California Decides Not To Ban Plastic Bags

California lawmakers rejected a proposed statewide ban on plastic bags late Tuesday.

Several California cities already ban plastic bags, including San Francisco. Opponents of the measure set it would put an undue financial burden on consumers and businesses during a time of economic struggle.

“If we pass this piece of legislation, we will be sending a message to the people of California that we care more about banning plastic bags than helping them put food on their table,” said Sen. Mimi Walters, R-Lake Forest.

Some local officials pledged that if the bill fails they will seek to implement bans at the city and county levels.

Calif. rejects ban on plastic shopping bags [AP]

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  1. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I haven’t yet seen much documented research that shows plastic truly causes a worse carbon footprint than paper or re-usable bags. There is anecdotal evidence that re-usables cause a much larger footprint than people realize.

    I’m for reuables myself, but I’m not going to start advocating them unless I see proof they truly are the far better solution.

    • Shadowfire says:

      I’m not sure about reusable bags… I suppose that would depend on how long the bag is used. Paper I know is far worse, however. Somewhere on the magnitude of 50x or so.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        But paper is fully biodegradable. It’s possible it causes a greater footprint up front, but plastic has a much longer lasting footprint.

        • unpolloloco says:

          *Assuming proper landfilling*, why does it matter how long it takes? It’s not like we’re running out of land in the US any time soon. Also, when buried in a landfill, paper takes almost forever to decompose too.

          • Ragman says:

            It’s not about running out of space, it’s about location. You’ll have to pay added costs for garbage pickup when they have to transfer it to larger trucks that then haul it outside the suburbs, since no one will let a landfill be built in an area where they can put tax generating structures.

    • mister_roboto says:

      I think it’s less carbon foot print, and energy use as much as just trying to reduce litter.

      • mythago says:

        Correct. This is why San Francisco banned them. It’s not about the carbon, it’s about having to clean the damn things off the streets.

      • jessjj347 says:

        I agree! I think if we just had less bags, whether they are plastic or fabric it would be helpful. People often remember to reuse (or recycle) but forget about reducing.

    • backinpgh says:

      But I think the real impact is the trash that plastic bags create. I don’t see reusable shopping bags littering parking lots, stuck in trees, or making floating trash islands in the ocean.

    • Chaosium says:

      “There is anecdotal evidence that re-usables cause a much larger footprint than people realize.”

      Sponsored by the oil and plastics industry!

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      How dare you question this. Why do you hate the environment? HMM??!

      Gaia is now crying because of your callousness, you anti-environment butthead. ;-)

    • GrayMatter says:

      Y’all know there are two types of plastic bags: One is that thin thing that blows in the breeze, leaks meat drippings onto the car seat, and breaks at just the wrong moment.

      The other is a sturdy bag that can actually be used and reused.

      I was in Norway a few years ago, and went into the supermarket to get some small items. Just as with Aldi here, no bag unless you bought the good ones (and 5 kroner, too!) Seems to work for them.

      The only places that gave you bags as a standard item were the tourist places, where the Americans expect to get the bags. We gave them to our Norwegian relatives; they used them for their shopping with takk.

    • eturowski says:

      Show me one person who would rather pick up their dog’s poop in a paper bag than a plastic one.

  2. PupJet says:

    Okay, WHY are they wanting to ban plastic bags? So now when we go into a store, we have to put fruits and veggies and dripping meat in a paper bag? I’m glad it didn’t pass!

    • dreamfish says:

      … or you could use the radical idea of buying a more permanent bag and reusing it.

      • jason in boston says:

        Ewww

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Why woudl he reuse a bag that had raw meat dropping blood in it? That’s just stupid.

        • tsukiotoshi says:

          I’m more curious about who is giving him dripping meat in the first place.

          • arcticJKL says:

            When I buy prepackaged meat from any local supermarket there is a chance that it has blood in the packaging and that blood may leak. I think this is what he is referring to.

            There are plastic bags for you to put the packaged meat in but I didnt think that the law covered those.

