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Friday, December 3, 2010

Plastic bag ban needs to be gradual and not punitive...and City Hall needs to lead the way

China has banned them. Ireland has banned them. So has the County of Los Angeles and the City and County of San Francisco. Washington, D.C. also. They all have joined the growing list of governments banning plastic bags because of the on going problems with the bags winding up all over the place as debris.

China actually banned plastic bags because their manufacture consumes too much petroleum.

They pollute our land fills and our waterways -- no doubt strong arguments to get rid of them. But a mandatory switch to paper bags as is being proposed in Long Beach makes little sense because wood -- which is what paper is made from -- means the loss of more trees. Also the imposition of 10 cents per bag is punitive instead of providing an incentive for the switch -- and in this economy where unemployment benefits have run out for many in California it doesn't seem prudent.

San Francisco actually has the best proposal -- a gradual phase in and allowing large markets and pharmacies to have the option of using compostable bags made of corn starch or bags made of recyclable paper.

So I will support a gradual phase in of moving away from plastic bags to compostable bags without any tax or fee passed along to the consumer for this switch.

I also think that if my colleagues really want to deal with the growing pollution from plastic then let's lead the way:
  • No bottled water in City Hall. These plastic bottles also wind up in dumps and in the ocean and do not decompose.
  • No plastic bags used in the hundreds of trash cans in City Hall offices. Use compostable bags.
  • No use of plastic cups, plates, forks or spoons at the Convention Center. These items are now available in compostable forms from corn starch.
The environment is important but we need to be reasonable especially in tough economic times.

Save Station 18

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