Wednesday, April 25, 2012

First They Came For The Plastic Bags...

A little while ago, over at the Humboldt Herald, there was some discussion of a local proposed ban on plastic shopping bags. I pointed out that the same people who propose banning plastic shopping bags often propose banning paper shopping bags, as well- Los Angeles is in the process right now of trying to ban both.

Well, just as with first going after the socialists, now they want to ban even more things with the San Jose City Council seeming pretty much determined to ban styrofoam food containers. My guess is the next target will be the #1 clear plastic cups many beverages are sold in. After that, who knows?

What's remarkable in all this is none of the proponents of these bans give a damn about how many manufacturing jobs will be lost as a result. Thousands of jobs lost just from the plastic and paper bag bans alone. I'm sure thousands more likely lost as more and more cities ban polystyrene. But that's ok, we're told, they can all switch to making other food containers...until we decide to ban that one.


At 8:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saving our environment is saving our future health. For each job lost, at least one is gained. Less of one product, more of another. This is great news. It's funny how I can count on Fred to drum up mostly good news every day, even if he doesn't see it that way. Keep on being an ol' curmudgeon Fred. The future is coming along with or without you.

At 9:27 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

For each job lost, at least one is gained.

Not true at all.

At 9:04 AM, Anonymous Ellin said...

I've wondered why big stores would go along with a bag ban because it will make it a LOT harder for their security forces to detect shoplifting if every product purchased goes into a private bag and everyone is hauling around a pile of big empty bags through the stores.

At 9:25 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

I wondered about that myself. Seems like a potential security problem to me.

I suspect it's because they already have a hidden charge for paper and plastic bags. Most places that institute plastic bag bans have the stores also charge extra for paper. That doubles the money they would get for paper bags.

Once the paper bags are banned, you'll probably still be paying the hidden charge, but you'll also have to buy reusable bags from them, or make your own.

That's the only reasoning I can come up with, although I have heard instances of stores supporting bag bans because they fear shoppers might pass up their store if they don't offer plastic.

Interesting, that argument: Ban the bags because people prefer them and if we don't offer plastic they'll go across the street to shop?

At 1:11 PM, Blogger beachcomber said...

I know we've had this conversation, Fred. I think you know that I'm not a fan of the bag ban, NOT because I like plastic bags, but because I hate single-use ANYTHING. But I hate laws like this equally - I don't think the ends justify the means. I totally disagree with you that keeping jobs at the risk of the planet is a viable argument. The people who may be working in a factory mass-producing the ubiquitous bag, will find another job making some other bargain-bin trinket that we also don't need and will probably throw away. Will we have a trinket ban as well?

Sometimes I wish our mandatory garbage collection (grrrr) took place monthly instead of weekly so people would have to live with the trash they create for a while. Perhaps they'd be more aware of the environment if their environment looked more like Hoarders.

We buy plastic bottles of water or take-out cups of soda with plastic lids and plastic straws, pop it all in a plastic bag, enjoy it with a cigarette, the entrails of all, even if they initially make it into a trash can, will blow back out to be collected on the trees or in the gutters to wash out to sea and beaches.

I applaud the merchants who choose NOT to offer plastic bags as an option and who encourage the use of reusable bags. Now if more people would just recognize that out of sight is not out of mind - just because you through it away, doesn't make it GONE.

At 1:50 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

You seem to forget that those plastic bags are frequently used more than once and they are recyclable, as are many of the things you're worried about.

As far as jobs go, if we eliminate every job where someone makes something that has an impact of some kind to the environment, the unemployment rates we have now will be nothing.

There is a definite problem with litter. We do need to work more on controlling litter.


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