When it comes to Government legislation I don’t tow any particular party line. I like to look at each situation individually and make up my mind. That means I may end up voting against implementing something like a smoking ban in bars (even though I think the habit is beyond disgusting) because I don’t feel my it’s my right to make a private business owner do things my way and I can always opt out of bar hopping if I want to limit exposure right? If I lived in California I would have voted yes on Prop 37 though, which would have forced food companies to label GMOs in their products because we ALL have a right to know what we are eating. No company should be able to be “mysterious” about food ingredients.
On both sides of issues like these you see the push for doing what is right, what is moral, and what is healthy for everyone. On the flip side you hear about how jobs will be lost and costs will go up when companies go under or pass the buck on to the consumer. All of it has to be considered and weighed carefully. We also have to be able to see when the arguments coming out of one of the camps are compete and utter horse crap (as in the case of those arguing against Prop 37). Sometimes people and planet HAVE to come before profit if we want to lead our children into a better world.
This is how I feel about plastic bags bans. I am for them in every instance.
Plastic bags present a huge planetary problem and the solution (a reusable bag) is so easy that it makes no sense not to do something NOW. These bags are ending up in our oceans and killing marine life. Birds and other animals (wild and domestic) can also ingest them and die because they are everywhere. It is estimated that many cities around the world are spending millions of dollars each year just to manage plastic bag litter because the patrons who use them are too lazy to make sure they end up being recycled or even taken to a landfill. They do property damage when they cause traffic accidents on the road or they get sucked in boat engines. They require lots of natural gas or oil to manufacture too. They are wasteful all around and an eyesore to look at, and let’s face it plastic bag litter is a problem everywhere.
I don’t want us to live in a nanny state any more than you do but I think we (as a race) have already shown that we cannot handle the responsibility of plastic bags and since they are plastic and likely to be around long after we have left this earth do we really have a right to use them and impact the planet and future generations in such a way? I say no. It’s time to ban them.
This great Pros and Cons chart from Factory Direct Promos makes the argument better than I ever could.
Reusable bags are a viable option for this problem. They cost very little and they last for a long time. Everyone can put on their big boy pants and big girl panties are start carrying their own bags to the store. There are no valid argument for why they shouldn’t have to…at least in my mind.
Which brings me to bag ban activism. Many cities are catching on to the fact that this legislation is sorely needed and the aforementioned company, Factory Direct Promos, has an awesome Plastic Bag Ban Map that helps keep you up to date on the latest legislation so you can help support this movement. It shows where they have been passed and where they have failed. It also shows where bag fees have been initiated instead. I have no problem with charging for plastic bags instead of banning them. Both are a step in the right direction…fewer plastic bags being consumed!
Until some of these initiatives reach our neck of the woods we can also do our part by using cloth bags ourselves and by gifting them to others so that they too can get with the program. One of my fave products is a cloth basket that fits inside a shopping cart and eliminates the need for bags altogether. Here are two in use by me and my family at Whole Foods…
We just put them inside the shopping cart when we arrive and then fill them as we shop. Everything goes onto the belt for scanning and payment and then everything is just put back inside the baskets. They come out of cart by using the handles and they go inside the trunk and are carried in the house just as they are. So easy!
If these are too pricey there are numerous affordable options on the market. There are even some that take the place of the produce bags that you put your loose apples, green beans, and mushrooms in. They are called EcoBags. Love them!
All of these make great gifts or products for yourself. It is important to use them and show others (including our own families) that it is important to do our our part to reduce plastic bag usage and pollution. The bag problem is just too big to ignore and until more people own this issue I will support bag bans and bag fees at every turn. I hope you will too!
This post is part of the Give the gift of a Plastic-Free World This Holiday and Join the Plastic Bag Ban Movement! blog carnival. Enjoy!
Monday, December 10th, 2012