Tuesday, April 03, 2007

USA Today: Plastic Bag Ban is Full of Holes

San Francisco is the first city to ban plastic shopping bags - the city's Board of Supervisors approved legislation to outlaw plastic checkout bags at large supermarkets in about six months and large chain pharmacies in about a year. The stores are encouraged to use bags made of recyclable paper. Read more here.

From USA Today, comes an editorial in today's edition "Plastic-bag ban full of holes: San Francisco’s scheme sounds good, until you hear the costs." For example:

1. Plastic bags cost a penny each, paper costs about a nickel, and compostable bags can run as high as 10 cents each.

2. Compared to plastic bags, paper bags require four times as much energy to produce, and 85 times as much energy to recycle paper bags.

3. Paper bags generate 70% more air pollutants and 50 times more water pollutants than plastic bags.

4. Paper takes up nine times as much space in landfills and doesn't break down at a substantially faster rate than plastic does.


At 4/03/2007 4:18 PM, Anonymous Ed Kohler said...

Paper doesn't break down substantially faster than plastic? Huh? Does plastic EVER break down? What's the definition of substantial?

I believe the point of this type of legislation is also to make people aware of the costs of using bags in general. Perhaps people will skip taking a bag more often, or get in the habit of using reusable bags for more of their shopping?

Does the cost of plastic bags factor in the cost of wars fought to secure their raw material: oil?

At 4/03/2007 5:51 PM, Blogger Taichi said...

Have you ever seen a plastic bag that has been left out in the weather? It breaks down to pretty much nothing very quickly. Just leave a bag of leaves out from fall to spring and try to move it.

The point of this legislation is to show how superior they could make themselves look by passing it.

We don't get all out oil by fighting wars. We buy it.

At 4/04/2007 3:26 AM, Blogger Rajiv Badlani said...

Why are you limiting yourself to assuming that plastic or paper bags are the only options? Both involve using a product just once and throwing it away; both are pretty lousy options.

Reusable cloth bags are a much better answer. You can reuse them 1000 times.

People, of course, have different opinions and here are some “issues” people have raised in opposition:

1. They cost a lot of money.
Let me assure you they don’t. Just look at my website http://www.badlani.com/bags and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see how little they cost.

2. Bulky or impractical to carry.
Yes? Look at this little number http://www.badlani.com/blog/2006/11/21/impulse-buyers-will-not-carry-reusable-bags-really/

I sure hope I’ve been able to sway your thinking a bit!


Rajiv K. Badlani
Norquest Brands Private Limited
Norquest House
Udyan Marg, Mithakali
Ahmedabad 380009 India

Phones (+91 79) 2646 1626, 2646 3331
Fax (+91 79) 2644 1812
Mobile (+91) 98790 01065

rajiv at badlani.com


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