Plastic Bag Ban
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Thread: Plastic Bag Ban

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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Default Plastic Bag Ban

    The city of Dallas is considering a ban on plastic bags. Do you think this is a good or bad idea?

    More than two dozen cities nationwide have banned plastic grocery bags or have imposed a fee for using them to encourage the use of reusable bags. Dallas City Council member Dwaine Caraway has now asked his colleagues to consider similar action, but before any vote, the council should recognize that bag bans have hidden costs.

    Consumers like choice, and most choose plastic bags for their convenience, flexibility and strength. As a result, anecdotal evidence indicates that cities with bag bans have lost commerce, while surrounding cities and neighborhoods benefit as shoppers go elsewhere.

    Two years ago, Los Angeles County implemented a plastic bag ban effective for only the unincorporated areas of the county. However, the ban was not in place for incorporated areas. A survey conducted by our organization indicates that consumers who lived in unincorporated areas crossed over into incorporated areas to shop where plastic bags were available. Reports from Austin show similar results. Stores affected by bag bans reported an increase in missing shopping carts and hand baskets.

    Additionally, Los Angeles County?s bag ban negatively affected employment at stores inside the ban area. While every store inside the ban area was forced to terminate some of its staff, not a single store outside the ban area dismissed any staff. Stores inside the ban area reduced their employment by more than 10 percent. Stores outside the ban area increased their employment by 2.4 percent. This occurred despite the fact that the overall unemployment rate in Los Angeles County fell dramatically.

    The cost to taxpayers also will rise as lawsuits are filed challenging these bans.

    Contrary to the myth propagated by environmental lobbyists, plastic bags are not a significant source of waste. Indeed, the national 2009 Keep America Beautiful study does not even include plastic bags in its top 10 sources of litter. A recent study found that plastic grocery bags make up less than 0.6 percent of the overall waste stream.

    In addition, plastic bags are rarely single-use items. Rather, long after plastic grocery bags have been used to deliver the groceries safely home, people find a variety of ways to reuse them. They are used to line bathroom trash bins, collect dog waste and used cat litter, to securely seal soiled diapers and more.

    Even this small amount will be reduced absent government interference, as plastic bag recycling is taking off. A number of major retailers have set up recycling boxes at the entrance of their stores to encourage recycling, and plastic bag recovery has increased by 31 percent since 2005. According to EPA data, this growth is more than nine times the 3.4 percent increase in recovery of all municipal solid waste from 2005 to 2009. Retailers have consistently argued that recycling is the best way to both satisfy consumer preference and meet environmental goals. Bag bans will reduce the motivation for those recycling efforts.

    Reusable bags are being pushed as an alternative to paper or plastic in locales across the nation. Yet city leaders rarely consider the drawbacks. On the economic front, China is the leading manufacturer of reusable bags, while plastic bags are made in the U.S. with the industry employing thousands of workers.

    There are also health concerns associated with reusable bags. When the bags are used to carry meats, poultry or fish, blood and other fluids can soak into them. If not cleaned regularly and stored properly, bacteria ? including E. coli ? can take up residence and mold can form. Continued use can contaminate the user?s food and the food of others as the contaminated reusable bags come into contact with the grocery conveyor belt. It?s true that reusable bags can be washed, but doing so shortens their useful life considerably.

    Plastic bags are a minuscule waste problem, and every city that bans plastic bags costs its shoppers, businesses, the city government and workers with little or no benefit for the environment.
    H. Sterling Burnett and Pamela Villarreal: Dallas plastic bag ban bad for many reasons | Dallasnews.com - News for Dallas, Texas - The Dallas Morning News

    Link to study on LA bag ban.
    A Survey on the Economic Effects of Los Angeles County
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    Posting Addict SID081108's Avatar
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    It's just so random to me. What about disposable diapers? Plastic water bottles? Ziplocks?? I read that disposable diapers were 2.3% of total waste back in 2010...my guess would be that has only increased.

    I just don't think it makes sense to ban any of these items. Spend the money incenting people to stop using them (which, of course, some won't no matter what) or encouraging recycling.
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    A lot of our stores give people incentives to bring their own bags, 5 cents off for each bag. Some do the reverse, they charge 5 cents a bag.

    I think changing the way we think about these things is good.

