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.