Friday, October 14, 2011

Is the Plastic Bag Ban in Pasadena Taking it Too Far?

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“No civilization in human history has collapsed for a lack of a means to convey small goods to their abodes,” Ellis Sterling said in an article for the Los Angeles Times. “However, civilizations have failed for abusing their environment and depleting their resources.”

Is it really going to kill people to remember to grab a few reusable bags into a grocery store when they go out and shop? Reusable bags not only cut out the 130 non-biodegradable plastic bags that one uses during a year, according to the Earth Resource Foundation, but they save you five cents per bag every time they’re presented at the register. The question shouldn’t be, is the plastic bag ban in Pasadena taking it too far, but it should be, why didn’t anyone think about banning plastic bags sooner?

There is absolutely no benefit to using plastic bags other than the mild convenience of not having to take bags with you into the store. It’s complete and utter laziness compared to the fact that plastic bags are continuing to demolish the availability of our natural resources, and the damage the environment from the extraction of petroleum used to make in the hazardous production and pollution.

Plastic bags take up to 1,000 years to decompose on land and 450 years in the water, which someone who isn’t probably going to last more than 100 years, should be ashamed of. So many marine animals and birds end up dying from being entangled or chocked with the chemical ridden plastic bags because people somehow convinced themselves that magic plastic fairies whisk the 500 billion plastic bags used each year and hide it in some other realm.

Plastic bags aren’t helping anyone. They’re reused by some as small trash can liners or lunch-pails a few times, but then they get a few holes in them and they stay buried in the ever growing landfills for the rest of our and our many future descendants’ natural born lives.

All it takes is to grab a few reusable shopping bags the next time anyone needs to buy beer and an emergency bag of Oreos to help save our planet from being overrun with trash. And the ban, which will take place within 60 days, and that requires grocers, convenience stores and vendors to stop offering plastic bags and to charge 10 cents for paper bags isn’t cruel and unusual punishment. It’s taking initiative on something that should have been done a long time ago.


  1. So in Pasadena it is okay to have a corrupt Police Department, a Mayor and City Council that will sell the city out to both the NFL and any developer that wants to build a "mixed use" building with taxpayer money but you, the common folk, have rigid laws that require to use a filthy re-usable bag made in China of God knows what to bring home groceries. The science on this issue is clear, plastic grocery bags take less room in landfills and are made from the gasses you see burning off at refineries. It is MUCH better for the environment to use these bags. If you want to stop the bags from piling up on the streets evict the homeless they are the ones leaving them there. Everyone I know uses these bags at least one more time before properly disposing of them.
    So when we see plastic bags on the street remember that you your city council person has let you down by passing another ineffective law that accomplishes nothing.
    Good job morons. Sorry I don't have enough bribe money for you next campaign, maybe that could have convinced you not to enact this ban.
    Oh,one more thing La Canada is near by. I think I'll do my grocery shopping there from now on...

  2. Part I ( < 4096 characters)

    1. I have not spoken to 1 person in favor of the ban.
    2. Since finding out about the unpublicized council meeting and vote, I have driven through and around Pasadena every day and have seen 6 or 7 plastic bags on the side of the road. This amounts to about 1/1000th or less of the total weight and volume of other litter I have seen.
    3. People pick through the recyclables and tear open trash bags in the bins every single trash morning on my street. The rarely seen bags in local neighborhoods are most likely the result of such activity. And I am sure the majority of the bags in places like the Arroyo are from homeless encampments. I visited the Arroyo one evening for some photography and felt my life was in danger with the people I saw roaming around there. I don't know if they were homeless, but they certainly weren't the type to pick up after themselves.
    4. I don't believe for 1 second most of the "facts" presented at the council meeting. They want me to believe that 12 to 25 percent of the street sweeper content is plastic bags. And some ridiculously large percentage of our landfill volume as well. You expect me to believe this. With some compression, 12 weekly plastic grocery bags could be folded into a volume approximately the size of a wallet. This is a very very small percentage of the total amount of trash that goes out each week.
    5. After the wind event we had a few months ago, a plastic bag got stuck in my backyard Azalea bush. I left it there. It is now almost completely disintegrated. It is no longer possible to tell it is a plastic bag. 450 years? Really? Or another lie ( or severe misrepresentation of facts) by environmental groups?
    6. I have been using cloth bags for a couple of years when I remember them and when it makes sense. Now chicken goes in with the fresh veggies. Are the city council going to pay for my medical bills when I get sick? And now when I don't bring enough cloth bags, I have to waste a tree.
    7. I have now shopped a few times in Monrovia. I have 3 cats and reuse the plastic bags to dispose of their waste in a sanitary way. My stash of plastic bags is down to a two week supply. I will be doing almost all my shopping outside of Pasadena now to keep up my household plastic bag supply.
    8. There were indications in the council meeting or in the exhibits that the recycling plants don't like handling the bags. If this is the case, tell the residents the bags can go in the trash and not the recycling bin. Or suggest that it is preferred to have the bags brought to the recycling boxes outside the grocery stores. I would have done that instead of putting them in my household recycling bin if I knew that was preferred. ( Because of their reuse for cat litter disposal, only bags with holes in the bottom went in my recycling bin).

    More to follow

  3. 9. I have seen over and over, two problems at stores that could reduce the use of plastic bags without a ban. One is that they like to puncture the bottoms of the bags, I guess to keep the bags in place while packing. But this drastically weakens the bag, reducing the amount of items that can safely be put in the bags. Second, even in a punctured bag, they place much less weight in the bag than it can carry. If the baggers were properly trained, I bet there could be a 30% or 40% reduction in bag use.
    10. I have seen multiple references that the plastic bags are made from an oil industry waste product. I don't know if this is true. If so, it is one less reason for the ban.
    11. If hundreds of turtles were dying every year by getting tangled in them ( what the exhibits at the council meeting were implying), I would think they would be washing up like crazy at the beaches. I've never seen a turtle washed up at a beach. But if I did, I doubt it would be wrapped up in a plastic grocery bag. Reminds me of plastic 6-pack can holders. I still cut mine up before disposal because of the ( probably fake ) reports of seagulls dropping like flies with their heads stuck in them. I've seen hundreds of dead seagulls. But never one with its head stuck in a plastic 6-pack holder. I guess I need to live at a landfill to see such a thing.
    12. I try to minimize my environmental footprint whenever I can. Each week my green and blue trash bins account for 70% or more of my trash. But with the government sticking their fingers into my life more and more every single day, this ban is just a another case of Americans losing their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.


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