    In Toronto, they recycle disposable diapers.
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    I agree that I am much more apt to use incentives to drive using reusable products like bags. I have them and I think they are much sturdier than plastic bags. Plastic bags locally break so easy they are worthless.

    I don't see anything wrong with trying to change thinking on items that aren't great for our environment. Concord, MA doesn't allow bottled water to be sold. Although they although soda (here though we pay a deposit for soda bottles and not water so maybe that is why there is a difference.)
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    Mega Poster mom3girls's Avatar
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    a couple of local towns around here have banned them, the state as a whole has thrown the idea around. I dont know if it would bother me or not, I use reusable bags because I hate dealing with all the plastic bags.

    As an aside, have any of you read the reports of how dirty those reusable bags get? So nasty
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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Reusable bags are actually worse for the environment.

    Plastic Bags versus Cloth Bags. Plastic bags are also noticeably more environmentally friendly than reusable cloth bags.

    While most plastic bags are manufactured domestically, most reusable bags are produced outside the United States in places like China. These bags are then transported via gas-guzzling cargo ships to customers in the United States. Cargo ship transport is a significant generator of pollution. Additionally, as reusable bags are made from cotton and other sources that require substantial amounts of farmland to produce, the production of cloth bags leads to destruction of forests in cotton producing regions. These farms can also increase erosion and lead to pesticides in drinking water. Cloth bags are much more challenging to recycle since they contain a combination of materials including metal, cotton and other fabrics.17

    The United Kingdom’s Environmental Agency determined that cotton bags have to be used 104 times before their environmental performance surpasses that of plastic bags.18 However, the average cotton bag is only used 52 times, and some cloth bags are used much less. As a result, cloth bags have twice the negative environmental impact of plastic bags
    A Survey on the Economic Effects of Los Angeles County
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    Posting Addict SID081108's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mom3girls View Post
    As an aside, have any of you read the reports of how dirty those reusable bags get? So nasty
    I can only imagine. Are they washable? I use plastic bags, I always reuse them at least once (usually dirty diapers!), but I don't recycle them as our suburb doesn't recycle unfortunately (You can drive your recycling somewhere, of course, but they don't pick up)
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    Mega Poster mom3girls's Avatar
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    The United Kingdom?s Environmental Agency determined that cotton bags have to be used 104 times before their environmental performance surpasses that of plastic bags.18 However, the average cotton bag is only used 52 times, and some cloth bags are used much less. As a result, cloth bags have twice the negative environmental impact of plastic bags
    We use ours FAR more than 52 times, and we wash them regularly. Most people I know have had theirs for a few years and also wash them. Ours go right into the washing machine and stand up well. I use mine almost every day since we make trips to the grocery store across the street constantly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by freddieflounder101 View Post
    We use ours FAR more than 52 times, and we wash them regularly. Most people I know have had theirs for a few years and also wash them. Ours go right into the washing machine and stand up well. I use mine almost every day since we make trips to the grocery store across the street constantly.
    I'd agree ~ I've had my bags for years. And whats this bunk about the bags having "metal" in them? Most of mine are organic cotton ~ this line cracked me up
    Additionally, as reusable bags are made from cotton and other sources that require substantial amounts of farmland to produce, the production of cloth bags leads to destruction of forests in cotton producing regions.
    ~ do they also argue that our wearing clothing or sleeping on sheets is destroying the environment? I suppose they advocate plastic clothing and sheets ? I'd like to learn more about that "study". I never ever go shopping without them, I'd so much rather load them to the hilt, it makes getting everything inside so much easier.

    It always blows me away when I hear about people who live in places where they don't have curbside recycling. The idea of throwing recylables into ones trash just awes me, its been curbside here since I was in high school, so, what, like 20+ years? They take all of our glass, plastics, paper and cardboard, and we compost and used cloth diapers when we had kids in diapers, so we have hardly any trash anymore.

    Anyway I'm fine with the ban. Frankly I'm just awed that anyone WANTS to use those bags, I found them so flimsy and crappy I would hate to have to use them. The ones I do get I save, and pack them inside my cotton bags, and always wrap my meat in them at the farmers market before I put it in my cotton bags. Thats just common sense.

    If anybody wants a GREAT organic cotton bag made in the USA get these http://www.projectgreenbag.com/
    Last edited by Potter75; 06-13-2013 at 07:59 PM.

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