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California might be the first to ban plastic bags.

Discussion in 'The OT' started by barryb, Jun 4, 2010.

  1. Cholly

    Cholly Old Guys Rule! DBSTalk Club

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    Retailers use plastic bags because they're cheaper than paper. A few grocery chains give you the "paper or plastic" option.
    The problem I have with reusable bags (I have 3 in my car at the moment) is that you have to remember to take them into the store, and if you don't have the foresight to bring enough of them with you, you're still stuck with some plastic bags.

    Fortunately, Walmart and some other grocery chains accept plastic bags for recycling.
     
  2. smiddy

    smiddy Tain't ogre til its ogre

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    We recycle the ones we get and we use them to wrap diapers (luckily my daughter is on her second week of potty training, very few accidents these days). I think we need to be conscious of our resources, but since I am not their analyst for this, I don't know the entire impacts. I can only speculate they are making a smart decision, but without seeing the data it is tough to know. We need to take care of our resources better, but is the answer banning plastic bags, I don't know. They are recyclable now, so I don't know what the big deal is...
     
  3. Tom Robertson

    Tom Robertson Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

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    I know the problem of extra trips to the car... I often have to go back to get the recycled bags... :)
     
  4. MysteryMan

    MysteryMan Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

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    Recycle the Bags. Why not use them to package propaganda leaflets and air drop them over Iraq and Afganastan!:)
     
  5. Herdfan

    Herdfan Well-Known Member

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    That is what we do with them also. Go through 7 a week.
     
  6. Herdfan

    Herdfan Well-Known Member

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    I don't mind the ones from "nice" grocery stores that have the built in handles. Don't see to many of those anymore though.
     
  7. phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    While the stats get bantered around by the interested parties, it does appear that nationwide only 1 to 3% of plastic bags end up getting recycled depending on whose numbers you use. (Of course, that doesn't take into account those used for poop wrappers.:))

    Another more controversial number, but probably reliable, is frequently quoted also. In a 2007 Christian Science Monitor Article, then Director of San Francisco's Department of the Environment Jared Blumenfeld noted:
     
  8. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    This is an example of why kneejerk reactions to problems are bad.

    At least part of the drive years ago to offer plastic bags instead of paper... was to help reduce the use of paper (and of course trees) because of concerns over reducing the amount of trees on the planet.

    So we switched to something that doesn't biodegrade and have created a different problem.

    This is why I hate to see panic-reactions to real problems.. because it seems like they inevitably lead to other problems.

    IF we go back to paper, and people throw them away like the plastic... then at least they biodegrade, but we will increase again our use of paper products and require more trees to be destroyed.

    I'd like to see the powers-that-be think a little bit more before enacting a directive.
     
  9. phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    You're right, paper bags aren't the logical alternative. That's why I mentioned the WalMart experiment solution - in a few stores in California, like in nearby Ukiah, when you get to the checkout you have three choices:
    1. They'll put your stuff in the bags you brought with you.
    2. They'll sell you some pretty nice reusable bags for 50¢ each, which is a low price but high enough you'll reuse them next time (if you remember to bring them in from your car).
    3. They'll put the stuff back into the cart and you can wheel it out to your car an empty it into your car.
    I like their policy. But I'm not sure others have the buying clout to acquire the reusable bags that could be sold for 50¢ each. And the 50¢ bags aren't perfect as they are made from polypropylene. From the WalMart Reusable Bags Fact Sheet:
    I think with only a little care one could get a whole lot more than 50 trips to the store from the bags. They are pretty good size, also. Now whether they will conform to the proposed state law is another question. Hence, knee jerks (we have way too many of them in the Legislature) can actually disrupt a good solution.
     
  10. Herdfan

    Herdfan Well-Known Member

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    This kind of directive can be implemented by companies the size of Wal-Mart or the large grocery chains. But what about the small independent grocery, C-store owner or small produce vendor. They don't have the resources these large companies have.

    And how long will it take until this spreads to non-food/liquor/pharmacy stores? I can't see going into Best Buy and walking out with my Blu-ray in a paper bag.
     
  11. smiddy

    smiddy Tain't ogre til its ogre

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    Wasn't there a similar thing about aluminum cans too, they weren't always profitable.
     
