plastic bags

Rita Hibbard's picture

Just say 'no' to plastic and paper - bring your own bags until lawmakers - and voters - get the courage to act

Just say no.

To paper and plastic.

An Oregon lawmaker is backing legislation to ban plastic bags. A big fight is shaping up, with plastic bag makers pointing to the  harmful effects of paper, and asking 'who can say paper is worse than plastic?' In Seattle last year, rita_hibbardwebvoters bowed to big spending by big plastic and chemical interests and voted down a proposal to  impose fees on all disposable bags.

The Oregon battle, a long shot to begin with, will be a tough one, marked by rhetoric and big spending by corporate interests that have derailed similar efforts around the nation. Expect that to continue. Why? Because nationwide, grocery stores and pharmacies go through about 92 billion plastic bags a year, compared to about 5 billion paper bags.

“The plastic industry … will try to win local battle by local battle,”  Marc Mihaly, director of the environmental law center at Vermont Law School, says of such contests. “They will intimidate where they can. If they can’t intimidate … they will try to influence legislators.”

But all of us could make the decision ourselves, and just bring our own re-usable bags. Yeah, it's hard to remember.  And really annoying to carry five oranges, a jar of honey and three cans of dog food out of the store with no bag. But, sigh, we could save a lot of money and energy and advertising brochures headed for the landfill if we just said 'no.'  To non-reusable bags, that is.

The Oregonian's Scott Learn writes that State Sen.

Rita Hibbard's picture

Washington joins plastic bag ban bandwagon

Forget the plastic shopping bags in Edmonds, WA, a shoreline city about 15 miles north of Seattle. The city has voted to  ban the bags, saying they hurt the environment and are easily replaced by reusable grocery bags. Edmonds becomes the the first city in Washington state to ban the bags, and estimates it could prevent about 8 million disposable bags from reaching landfills. San Francisco banned plastic bags in 2007, and a similar ban goes into effect in Los Angeles next year, writes Lynn Thompson in The Seattle Times. Meanwhile, Seattle residents will vote on a measure to impose a fee on paper and plastic bags on Aug. 18. Times columnist Danny Westneat today writes about one low income advocacy group's decision to oppose the measure.

Rural AK town bans plastic bags, foam containers

"It looks like white geese out there. Eight million of them."  That's how David Stovner, manager of the recycling center in tiny Bethel, AK, views the plastic bags and Styrofoam littering the tundra around his town. The city council in the town of 5,700 has just voted to ban the bags and foam food containers. A similar ban passed earlier in the decade but was overturned by a public vote, writes Kyle Hopkins of the Anchorage Daily News.