]We’ve had are bags for going on five years and have never had a problem. Of coarse my kids used to lick bike tires and chew used gum they found on the ground so maybe their stomachs have adapted…. [/quote]

    It just takes that one time when a bag comes in contact with e.coli or salmonella and it’s gets transmitted to someone’s children. Are most people willing to take that risk?

  38. David M. Greenwald

    Unless something obviously spills, most people are not going to launder their bags. When they do, they are not running a separate load to do so. I don’t see this as a huge issue.

  39. B. Nice

    [quote]It just takes that one time when a bag comes in contact with e.coli or salmonella and it’s gets transmitted to someone’s children[/quote]

    If these bacteria are being brought home from the store in reusable bags then they are also being brought home in single use bags. To get sick you actually need to ingest the bacteria, the best way to stop the spread of these diseases is hand washing and proper food preparation. Which is why you are supposed to wash any fruits and vegetables before you eat them, cook meat properly, and wash hands before eating and after using the bathroom.

  40. Growth Izzue

    But B. Nice, you don’t reuse the plastic bag next time you go to the store. You reuse the unwashed reusable bag that might have e.coli or salmonella already in the bag and you will just be spreading it to your newly purchased food or to the hands of those touching the bags.

  41. Growth Izzue

    David, since you’re such an advocate for making sure that children of bad parents somehow should get fluoride applied to their teeth how are you going to make sure that bad parents wash their reusable bags in a safe manner so thier kids stay safe from diseases?

  42. David M. Greenwald

    I don’t see this as an issue so much as an excuse. I haven’t found a documented case of salmonella contracted through a reusable bag. Even the studies that show that they host bacteria, do not suggest not using reusable bags. If you’re concerned about it, get a cloth bag and throw it with your towels into your wash. I don’t understand your overall point here?

  43. B. Nice

    [quote]You reuse the unwashed reusable bag that might have e.coli or salmonella already in the bag and you will just be spreading it to your newly purchased food or to the hands of those touching the bags.[/quote]

    The same food safety precautions need to be taken regardless of wether you bring your bags home in a usable or single purchase bag, because items are equally likely to be contaminated.

    As a side, daily life exposes us to these bacteria, do I wash everything I come in contact with or touch (all of which have the potential to expose me, or my children to some illness or disease), do I wash everything that may have been exposed to bacteria before I bring it back into my house?

  44. medwoman

    GI

    The real danger here is not the bacteria on your bag, it is the bacteria on your hands. So unless you sanitize your hands between choosing a lettuce or a tomato and the apples and grapes you are doubtless passing on many dangerous bacteria every time you go shopping. In Montreal, Spain, France, Turkey all of which I have visited with nary a plastic bag in site since it is anticipated everyone will bring their own cloth bags , I have not heard of sweeping out breaks of shopping bag induced illnesses. As a matter of fact the only credible case of have heard of us Noro virus. And given the situation and properties of nori virus the same would have happened if the girls snacks had been in a paper or a plastic bag. The only lesson there was not to store snacks in a bathroom !

    Folks , it is really all about your hands, not the bags.

  45. medwoman

    [quote]Not that norovirus is in every reusable bag, but…
    [/quote]

    As I pointed out the last time someone cited this case, because of the unique characteristics of noro virus which is capable of living for relatively long periods of time on multiple types of surfaces including cloth, paper, plastic, bathroom fixtures and counters as well as human skin, this particular outbreak was almost certain to happen given that the snacks were placed in a disposable bag in the bathroom. The only thing that prevents people from being aware that disposable bags also are capable of transmitting diseases is that they are either disposed of, or potentially used for some other purpose and thus not available for testing. This doesn’t mean that it has not been touched, and therefore the pathogen is now on your hands instead of only on the bag.
    The single best way to prevent bacterial induced illness is not to worry about what bag you use, but to use meticulous hand washing as B Nice has pointed out.

    If you do not believe me on this, it it really simple to run a home experiment. Three petrie dishes. A bar of soap.
    Your hands and two cloth bags. Go to the store. Buy an assortment of your usual purchases which you distribute between the two bags. Now wash your hands and one of the bags. Place your clean hand on one petrie dish. Press a patch of the inside of the unwashed bag in the second dish and a patch of the washed bag onto the third. Let them grow in a warm place for a couple of days. I can guarantee you that the dish your hands touched is going to grow far more bacteria and far more pathogens than either of the bags. Compared to what we are exposed to on a regular basis this is, as David has pointed out, really a trivial issue.

