The Assembly Appropriations Committee voted YES to phase out single use plastic bags in Sacramento on Thursday, despite heavy industry opposition. The bill heading the movement, SB 270, is being promoted by California Senator Alex Padilla (D), and schedules the ban into effect July 1, 2015 for retail stores, and a year later for gas stations and liquor stores. In addition to banning use of plastic bags, a $0.10 fee will be imposed on paper bags. So not only is this guy enraging the chemists and plastics industry (who have sued small cities that attempted to independently pass this ban), now, he’s sending the American Forest and Paper Association into a frenzy. I just have to give a big congrats Mr. Padilla, I can imagine that it’s not easy for someone in an elected position to piss off that many rich people; it seems like he does what he feels is best for the people, not for his campaign. He would surely be taken out by Kevin Spacey ( it’s a House of Cards reference…fyi, awesome show).
Now you may ask where the money goes for the $0.10 ban? Well no where too exciting, the stores get to keep it. However, this tactic to reduce waste has been proven in Ireland- bag use was reduced by 90% when a similar fee was administered for bags.
So we Americans are pretty impulsive people, we like to see benefit of a change immediately, or we give up(which is most likely why our obesity rate is so high). So lets focus on some benefits: 1) We can now be more aesthetically pleasing while walking from stores and around town… you cannot deny the plastic bag is ugly; 2) We can now express ourselves through an extra accessory (you know those bags will get cooler and become trendy); 3) Men have an excuse to carry a bag with stuff in it (finally I will have room in my purse for MY stuff when out with my husband); 4) They are less likely to break and lessen the likelihood of egg and milk explosions; 5) Lastly, you will no longer have that wad of plastic bags taking over your cupboard space. Convinced yet? If not, just do a Google search of ocean plastic, look at the images of animals trapped in plastic, and that should do it!
Read my post on plastics if you want statistics and details about environmental and health impacts of plastic, but to summarize, all plastic is made from oil (and a shocking amount), chemicals released during production and chemicals leached from plastic are bad for the environment and the health of all living species, and almost all single-use plastic ends up in a landfill or in the ocean, where it does not biodegrade. The next step is following San Francisco’s lead in banning plastic water bottles; the US spends 16 Billion (with a “B”) dollars on bottled water a year while we have the cleanest municipal water in the world… and if you want to see all the reasons tap water is better than bottled, read my post and see my upcoming short film on that one too.