The War on Plastic Bags

by Mike Licht,

by Mike Licht,

In 2010, California tried to ban the plastic bag.  I thought to myself, “Seriously? With all the problems we have?” Now individual cities like Dana Point and Laguna Beach are picking up the torch.

I mean, I remember as a child the “Save A Tree: Use Plastic” when we all used paper bags.  We loved them.  They were used for trash, we wrapped presents in them; heck! Mom even cooked her Thanksgiving Turkey in one.  If that’s not “reuse, reduce, recycle” what is?

Here are some of my concerns:

  • Who will pay for the paper bags?  In all liklihood, the consumer, either directly or indirectly, will bear the added cost.
  • There is no great way to ensure reusable bags (the preferred alternative to plastic “single-use” bags) are properly washed, thus preventing food-to-home-back-to-store contamination.  I double-dog dare you to read the study linked below; these bags are breeding grounds for bacteria, yeast, salmonella, coliforms including E. Coli, and mold. When I wrote my post in 2010, I thew away all of my “reusable” bags.
  • Cotton bags would be a better alternative because you could wash them in bleach after each use and fully dry them in a dryer.  But what is the environmental and financial cost of doing that? 
  • I reuse my plastic bags to bring lunch to work, carry my clean plastic containers back home, and for bathroom and car trash liners.  Paper bags would not suffice.  I’d end up purchasing plastic bags.

I’m thankful that my Assemblywoman, Diane Harkey R-73, has both voted against the statewide legislation and has been a vocal advocate against plastic bag bans.

I’m not in favor of killing ocean life or ruining our beautiful environment.  But I think in this instance, when even 1/6 cell phones are contaminated with fecal mater, I wouldn’t trust people to fully sanitize their bags before reusing them at the store.  Human health may be the cost of the war on plastic bags.

It’s true that some people litter and these plastic bags may end up where they shouldn’t.

But don’t punish everyone because of the few.

Recommended Reading and Links:

Adapted from my Commonsense Conscience June 4, 2010 post:  “Paper or Plastic?”

About Bridget Willard

Author of several marketing books including "How to Market Your Plugin," Bridget Willard is a teacher who focuses on building relationships. Small businesses benefit from consults that result in an actionable strategy to focus their effort and budgets. Bridget's services include in-house training, marketing strategy, copywriting, and social media account management. Her plugin “Launch With Words” is a value-add for developers to help those clients use their websites — publishing blog posts monthly. To empower small business owners, she writes, teaches, presents to small groups, and creates tutorials on her YouTube channel.   When she’s not inspiring small businesses, she is spending time with her friends, learning languages, or enjoying San Antonio. Say hi to her on Twitter at @BridgetMWillard.
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4 Responses to The War on Plastic Bags

  1. Yeah the scary thing is all the bacteria left inside them, but like you I use them for everything. Waste can liners, litter box bags, lunch bags. Dang nanny state…

  2. flicka47 says:

    So was San Luis Obispo county, starts next Nov…& I think Santa Barbara county already has theirs in place. And one of the Bay Area counties is upping the ante so that not just grocery stores can no longer use plastic, but all stores…

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