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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Why I Voted Against the Plastic Bag Ban and 10 Cent Fee

Schipske one of three votes against banning plastic bags in grocery stores -- and slapping on 10 cent fee for paper bags... 

It apparently didn't matter to the majority of council members that that most residents of Long Beach do not appreciate being told they aren't responsible enough to recycle and reuse plastic bags or that they now must pay 10 cents for the privilege of using paper bags in grocery stores. That's why on a vote of 5-3 (with one member absent), the Council approved the ban and slapped on the 10 cent fee.

I VOTED AGAINST THE BAN AND 10 CENT FEE -- I did so for a number of reasons:
  • unless the state bans all plastic bags, this action singles out only one type of plastic bag used by one type of store -- grocery stores
  • it is not appropriate for a city council to slap on a fee for anything that is not related directly to local government -- this fee goes to the grocers who already admit that they charge customers for plastic and paper bags by increasing the cost of groceries
  • if the intent was to help clean up the ocean and the LA River, then why aren't we going after the real culprits -- styrofoam and plastic water bottles?
  • we are losing numerous wild birds in our local El Dorado Park because they are wrapped up in fishing line..but we aren't going to ban fishing or fishing line
  • this action does not generate one penny for the city to recover any refuse costs associated with plastic bags
  • not one plastic bag from Long Beach winds up in landfills -- that's because in Long Beach we don't use landfills for our trash -- we burn in at our SERRF plant which generates electricity
  • the EPA warns that paper bags can house cockroaches and their eggs and should be kept outside...nice
  • this country switched from paper to plastic because of concern of how many trees were being destroyed and the terrible pollution the manufacture of paper bags makes...duh, these are still concerns
  • many of the reusable bags being sold are not all safe -- many have been recalled due to lead and other toxic materials (if you use one, cotton is the best)
  • I believe that the best approach and most reasonable thing to do would be to continue a voluntary recycle and reuse plan and perhaps even implement a plastic bag refund program whereby grocers could pay customers who return 10 or more plastic bags..nothing works better than incentives
  • This issue should be put to a vote of the residents who will be impacted 
What you can do:

  • Contact Mayor Foster and ask him to veto the ordinance. He has 10 days to sign it into law or to veto it.
  • Contact your local grocery store and tell them you want them to carry and offer the types of plastic bags that are used at Wal-Mart and Target stores for their groceries and which by the way are STILL LEGAL under the City ordinance -- a little factoid not told to many.
  • Gather signatures to stop the ordinance and to place it on the ballot. 
Please keep in touch.
Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske, 5th District 

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