Friday, July 25, 2008

Banning Plastic Bags

Los Angeles recently banned plastic bags, effective July 2010. (Shoppers will have to either bring their own bags or pay 25 cents for a paper or biodegradable bag.) San Francisco banned them in 2007, and Seattle is probably going to ban them soon. (China is banning them too -- 3 billion a day.) Portland looks likely to as well.

A city commissioner here, Sam Adams (to become mayor in Jan 2009) is proposing banning them (he floated the idea several months ago), which I think is a good idea. I used to oppose it, for no better reason than that I use those bags for cat litter, but a month ago I bought a clothe sack from Safeway for $0.99 and I have to admit I love it. It's bigger and sturdier, plus you feel you're doing a little good for this crappy world. You just have to get in the habit of taking it with you when you plan to go to the store.

Adams wants to charge 5 to 20 cents per bag if you don't have a reusable sack and use a plastic or paper bag from the grocery. I hope it's 20 cents -- 5 cents isn't enough incentive.
Only 52 percent of the paper and 5 percent of plastic grocery bags given out in the United States are recycled, said Stephanie Barger, executive director of the Earth Resources Foundation in Costa Mesa, Calif.
I don't know what I'll do with cat poop once my (humongous) supply of plastic bags is gone. Probably have to buy other plastic bags just for that purpose. That defeats the purpose of the ban somewhat, but at least the bags won't end up in the oceans.


It takes 16 cc of oil to produce one plastic bag; 430,000 gallons to produce a hundred million of them. About 5 trillion plastic bags are used annually, requiring 500 million barrels a year, about 2% of all oil use.

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