        • Lando242 says:

          That red stuff in your T-bone is not blood. *Warning, graphic information follows* They don’t kill a cow the second it comes into the meat packing plant. First they bash it in the head with a pneumatic hammer, which normally renders it brain dead, then they hang it upside down on hook while still alive and cut it’s throat to drain out the blood. If they don’t drain out the blood the meat will spoil much faster. The side effect is that the meat turns a rather unappetizing gray color (the same color as well done meat) so they dye it red (now you know why the ‘blood’ was always so watery) so it looks pretty on the shelf. Meat fresh from a local butcher is red because they don’t drain the blood out because they don’t ship it long distances and they sell it faster, so it doesn’t have to keep as long. The process that gets the meat on your table is not a pretty one (who knew? we’re only killing and eating things), but hot damn does steak taste good.

      • penuspenuspenus says:

        Ewww…….. A permanently stained and bloody bag? Color me yucked.

      • stormbird says:

        True. I bought a few of those huge Ikea bags for trips to the warehouse store or just to carry groceries from the truck to the house. I’ve never felt the need to, but it’d be easy to lysol them.

    • ieatcatastrophe says:

      what supermarket are you shopping at that puts dripping meat directly into a bag before wrapping it first? most of the time (read: all the time) when i buy meat the butcher promptly wraps it up into butcher paper.

      and fruits come with this amazing invention called a rind, or peel. it protects the fruit and can be washed! veggies, too!

      • finbar says:

        That would be a pretty nasty supermarket

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        Yes, free floating bulk mushrooms and salad greens would be so easy to contain without a plastic bag to put them in.

        • ieatcatastrophe says:

          you’re right, there are some items in the produce section that are made easier to transport by plastic bags.

          by that same token, they’re made easier to transport with ANY container. why does it have to be a plastic bag?

        • Dallas_shopper says:

          They make reusable fine mesh produce bags. I have a set and people always comment on them and ask me where I got them. They’re awesome. They also add a miniscule amount of weight on the scale, maybe 0.01 lbs.

    • mythago says:

      Litter.

    • backinpgh says:

      Plastic SHOPPING bags is the key word here.

    • MustardTiger says:

      I watched ADDICTED TO PLASTIC recently and it definitely got me buying more reusable bags, pollution just sucks.

    • Griking says:

      I’m sorry that being environmentally responsible isn’t always convenient for you.

      • aloria says:

        Because there aren’t a zillion and one ways to reuse plastic bags? You know what’s inconvenient for me? Having to buy special poop bags just to pick up my dogs’ and cat’s waste. Having to buy special mini garbage bags for use in the bedroom and bathroom waste baskets. Having to buy special dsposable plastic shower caps for when I color my hair.

    • Rain says:

      I work at a supermarket that is paper or reusable bags only. There are still small plastic bags in the produce section, meat department, and at each till to wrap needed items. If you get meat from the meat counter it’s wrapped in butcher paper. There’s no plastic bag ban here either, they’re just big on the environment.

    • CookiePuss says:

      Just tell California that gay dudes use plastic bags for fruity purposes and their dripping meat, they’ll be banned tomorrow.

    • Big Mama Pain says:

      I am particular about using as few bags as possible if I am using plastic, and I still couldn’t convince a bagger to put RTE foods in with raw meat. They just are so trained to bag them separately that they can’t handle it (or they will put the meat into a plastic bag, tie it off and put it in the same bag, which defeats the purpose of using less bags). I don’t understand why people are so hung up on putting their fruits and veggies into little baggies. If it’s something like lettuce or green beans, I understand, but a bunch of bananas, apple or two?

  3. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Right now, that’s probably the best decision. Not that I like seeing plastic bags flying around and festooning the sides of the highway, but better than putting hardships on businesses who are struggling as is.

    Make the law harder on litterbugs!

    • Ragman says:

      How is it a hardship for a business when all of them would have to stop using the bags? They’d save some money by not having to buy them.

  4. rahntwo says:

    Since when has the California government ever worried about ” putting an undue financial burden on consumers and businesses”? I guess they are working for the plastic lobby now.

  5. jason in boston says:

    How many joules of energy does it “cost” to make a plastic bag?

    How many joules of energy does it “cost” to make a canvas bag?

    Serious question – I want to know when those lines intersect (negating for waste).

    • El_Fez says:

      1.21 Jiggawatts? Great scott!

    • ARP says:

      I think it’s more than energy, you’d also have to account for its makeup (trees can be replanted, oil can’t), its ability to biodegrade, bleach, water, dyes, its impact on wildlife, cost savings for stores, etc. This can be a negative for a reusable bag, since it will have some of the same issues as a disposable.