  46. medwoman

    Oops….excuse me. That should have read a non disposable bag. My point remains unchanged, the outcome would have been the same regardless of bag type. Noro virus is a very nasty bug.

  47. Growth Izzue

    [quote]I don’t see this as an issue so much as an excuse.[/quote]

    And I’m sure many see your stance on bad parents not making their kids brush as more of an excuse than an issue too.

  48. Ginger

    B Nice: [quote]Where dd you learn this false information? Foxx New?
    ~~~~~~
    Actually I was taking a shot at Fox News, who often deny’s any environmental problems exist, I have no idea wether GI watches this network or not.[/quote]
    Soooooo…it was just an innocent question, [i]wondering[/i] if GI is watching a news network that you claim is “often” denies environmental problems exist? You weren’t attempting to discredit GI’s statements because his source was presumably Fox News?

    BTW…I watch Fox News a lot. I have for many, many years. I have never heard a newscaster deny that environmental problems exist. Do you watch Fox News? Or have you just [i]heard[/i] that they deny environmental problems exist? I also watch CNN, occasionally MSNBC, listen to NPR. I read voraciously as well. I’m a huge consumer of news. I’m pretty careful not to malign a news outlet or personality unless I’ve personally witnessed, on multiple occasions, a pattern.

  49. Ginger

    B Nice: [quote]Where dd you learn this false information? Foxx New?
    ~~~~~~
    Actually I was taking a shot at Fox News, who often deny’s any environmental problems exist, I have no idea wether GI watches this network or not.[/quote]
    Soooooo…it was just an innocent question, [i]wondering[/i] if GI is watching a news network that you claim is “often” denies environmental problems exist? You weren’t attempting to discredit GI’s statements because his source was presumably Fox News?

    BTW…I watch Fox News a lot. I have for many, many years. I have never heard a newscaster deny that environmental problems exist. Do you watch Fox News? Or have you just [i]heard[/i] that they deny environmental problems exist? I also watch CNN, occasionally MSNBC, listen to NPR. I read voraciously as well. I’m a huge consumer of news. I’m pretty careful not to malign a news outlet or personality unless I’ve personally witnessed, on multiple occasions, a pattern.

  50. Ginger

    B Nice:
    [quote]…
    Ginger: ” Is it better to wash reusable bags which gobbles up water and dumps chemicals into our waste water)..”

    Are you arguing that reusable bags are not better for the environment then disposable ones? [/quote]

    Actually, the answer to your question is RIGHT in the actual sentence from which you lifted that snippet. My quote with context is:

    [quote]Even if I were 100% convinced that banning plastic bags was an overall win for the environment (and I’m not…is it better to cut down trees to manufacture paper bags? Is it better to wash reusable bags which gobbles up water and dumps chemicals into our waste water). [/quote] See how I blatantly state I’m not convinced? See how that ENTIRE paragraph is just me admitting I’m not on one side of the fence or the other?

    Medwoman:
    [quote]Simply designate a single bag for meat, dairy, and vegetables. Your other bags can be used for dry, canned , paper and other non susceptible items. That leaves you with a single bag to wash with your kitchen towels. Problem solved.[/quote] I’m going to bring up the notion of Davis Privilege here again. It may be very easy for you to have multiple reusable bags for which you designate purposes, and which you can set a side for laundry day (Do you have a washer and dryer in your home? Not all of us do.)

  51. scooter

    If Davis has 66000 residents I think we need to have at least 33000 verified signatures of full time residents demanding a ballot vote before we strip any responsibilities away from elected representatives. Either that or just eliminate the city council

  52. scooter

    If Davis has 66000 residents I think we need to have at least 33000 verified signatures of full time residents demanding a ballot vote before we strip any responsibilities away from elected representatives. Either that or just eliminate the city council

  53. B. Nice

    “Actually, the answer to your question is RIGHT in the actual sentence from which you lifted that snippet. My quote with context is: “

    Ginger, I was asking a sincere question, I often do this to clarify someones position on an issue instead of assuming. (I realize that tone is often hard to detect in blogs).

  54. B. Nice

    Ginger wrote: “It may be very easy for you to have multiple reusable bags for which you designate purposes, and which you can set a side for laundry day (Do you have a washer and dryer in your home? Not all of us do.)”

    The issue you brought up was that reusable bags cause an increase in water usage. Not sure how its relevant where you wash your bags, my point (and I believe medwomen’s) is that throwing a useable bag or two in with laundry you are all ready doing (wherever you happening to be doing it) does not significantly increases water use.

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