Plastic bag ban

Dear Editor: The op-ed “Banning Plastic Bags: Giving Up Convenience for the Greater Good” published in the Oct. 2 edition of the Patriot was so very one-sided and failed to include some very important facts that Californians should be aware of.

The term “one-time use bags” is a misnomer. The fact is that 90 percent of consumers reuse their grocery store bags for conveniences such as storage, lining waste baskets, cleaning up after your dog, lining cat litter boxes for easy clean up and disposal. Studies show that banning the use of grocery store bags does not decrease litter in landfills. Not having grocery store bags will force the consumer to purchase expensive replacement bags (Glad bags) often made of heavier plastic and will end up in the landfills too.

Grocery store plastic bags require 70 percent less energy and require 4 percent less water compared to the manufacturing of paper bags.

Impacting your health: the ban on disposable bags will force consumers to purchase reusable bags that, unless properly sanitized after each and every use (soap and hot water), will result in harmful, unhealthy food-borne bacteria growth. How many consumers that currently use reusable bags wash their bags after hauling packages of chicken and beef home from the grocery store? Storing the bags in the trunk of your car increases the speed of bacteria growth.

Hundreds of millions of bags are imported from China and other countries. Many have been found to contain dangerous levels of lead. These foreign countries are not held to the stricter manufacturing standards of the United States.

Jobs: grocery store plastic bags are made in America. The ban in California directly impacts the employment of 2,000 Californians. Nationally, the industry directly employs 30,000 citizens.

Heal the Bay assures consumers they have the option of purchasing a recycled paper bag or reusable bag at checkout. While burdening the consumer with extra costs, forcing the most vulnerable low income citizens and seniors to purchase retail paper or heavier plastic bags, the grocery stores stand to make billions. And get stores are not required to pay the state of California tax on the revenue earned from selling replacement or reusable bags sold at the checkout counter.

There is an effort underway to put the issue of the bag ban on the ballot to allow Californians the opportunity to let citizens (not politicians) decide whether “giving up convenience” is truly “for the greater good.” Citizens that prefer not to see their grocery store costs increase, prefer not to support China’s economy, prefer to save California jobs, are encouraged to send a message to their legislators to get this measure on a ballot.

Alicia Wheeler




Published: Oct. 16, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 27