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The ban on plastic bags

By | October 07, 2012 | Opinion, Top Opinion Story

 
Several California cities have already implemented a ban on plastic bags in retail and grocery stores, including Los Angeles County and Oakland. The law has been adopted on a global scale in places such as Bangladesh, Haiti and New Delhi, India.

As with any controversial subject, there are a myriad of pros and cons facing the ban. Some support it, claiming that it will change the environment considerably. Others feel that it is simply another government-imposed tax on the American people.

Supporters of the ban propose that replacing plastic bags with reusable cloth sacks and charging a 10 cent tax per paper bag will encourage shoppers to “go green.” The ban was initiated in hopes of reducing litter on city grounds and ocean waste, according to the Los Angeles Times. Some supporters believe that the greatest damage caused by the bags is economic, while others suggest it is environmental. It is also said that the ban can save shoppers $18 – $30 yearly without the rooted plastic charges. The consequence of violating the law can result in fines of $100 – $500.

Those who oppose the ban say that plastic bags account for only 0.3 percent of California’s waste, while yard clippings and food waste make up 32 percent. Others argue that over 30,000 American manufacturing jobs and 349 plants will be affected by the ban. Studies done in Los Angeles show a reduction in retail and grocery revenue since the ban was issued in 2011, according to CBS. The opposition feels it hinders personal freedom when forced to choose from purchasing reusable bags, paying 10 cents per paper bag and not having the option to choose otherwise.

Is the plastic bag ban an economically and environmentally friendly proposition, or is it legislation that will tax Americans and deplete jobs? You decide.

Let us know what you think by commenting below or on Facebook.

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4 Responses to The ban on plastic bags

  1. William S. says:

    Ban plastic bags, then slap a tax on paper bags, which will force people to use cloth bags. Sounds like the windbags have it all decided for the rest of us.

    The issue isn’t plastic bags. It is pushing a false green agenda that believes banning plastic bags is a step in the right direction. And what direction might that be? No human pollution?

    As an alternative, how about enforcing existing recycling efforts? By directing plastic bag trash into recycling centers the environmental impact is nil. The system is already in place, and operates at enormous expense. Or is the big blue trash can that I haul out to the curb every other week just for neighborhood aesthetics?

  2. Susan V says:

    The issue here is exactly about plastic bags, which have an inherent design flaw compared to other forms of “human pollution”. They’re easily airborne even when properly disposed of into a trash or recycling bin.

    And speaking of recycling (something I am a fan of), recycling of plastic bags just doesn’t work. I always drop off the few plastic bags my family gets for recycling at my local grocery store and was disappointed to find out that the latest recycling rate from this statewide collection program was only 3%. Really?!

    Most cities don’t have a curbside pickup of plastic bags for good reason–they jam up the recycling machines easily and end up costing millions in repairs.

    I welcome laws that will reduce plastic bags–be it through a straight ban or a charge like in DC. The government should regulate where something is causing great environmental and economic harm.

  3. William S. says:

    @ Susan V

    You make some good points. However, simply banning one item will shift the problem elsewhere. Take this from a CNN article as an example…

    “Other industry groups like the British Retail Consortium (BRS) also argue that taxing bags won’t work either, pointing to the case in Ireland which banned plastic bags in 2002. It reduced plastic bag usage by 90 percent in a matter of weeks, but was followed by a 300-500 percent boost in the sales of plastic refuse bags and bin liners, BRS says.”

  4. Kari says:

    I lived in DC for a summer and found it inspiring that they set this example for our nation.

    Although its consequences might be minimal, I believe its a small step in the right direction regardless of what how much it actually impacts. It sends the idea out to anyone that buys food that things are changing. Plastic is not always necessary and the REUSE and recycle are both important. This alone will impact many numbers of people and the attitude they have towards the environment on a psychological and social level. This could be the most powerful aspect of the change alone. These small movements spark revolutions.

    Economically, it will save retail costs of buying plastic and increase sales of reusable bags. If this puts a damper on the industries that produce plastic– then good.

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