      But for pure energy use, a reusable bag uses 28 times more energy than a standard disposable. That’s means that once you use for about a year, you’re in energy positive land.

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122238422541876879.html

      • jason in boston says:

        This was the info I was looking for. I was only looking from a conservation of energy standpoint.

        With the waste – if it came from the earth, it can go back to the earth. I’m not having kids, so I don’t really care what happens to humans or when humans will die off. I’m not being morbid, just honest. The Earth will be fine without humans.

        For a mind trip – I once told a person that with 256bit AES encryption the sun will die from heat death before my password is hacked. It made her sad to think that the entire universe will die one day. I told her that we are 500 trillion years from that. Start working on those warp drives science nerds!

  6. Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

    As a progressive, even I thought that this idea was ludicrous, and especially at this time. Good riddance to at least some legislative stupidity now. What, there were no other more pressing issues to deal with?

  7. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    Local grocery store (Pacific NW) recently switched to paper bags only. Ever since I heard about the island of plastic in the ocean (and ocean critters eating from it, then starving to death because their stomachs are full of plastic), I’m thinking paper is the lesser of two evils. Or a cloth sack — just gotta wash it now and then.

    • usa_gatekeeper says:

      I’m with you, especially with that great plastic accumulation in the Pacific. We got along just fine with paper for many years before plastic. High volume use of reusable totes is really a fairly recent well intentioned phenomenon. The excuse given in California to not ban the plastic bags sounds pretty lame to me.

      I’m not a gung-ho environmentalist, but every time I go to Western Europe I’m strongly reminded how far ahead of us they are in true recycling.

      • evnmorlo says:

        Plastic is not making its way from the USA into the Pacific.

        • jason in boston says:

          Oh – you and your logic and knowledge of how currents work.

        • Conformist138 says:

          It’s mostly microscopic, which is why so many people try to claim it doesn’t exist. However, the particles of plastic in the ocean break down into smaller and smaller pieces without going away. When they’re tiny enough, the organisms that eat tiny particles end up eating plastic instead. They die, then the animals that feed on them starve, etc. It’s really sad, and because it’s not all a solid “island” of recognizable trash, people just decide it’s no big deal or doesn’t even exist.

  8. PanCake BuTT says:

    I have a bad feeling this has to do more with the oil industry, than the argument of waste vrs. haste

    • 99 1/2 Days says:

      California is not beholden to the oil industry. Maybe it’s because most people don’t want the ban.

  9. singfoom says:

    The big deal is that plastic bags end up in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pacific_Garbage_Patch

    The plastic eventually ends up dissolving into smaller and smaller pellets and fish eat them. Then we eat the fish. Can anyone spot the possible problem?

    As for meat, when I go to a butcher shop, they put it in parchment paper (with a small plastic sheet around the meat). This does not drip.

    • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

      I’ve read that page and don’t think the plastic bags turn into pellets, that’s mostly disposable cigarette lighters. They do cause problems though.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Here’s how it works.

        Plastic doesn’t biodegrade (that we know of yet) it simply degrades into smaller and smaller granules. Eventually, they degrade so small that they become edible by the ocean’s most basic creatures. They eat it, and die because their stomach is full of plastic which they can’t digest.

        The creasures that eat them die due to lack of food.
        Their predators die due to lack of food.
        THEIR predators die due to lack of food.
        etc.
        Ocean life dies due to lack of food
        Then animals that rely on oceanlife
        Then all animals.

        Then humans.

        • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

          Did you see the part where “I read that page”?

          Just because something is in Wikipedia doesn’t make it true. Often, people with agendas will exaggerate things way out of proportion. These people may have a vested interest in further grant money or book deals or possibly altruistic concern. For instance, “Moore’s claim of having discovered a large, visible debris field is, however, a mischaracterization of the polluted region overall, since it primarily consists of particles that are generally invisible to the naked eye.” Even so, I do believe there is a pollution problem that should be tackled, and tackled to give real results.

