Ban of plastic bags will go before San Diego City Council

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plasticbags1Sometime later in 2014, the San Diego City Council plans to decide whether to pass an ordinance prohibiting stores from bagging customers goods in plastic bags. The debate has already begun. Those against the ban have stated it is just another way for businesses to squeeze more cash from those who have the least. Proponents proclaim the ecological impact of stopping the flow of non-degradable plastic to our refuse will be profound, and the economic impact on shoppers is negligible.

Supporters of the ban propose a goal of all shoppers buying re-usable bags. They claim the cost of the bags will be offset by the ten cent per visit discount (or avoidance of the 10 cent per use of paper bags penalty) for shoppers with their own bags. This discount would be included in the plastic ban ordinance.

Those who oppose any ban argue that passing the ordinance in the city of San Diego might force sales away to other cities in the county without such a law, Poway or Escondido for example. Supporters dismiss this position by asserting that when San Diego bans plastic the other cities in the metropolitan area will follow suit. The vote in San Diego is scheduled for August 2014.paperbags3

Currently in the U.S. 20 million people live where ordinances do not allow plastic bags, or require a penalty be paid when they are used. More than 130 separate government entities maintain one kind of law or another discouraging the use of plastic bags.

Away from those communities, 100 billion plastic bags are thrown out each year. The effect this has on littering and trash removal has prompted the three largest metropolitan areas in the country, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago to all pass bans on the use and sale of plastic carryout bags. In addition, a fee of 10 cents is collected on the use of paper bags.

Plastic bags were first introduced in the U.S. from Sweden in 1976. The bags were greeted with mistrust at first, but they have become ubiquitous.

plasticbags3This newest campaign to rid the country of them began here in California. The Golden State plans to become the first state in the union to pass a state-wide ban. The European Union is attempting to become the first nation or multi-national group to pass a plastic bag ban. Conversely Florida has issued bans against local municipalities passing bans on plastic bags.

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