Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Paper or Plastic?

In 2007, San Francisco was the first city to ban the use of plastic bags at grocery stores now the entire state may follow suit. In the past few months, Bill AB1998 has been under review by the state of California. Arnold Schwarzenegger will most likely sign the bill if the State Senate passes it; the deadline is Friday, August 13, 2010 and if it not approved by then the bill will be dropped.


Components of California Bill AB1998
  • If passed, will take effect July 1, 2011
  • Ban plastic bags
  • Paper bags must be at least made form 40% post consumer waste
  • Customers requesting paper bags must pay at least five cents
So soon the saying of 'Paper or Plastic' may be a thing of the past. Although this bill will reduce the amount of plastic bag waste, other environmental factors in regards of paper bags must be considered. Let's take a look at arguments on both sides of Bill AB1998.
Pros 
  • Reduce plastic bag waste which take up to 1000 years to decompose
  • Shift Americans from the "throw away culture"
  • Supported by grocer's because they can charge for paper bags
  • Reduce petroleum use, which is a limited resource use to make plastic bags
Cons
  • Increase use of paper bags
  • Paper bags take up more space in landfill
  • Not supported by paper bag manufacturers because production must change to fulfill at least 40% post consumer waste requirement
  • Customers oppose because they may have to purchase paper bags
Overall, Bill AB1988 is sparking controversy amongst the California Senate, grocery stores, citizens, and paper and plastic bag manufacturers. It seems most cons stem from increased paper bags use when it fact the purpose of the ban is to promote use of reusable bags. In my opinion, the ban will initially increase the use of paper bags but once people become more accustom to reusable options then most of the cons will fade away. It will be interesting to see how this bill plays out on the political stage and whether it will be passed or not. Stay tuned to find out if "Paper or Plastic" will turn into "Paper or B.Y.O.B."- Bring Your Own Bag!

What is your take on the issue? Do think this ban is a positive or negative? 




External Links:
http://www.stateline.org/live/details/story?contentId=504112 
http://www.projectgreenbag.com/blog/2010/03/california-bill-ab-1998-seeks-to-ban-plastic-bags/ 
http://obrag.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/plastic-bag-no.jpg (image)

3 comments:

  1. I think they should ban plastic bags. Everyone should move towards re-usable grocery bags and this could make the push.

    Why i love shopping at Trader Joes.. put your name in a raffle when you re use bags!

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