          We use plastic bags and have a bin full of them that we reuse. In the end, these are eventually used to hold our trash. Our trash goes to a recycling center here in San Jose. Just how does it end up in the Pacific? It doesn’t. Disposable cigarette lighters account for a huge portion of the problem. They are cast aside just like the billions of cigarette butts, rain washes them down the storm sewers and into the SF Bay… because they float. If you really want to make any kind of impact you’d be going after the real problems. Tax the heck out of disposable lighters to encourage the use of refillable ones, making sure, that any lighter that floats is penalized.

          • pantheonoutcast says:

            But then someone else will come along and say, “Oh, it’s not disposable lighters – It’s disposable coffee lids, or lipstick tubes or diapers that are the real problem. Let’s tax them!”

            Taxing isn’t the answer. If you tax my plastic bags that I need to use for grocery transport, I’ll be out, what, a dollar? It’s not going to make me want to go out and get a whole bunch of reusable canvas bags, though. Why? Because it’s not convenient to shlep around a dozen canvas bags and it’s certainly not environmentally friendly to use gallons of water to wash them (not to mention the detergent run-off) when they get soiled. It’s worth the dollar for me not to have to do those things.

            Why is it that “environmentalists” can never see the forest for the trees? (pardon the pun). “Hey buy an electric car! Gas pollutes!” Yeah, but what about the coal used to create the electricity? And the toxic chemicals in the batteries? “Hey, man, recycle!” But what about the pollution, resources, and energy used for the pickup, transport, and processing of the recycling? Color me cynical, but I have a pretty strong suspicion that this is all a zero-sum game. Is the Earth any better off since the recycling boom in the 1980′s? Probably not. But it’s certainly made a lot of people in the “green” industries filthy rich.

            As to the issue with grocery bags, let’s just go back to paper. Paper biodegrades. Paper is renewable. Paper is cheap. Hence, make stronger bags with handles out of paper. “Yeah, man, but processing paper causes pollution!” Yeah, well, who gives a shit? Everything causes pollution. Should we all live in a cave lit by tallow candles and subsist on tofu and sprouts?

            Here’s an idea for all the environmentalists and nanny-state lawmakers and anyone else who deigns themselves the protectors of the planet: Take all the time, energy, resources and money you would have spent on pushing your happy Green agenda, and go start a non-profit company dedicated to funding the research and production of renewable, low-polluting sources of energy and manufacturing materials. We don’t need any more “awareness” – we need tangible results.

            • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

              I didn’t want to suggest outright banning disposable lighters. We have a 5¢ deposit on bottles and cans. Now there are people digging through the garbage, scavenging roadsides, etc. to retrieve them so lets add in lighters.

              A significant portion of the pollution comes from boats that use the ocean as a landfill. Then there are countries and even other states that haul all their trash out to sea and just dump it. Somehow, I think that has more impact than the plastic bags in CA that never go near the Pacific.

              I love being green and it’s a shame that there is a large group of people who parrot every cockamamie idea without thinking about the real problem and its solutions. They are some of the people most damaging to the effort to reduce pollution.

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            Sorry, I read it in a published book, not wikipedia. So, uh, yeah, it’s a serious concern.

        • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:
          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            That thing is so biased in the other direction. The majority of his defense against it is based on the history of how it was discovered and then subsequently researched.

            The fact that early discoverers had little information on the phenomenon and therefore were inaccurate due to lack of research doesn’t make the current research null and void.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I, too, fear the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

      But, are re-usable bags better? From a simple mass perspective, they are dozens of times thicker, so when they are finally throw away there is more waste. Also, how is the fossil fuel use to make reuables different from plastic?

      These are things that need to be brought to light before we declare plastic bags the worse option.

    • squirrel says:

      Dunno. Frankly, I usually gut fish and toss the contents of their stomach/intestinal tract.

  10. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    Let freedom ring!

  11. knoxblox says:

    Hello! There are now bags on the market that have the look and feel of plastic bags, but they’re made of biodegradable materials! No need for plastic.

  12. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    Hopefully they can wait until I get these groceries home before they ban them, or else the contents will just drop onto the sidewalk.

  13. RxDude says:

    What about plastic wrap?

    • ElizabethD says:

      You should be using waxed or parchment paper for relatively unmessy stuff (sandwiches for example) and aluminum foil for other stuff. The foil is recyclable once you rinse it off and wad it into a little ball and put it in with your cans and bottles. Save the planet! :-)

  14. Buckus says:

    What about trash bags? Because without the plastic grocery bags, I’ll be forced to buy plastic trash bags. Which sort of negates the whole purpose of the reusable shopping bag.

