Jan 16, 2012
commented on Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon Wants to Banish Disposable Bags From Washington State
#10 Sure, it's possible to not give out plastic bags at the checkout stand, and sure, the world won't end. But the question shouldn't be whether it CAN be done, but whether it SHOULD be done. Lawmakers justify bans by talking about litter, clogged landfills, and oil. But plastic bags are made from natural gas, and make up less than one percent of all litter and landfill volume.
Rep. Joe also justified this action by saying that there are no bag manufacturers in the state so no jobs would be lost. WRONG. There are several plastic bag manufacturers in WA state, and many retailers large and small use bags that are made in state. Why ship those jobs over to Asia so we can pay a few bucks for crappy lead filled reusable bags?
People reuse plastic checkout bags all the time for picking up after the dog, lining small trash cans, as lunch bags, for wet or dirty messes, etc. For those uses, you will now need to shell out money to buy packaged bags. How does that cut down on plastic use? Oh... it doesn't. Everywhere bags have been banned, there has been a massive increase in sales of packaged bags. Most made in China. Nice.
#11. compostable bags are nowhere near as inexpensive as standard plastic bags. They require far more resources to make, will only break down in composting facilities (that charge the city to take the waste), and are made mainly from food, which drives up prices of... food.
Dec 1, 2011
commented on Major Grocery Association Says It Will Support Seattle's Attempt to Ban Plastic Bags (Unlike in 2009)
This law is just plain stupid from the get go. The fiscal note says that the ban will have no financial implications for the city of Seattle, but the bill expressly mandates that the city provide reusable bags to low income families. Who pays for those? And what about enforcement of the ban? Who will be paying for that? And accounting for the paper bag fees? Someone in the city will have to audit stores to see if they are in compliance. Who pays for that?
The City Council based this legislation on "the success of Bellingham's ban". But that ban doesn't take effect until next year... how can the success or failure of that ban even be judged? My guess is that it will be a nightmare to implement.
The lobbyists for Environment Washington are pushing this through using examples like the beached whale found in West Seattle with 20 plastic bags in its belly. In fact, the whale also had sweatpants, surgical gloves, a golf ball, and numerous other foreign objects in its stomach - none of which are facing a ban - and of all the stomach contents, the man made objects made up less than 2% and scientists say that it is highly unlikely that the foreign objects led to the death of the animal.
Grocery stores back this only because they can make a buck. And do you really think they will pass their savings on to customers?
Plastic bags are 100% recyclable and according to the study that Seattle Public Utilities did for the tax a few years back, 91% of Seattle residents reuse or recycle plastic bags! Plastic bags make up less than 1% of litter and less than 1/2% of landfill volume. A ban would have no measurable effect on litter, landfill volume, or pollution. In fact, it may make things worse as people switch to heavier and more polluting paper and are forced to purchase packaged bags for trash can liners, picking up after pets, and containing other waste that paper and reusable can't be used for.
If you oppose the ban, go speak your mind at the Council Hearing on Monday, December 5th at 5pm.
Nov 23, 2011
commented on Why Seattle Should Ban Plastic Bags
The whale in question also had a golf ball and some sweatpants in his belly as well as the bags and other items. None of that was blamed for the whale's death.
About the compostable plastic being used around town these days, and the bio bags for food waste. These will not break down in your backyard compost pile. They require very high heat aerobic composting conditions, so they need to go in your yard waste and be sent to Cedar Grove to be composted. Interestingly enough, the city pays Cedar Grove to take the waste, and then charges again if we want compost from them. It's the only business I know of that makes money by acquiring raw material for a product. Good business model I suppose.
#34 The ban in San Francisco hasn't been a great success. It resulted in more plastic bag litter because it killed bag recycling, and it resulted in higher amounts of greenhouse gasses from paper production. Almost everyone switched to paper instead of using reusable bags.
Ireland has a bag tax... which reduced bag use 90%, but only reduced use of grocery checkout bags. Sales of packaged bags (that are generally thicker and larger) went up by 400%, and resulted in more plastic in the landfills. Not that plastic in landfills is much of a problem... it accounts for less than 1% of all landfill volume.
And for dog poop or trash can liners, if this ban goes through, we'll just have to buy them. And NO, you can't put dog poop in a bio bag and compost it. Bad dog!
Aug 7, 2009
commented on Greed: The Best Reason to Oppose the Bag Fee
Dominic is only interested in presenting the opinions of those who don't have a financial stake in the outcome. The problem is he is overlooking the fact that almost EVERY talking point against bags, as well as language in bag legislation around the country, comes directly from websites of companies who sell reusable bags. No financial stake... whatever. Like the city doesn't have a financial stake in this - it's purpose is to raise tax revenue. Think before you speak, Dom. Writers for the Stranger apparently only need to be able to sling mud to get published. How about actually researching BOTH sides of the issue before spouting off?
What should actually be important in the debate isn't WHO is saying what, but WHAT they are saying. You can't discount what the companies opposed to the fee are saying just because you don't like them. If you look at the actual facts being presented, you will see that the anti-fee argument is backed up with a mountain of actual data showing that the fee will not have any impact on the environment one way or the other, compared to the inane rantings of the pro-fee people who seem to only be able to say "bags are made by corporations and therefore evil" and repeating misinformation and myths about bags.
Do us all a favor, and before you vote on this, actually do some research. Environmental laws should be based on environmental science, not just a belief that it's the right thing to do. And don't blame the bag makers for how people (yes PEOPLE) dispose of their trash. Blaming manufacturers for littering is like blaming Toyota when a drunk in a Camry causes a wreck.
Jul 23, 2009
commented on Jessie Israel: In The Bag
Hey #28, when was the last time that you PERSONALLY saw an animal trapped in any bag? Pictures found on the internet don't count. Your personal experience only please. Never?
Paper is far worse from an environmental standpoint. Paper production and recycling requires many times the energy of plastic, transporting heavier paper requires more fuel and creates more pollution than plastic, and paper production and recycling pollutes air and water far worse than plastic.
Environmental concerns have to be looked at as a whole. Wildlife deaths because of plastic are mostly due to items other than plastic bags (yes, there are other plastic items in existance besides bags), and all of them are due to litter and improper disposal of waste.
Don't blame the product. It's like blaming Toyota when a drunk in a Camry causes a wreck.