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County Ban on Plastic Bags Is A Bad Idea

Before the Board of Supervisors voted to ban grocery bags in unincorporated Los Angeles County Areas, did they ever give thought to the fact that:

– Thousands of  companies will go out of business.
– There will be massive unemployment.
– Billions of dollars will be spent in unemployment benefits.
– People don’t have 10 cents to spend on each and every paper bag every time they go to the store.
– Millions of trees will have to be cut.

In an article printed by the Eastern Group Publications on Thursday, November 18, 2010, it is stated that the State of California spends $25 million per year to collect and dispose of plastic bags. According to the article, plastic bags are generating 150,000 tons of waste and killing marine animals and birds, but, it does not state how many marine animals and birds are being killed. It, also, states, that environmental costs are severe due to the use of plastic bags, but, again, it is not stated, how severe?

I agree with opponents who state that banning plastic bags will raise grocery costs for families, seniors, and the unemployed. Not to mention the contaminants and lead in the reusable bags being offered.

What I am not hearing are the alternatives to the problem. What about recycling plastic bags? Has anybody thought about that? We already recycle, glass, aluminum, paper, and plastic. Why can’t we seek an alternative to recycling plastic bags? Of course, a standard would have to be set forth as to how much would be paid to companies and people who submit plastic bags for recycling. Recycling plastic bags would open up jobs for people, not take jobs away, and there would be more than a 50% cut in the amount of plastic bags being strewn about in the environment, in landfills and riverbeds.

I agree with Supervisor Mike Antonovich when he stated that he was concerned about the economic impact and consequences of the ban on plastic bags.
Again, alternatives to the solution of the problem need to be addressed, first, before any bans and ordinances are imposed.

—Dolores Manzanares
Retired California Teacher

Posted - Copyright © 2022 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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1 Comment

  1. You expect a schoolteacher to guide you, but Ms Manzanares offers us a poor analysis. I’m not sure where she gets the numbers that, “thousands of companies” will fail because of the plastic bag ban, and the wildly speculative billions of dollars in unemployment, but this is hardly true for the one or two plastic bag makers, especially if they can replace those jobs by making reusable bags.

    Similarly, she ignores the fact that you can already recycle plastic bags in your Blue Bin, and that supermarkets accepted bags for recycling for over a decade (with little apparent effect). Recycling also only accounts for a tiny portion of the whole produced, and requires significant energy and manufacturing to re-make the bags (usually into something else, since the plastic quality is degraded).

    Seniors, families, and the unemployed (and everyone else) can, of course, reuse paper or plastic for quite some time after the first use, or buy (or make) inexpensive reusable bags, thereby avoiding extra costs. The ordinance also exempts a charge for those in the supplemental food programs.

    Ms. Manzanara uses the shibboleth of lost jobs, a conflation of statistics about employment and waste disposal, and just plain wrong information on recycling, countering with a vague proposal that she claims will cut 50% of the plastic bags, “strewn about”.

    My teachers taught me critical thinking, and I’m very critical of her analysis.

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