    • ElizabethD says:

      Why can’t you use a paper grocery bag to line your wastebasket?

      Get a disposal for your kitchen sink; messy food garbage gets ground up fine and washed into the sewer system. If you have a decent sized yard, make a compost heap for all but meat waste. Those vegetable peelings, egg shells, and coffee grounds will turn into amazingly rich soil in a few years if you turn them with a pitchfork occasionally.

    • zifnab0 says:

      You should start a compost heap beside your house to take care of all of your food wastes.

      Paper products can be put into the heap as well.

      You shouldn’t buy any products that have plastic packaging or components that have to be disposed of.

      If you have any metals, they should be dropped off at the local recycling center, including staples, paperclips, or pins.

      If you don’t do all of these things then you hate the earth and are probably one of those dirty capitalists that are ruining this country.

      • pantheonoutcast says:

        I know you’re being sarcastic. At least I hope you’re being sarcastic and you don’t spend your days running around categorizing your trash like that.

        I’ll give you the point about plastic – bottles in particular. Bottled water and other drinks create unnecessary waste.

        But staples? You recycle staples?

        And something like 35% of Americans live in apartments. Where exactly would you like them to start these compost heaps? And what about the other millions of Americans who don’t want piles of rotting garbage in their backyards?

      • aloria says:

        Please point out where exactly in my 900 sq foot apartment unit would be a good place for a compost heap. You know a lot of people don’t have backyards, right?

  15. oldtaku says:

    California vows to keep working till everything is either mandatory or forbidden – and we’ll still have no budget.

  16. bruce9432 says:

    OK, lets ban plastic bags, that’ll put another 50,000 people out of work. That sure will help. Hey, how about a law that says you can only get a new car every 6 years, putting another 200,000 people out of work. I like the metric of this anticonsumerism.

    How about banning all offroad vehicles, I bet we can get about a million people unemployed with that move. People we consume of die.

    • ARP says:

      Interesting, you can apply this to all sorts of bad things:

      “if you shut down all the child slavery markets, 600 people will lose their jobs”
      “if you shut down personal nuclear weapons factory, 1000 people will lose their jobs.”

      There’s already a country that doesn’t have any nasty old regulations, you can have all the guns you want, and you’re free to make your own path. It’s Somalia.

      • evnmorlo says:

        And if you are so in love with regulation why don’t you go live in your state’s supermax prison. Bags and a lot more have been banned there for decades.

    • Chaosium says:

      “OK, lets ban plastic bags, that’ll put another 50,000 people out of work.”

      You’re right, let’s subsidize the horse and buggy industry.

  17. JayPhat says:

    Isn’t California facing a massive budget shortfall? Shouldn’t they be worried about that?

  18. Groanan says:

    Yippie!

    The only problem I see with plastic bags is when trash makes it to the Ocean.
    As long as the plastic is in an American landfill I do not see the problem, we have plenty of safe landfill space (i.e. not near ground water, in dry areas, with the possibility of building large protective diapers below them), so there is no reason (aside from reducing petroleum product dependency) to fret over plastic bags.

    The enviroterrorists try to push legislation that sounds like it is helping the environment, but in reality isn’t doing jack squat, and potentially is making the quality of life for all of us a little poorer.

    The plastic grocery bag is a miracle of invention, may it continue to aid us until we have those anti-gravity carts that carry our goods for us.

  19. Bog says:

    Well, instead of banning the bags and cause inconvenience and chaos for everyone why not try the scheme they do in some states with beverage bottles and have a 5¢ refundable deposit for each bag. Bonus is that you could use the scheme to make money. Do something like charge 7¢ for each bag but refund the nickel. The store processing the bag gets to keep a penny and perhaps a penny would go in to “fund.”

    • Groanan says:

      Isn’t that unfair though? Why should the government be allowed to tax (which is what this would be) plastic bags, and not paper bags or reusable bags? Why should the government be allowed to make this choice absent a solid reason? Wouldn’t such a law be arbitrary and capricious, against our federal constitution?

      • RandomHookup says:

        Not sure it’s that arbitrary. One can make the argument that plastic bags are more likely to end up in nature and they don’t biodegrade.

