What Happens When you Ban Plastic Bags?
I spotted this sign a few days ago.
I know it seems ridiculous for a city to ban plastic bags, but its an effective way to take tons of plastic garbage out of the waste stream.
Something in me doesn't want to give up what was a free supply of bags. But the other part of me has embraced the idea that these one-time, ultra-disposible bags really are a waste of resources. So goddamn many of them are produced that they sometimes end up in conflict with nature.
I found it interesting that the State of California passed their first plastic bag law in 2006, laying down specific rules that grocery stores had to follow and forbidding cities and county government from coming in with certain additional laws.
The State law defines which stores were affected and made it manditory for stores to have a bag recycling collection box. It also defines what constitutes a "reusable" bag, with specifications such as the thickness of the cloth or plastic and the ability to be laundered.
This state law also prevents local governments from imposing a plastic carryout bag fee. If you would like to read the original state law, it is here: California AB 2449.
The state law limited what a local government like San Francisco could do to limit the festival of free junk bags, but local governments could still ban the giveaway bags completely. So some did.
When plastic bags get banned in Sacramento, it will take a little getting used to. I can't say I'm going to miss the giant clump of Target bags in the closet.