  12. Tom Robertson

    Tom Robertson Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

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    This is likely a number that has aged tremendously. You get Wal-Mart recycling tons of bags each year and the cost of recycling will drop--tremendously. Wal-Mart alone can force a price drop.

    Cheers,
    Tom
     
  13. phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    There were times when nothing was profitable. Right after California mandated achieving 50% recycling in the municipal waste stream, I chaired the Mendocino Solid Waste Management Board. Getting people to recycle was no big deal. Figuring out how to make it affordable because shifting markets in things as metals, plastics (despite the advice to given to Benjamin Braddock) and cardboard was tough back then.
     
  14. DodgerKing

    DodgerKing Hall Of Fame

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    Why? Pathetic if you ask me. This is just another bureaucratic move that not only intrudes on our liberty, but is done based on chicken little reactions to fringe groups. It will do absolutely nothing to help the environment.

    Plastic bags account for less than 1% of all refuse. Eliminating every one of them will have little to no impact on the environment or landfills.

    In places where plastic bags are banned, people start buying more plastic bags to make up for the lack of free bags they are used to getting. People use these bags for more than just bringing their groceries home. They use them to carry other things to other places. They use them to cover and store things. They use them for garbage. They use them to pick up their dog poop.

    Despite what you learn in your environmental indoctrination reports, the affects on marine life is so small and minimal (BTW, I am a teacher in the environmental science pathway).
     
  15. barryb

    barryb New Member

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    So what is your solution Dodger?

     
  16. smiddy

    smiddy Tain't ogre til its ogre

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    I guess based on experience then, at some point due to government pressures people figure out how to make it a profit center, even if it is small, eventually it will get there, with enough pressure (money) applied.
     
  17. DodgerKing

    DodgerKing Hall Of Fame

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    Solution to what? Government intrusion into issues they have no business being in?

    Or what is my solution to the non issue of plastic bags?
     
  18. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    In the area where I live I have a consistent problem with recycling that I've discussed with others.

    The city provides 1 large trash bin with wheels for refuse. They also provide a small open-top container for ALL recyclables. You could fit 4-5 of the smaller containers inside the large bin.

    Ok, so the city will only pickup recyclables that are inside the small container. Also, you cannot mix different kinds of recyclable materials. So to some extent they are basically encouraging people NOT to recycle, since trying to do so via their containers is next to impossible for most households.

    It is very easy to recycle from the point of trash generation. I drink a beverage, and can easily throw the container into garbage with other stuff OR a separate container for only that kind of material. I can do that will all kinds of different materials, but the city won't pick those separate containers up unless they all fit inside that small thing.

    Meanwhile... on the bag front (and topic of this thread)... Places like BJ's, Sams, or Costco, don't provide bags and I manage from those stores without bags. Years ago we had a grocery store in this area called Pack 'n Save where you had to bag your own groceries (or not if you chose)... so we could for the most part evolve to using less bags IF we wanted.

    Then again... I also see we are a very lazy world where we demand carts to take our stuff from the store to our car... but can't be bothered to take the cart back into the store. What's worse, is the stores that provide those little cart "areas" in the parking lot... often people can't be bothered to take their cart back that far!

    So, I'm thinking going totally bag-less is likely a losing proposition.
     
  19. Drucifer

    Drucifer Well-Known Member

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    I bring em into the store alright. It's getting 'em back into my jeep that I keep forgetting do.
     
  20. Tom Robertson

    Tom Robertson Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

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    The very best recycling operation on a city-wide basis that I've seen is San Leandro in Alameda County, California.

    I mention Alameda County as they started with a 75% recycling self-imposed mandate nearly 10 years ago.

    San Leandro implemented a fee for your trash. The larger/more cans, the larger the bill.

    ALL recycling containers were free. We had the smallest trash can (actually a liner inside a larger one) and three recycling bins. We recycled about 80% by volume.

    There were only two types of recycling: compost and everything else: paper, glass, metal, small appliances, plastics (and a large selection of them), etc.

    We could even recycle kitchen refuse--foods and such as compost before we left.

    Great system.

    By doing this on such a large scale, Alameda County eventually reduced their waste costs as recycling became profitable rather than a loss.

    Cheers,
    Tom
     

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