        States can place deposits on bottles and they get to decide what kind of bottles to include. I don’t think anyone has challenged those laws for being arbitrary (though I could be wrong on that point).

      • crazydavythe1st says:

        Yikes, reread Constitution, for real.

  20. KrispyKrink says:

    What an enormous waste of time when our state is on the verge of insolvency. Our budget is more than 2 months overdue and they’re pissing around with BS like this.

    Good thing it failed though. I use these bags as my garbage bags and dog crap bags. Had they banned them, I’d just toss loose garbage out and leave the dog crap. I’m not going to buy special bags, inflating the profits of the plastic industry.

    • brinks says:

      Seriously.

      I understand all of the reasons for wanting to ban plastic bags, and they’re valid. I reuse mine, though: dog crap, cat crap, small trash can liners, etc. I have reusable bags, too, and I use them once I have a sufficient stash of plastic bags for all of the things I need them for. Saves me money. I’ve been on unemployment for months…gotta save where I can.

  21. snobum says:

    Living in dc, I’m surprised how much a tax on bags has made a difference. Sure, every once in a while you forget to bring bags but after just a few times it becomes a habit.

  22. greenmeanie says:

    In California, most grocery stores have sold canvas bags for years. They cost about a buck and they last for years. When stores put their logo on them then tend to cost even less. They’re vastly more convenient than plastic in that they don’t break, they can carry *way* more stuff and they don’t cause litter. We just keep them in the back of the car so they’re always ready to go.

    The problem is simply getting people to change their habits and the only way that the majority of people will do that is if plastic bags are no longer available as an easy “autopilot” option.

    And I fail to understand those saying that freedom has somehow scored a victory today. Freedom to what? Pollute? Consume without caring about the impact on others? Somehow I don’t recall seeing those particular “rights” in the Constitution.

  23. Adam says:

    This problem goes away if they just make recycling easier. I don’t have curb side recycling here where I live yet, and I have to take different materials all over the place. There’s one place for glass and plastic, another for paper, and another for cardboard, etc….

  24. XStylus says:

    I was hoping they had declined to pass the bill because they had come to their senses, but I guess that’d be hoping for too much.

  25. JadePharaoh says:

    I dunno. I’m all for seeing a reduction in the number of plastic bags out there. However, I put the ones I get to good use. Rather than just throw them out, I use them primarilly as miniature garbage bags for my smaller wastebaskets and to put used cat litter and cat crap in. If a law like this passed in my state, I would end up having to pay for something I’m currently getting for free. That said, reduction of how many plastic bags get used would still be a good thing. When the bagger at the grocery store uses a whole bag for just one or two items, I find that incredibly wasteful.

  26. Toffeemama is looking for a few good Otters says:

    Everyone’s saying plastic bags are wasteful, but what if you reuse the plastic bags?

  27. Jessica Goldberg says:

    This ban I found very interesting. I do see it being much more successful on a smaller level to start off with. For instance it will be much easier to start in a city and start off with rather than banning it completely all of a sudden to gradually fad plastic bags out. For instance they could try to get businesses to provide incentive for people not to use plastic bags but rather get a 5 cent discount if they bring their own. It would be helpful to mention in that Ireland did place a tax on plastic bags , the government could charge a tax for using plastic bags, Ireland is now up to 32 cents. See the NPR site for this information. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=89135360
    The problem I do foresee though if they manage to eliminate plastic bags is that people will transfer to paper rather than re-usable which is just as bad if the paper bags are not recycled. Paper bags do not decompose well in dumpsters due to the lack of oxygen and just clog them up making paper bags just as bad as plastic, so hopefully the ban will encompass all disposable bags. An older article from NPR mentions the increased waste of paper bags. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=8888798

  28. smartmuffin says:

    “”If we pass this piece of legislation, we will be sending a message to the people of California that we care more about banning plastic bags than helping them put food on their table,” said Sen. Mimi Walters, R-Lake Forest.”

    Yeah, California needs to keep it’s priorities straight.

    1. Protecting the Delta Smelt
    2. Helping people put food on the table
    3. Appeasing environmentalists

    oh wait…

  29. Destron says:

    3 of the local Walmarts in my area went “bagless” on a trial bases, you can buy the reusable bags for a quarter or put your stuff in boxes like Sam’s Club. It’s not that bad really. I just have to remember to take the bags in the store with me every time I shop now.

    A sign up front claims that Walmart is dedicated to being off plastic bags company wide by 2016

  30. jessjj347 says:

    My 2 cents:

    I think that more companies should have incentive programs for not using their bags. So, that way it will help to reduce the amount of bags used (whether they are plastic or fabric or paper).

    A lot of grocery stores give you a few cents off for each bag you bring in yourself. And CVS gives you basically $.25 per day that you shop there without using their bags, which I think is an even better model. Seriously, I get $1 like every week from CVS from that program.

    I’m not sure how much money they lose or save from those programs. Perhaps someone else can comment on that.

  31. Horselady says:

    My state should be ashamed of itself,
    well,
    at least these LAWMAKERS should……….

  32. legolex says:

    Ban the bags. I think the quote of “Causing Financial burden” on people by banning the bags is plain stupid. If you’re that worried about financial burdens, why not make it affordable to live in CA?

  33. operator207 says:

    I don’t seem to have a problem recycling the bags I get at the grocery store. I take my lunch in them to work, then keep them at work to bring things home. Or keep them at work to put parts in. I have used them as packing material when we run out of that. I use them around the house to dispose of things like dog poop, or other things I would rather not hold in my hand.

    I find that some people think recycling is bring it home from the grocery store, and immediately put it in the recycling bin. Most of the grocery bags that I have brought home, are used at least 2 other times to do something. THEN I recycle them in the recycle bin.

    Also, when I goto the grocery store, I try to use the self checkout. I also don’t do what most cashiers do, and put 2-3 items per bag. I load mine up. I usually buy the same groceries every week, if I use self checkout, I have ~7 bags. If I use a cashier, I have ~15 bags. But I understand why they use so many, most customers would be angry if the cashier loaded the bags the way I do. And no, I don’t squish the bread. Bread and meat are the only items that get their own bag. And only for sanitary and usability reasons. The bag with meat in it is also the only bag I immediately recycle. I don’t need chicken drool on my lunch the next work day.

    • webweazel says:

      I LOATHE cashiers bagging for me. Walmart is famous for this kind of wasteful bagging. One or two items per bag. I’m constantly there rearranging items from one bag to another and usually end up leaving about 50% of their bags behind that they tried to use in the first place. Annoys me to no end. They do not have a counter where they can just shove items down like at the supermarket. At the supermarket, I just tell them to pass them down, I’ll bag my own. Much better.
      Plus, we can group items in bags according to where they go at home. Some for the pantry, some for the upright freezer, some for the kitchen cabinets, some for the fridge. Makes it much easier to deal with overall.
      MAYBE instead of banning ALL plastic bags, just ban them from stores that normally give out GOBS of them, like Walmart, Target, supermarkets, etc. Let the smaller boutique stores, gas stations, or corner groceries have plastic. That would ebb the tide quite a bit, I would think. Most people do not carry reusables on them ALL the time, but tend to carry the whole bunch when planning to go to the supermarket, and could be an issue for an impulse buy at a small corner store.

  34. dcamsam says:

    Also from the article, “The bill’s main opponent, the Virginia-based American Chemistry Council, spent millions in lobbying fees, radio ads and even a prime-time television ad attacking the measure. The organization represents plastic bag manufacturers such as Dow Chemical Co. and ExxonMobil Corp.”

    Dear pro-freedom commenters: you remain free to subsidize Dow Chemical and ExxonMobil through a percentage of your purchases at any store that offers “free” plastic bags.

  35. lanorigb says:

    Not really sure why people have an issue with banning plastic bags. If you buy a few of the reusable bags (2-3 bucks a piece) you get paid for each bag you use at each store. Grocery stores, Target, Wal-Mart, drug stores etc. pay you 5 cents each time you use one. I bought mine a few years ago and they’ve easily paid for themselves and then some by now. Besides the enviromental benefit, they are better for the customer in that they are convenient. Rather than using 10 bags for my weekly groceries I can use 4 reusable bags and carry them into my home in two trips-plus they don’t rip and you can get them lined to keep your frozen items cold.

    Interesting quote-Although bags are given out free these days, they are not without their costs. Retailers in the United States spend $4 billion a year on plastic bags, which gets passed on to customers as higher prices.

    http://www.alternet.org/environment/61607/