Blame The Thing – not the behavior. …again
S’FranFreakshow, Seattle, LaLaLand have “banned” the eeeevil plastic grocery bag. Yanno, the nice, free, convenient, sanitary bags you get to carry home your groceries, drugs, and other stuff.
The campaign to demonize them is so successful that I get The Sniff of Disapproval from the barely-employable grocery baggers who offer, “You want paper, right?” to which I respond “Oh, no. Plastic. For everything.” Then I get the sarcastic one-item-per-bag grocery-packing job. Which is fine with me — I have a collection at home against the time when those useful little bags are added to The List of Politically Incorrect/Legally Prohibited Products.
There is also an economic consequence:
The plastic-bag industry … says that the making of plastic bags supplies a livelihood to 30,000 hard-working, law-abiding, patriotic Americans, many of whom have adorable children to support.
J. O. B. S.
It cites a 2007 report [PDF linky - pg 29] by San Francisco’s Environment Department that said plastic bags from retail establishments, the target of the ban, accounted for only 0.6 percent of litter.
Also, according to the “Bag Litter Summary,” Plastic bags – retail is only 13.6% of the total “Bag Litter,” Plastic bags – not retail being 42.2%.
Misc. paper, “No brand name” paper towels, napkins etc [meaning napkins without a Burger King or MackyD's logo], newspapers/flyers/etc., and receipts/business forms and bus transfers make up 40.8% of the garbage in the streets.
So, of course, since some celebrity [who hasn't darkened the door of a grocery store in decades] said that one plastic bag may have choked one Adorable Sea Creature™, the PCKlownz are gonna make the plastic grocery bag illegal.
Warning of disease may seem like an over-the-top scare tactic, but research suggests there’s more than anecdote behind this industry talking point. In a 2011 study linky, four researchers examined reusable bags in California and Arizona and found that 51 percent of them contained coliform bacteria. The problem appears to be the habits of the reusers. Seventy-five percent said they keep meat and vegetables in the same bag. When bags were stored in hot car trunks for two hours, the bacteria grew tenfold.
[Also] washing the bags eliminated 99.9 percent of the bacteria. It undercut even that good news, though, by finding that 97 percent of people reported that they never wash their bags.
Especially if those bags are the plastic-over-woven-plastic or the weird-random-fiber bags that stores are selling now. Those would disintegrate and clog your wash machine.
Jonathan Klick and Joshua Wright, who are law professors at the University of Pennsylvania and George Mason University, respectively, have done a more recent study linky on the public-health impact of plastic-bag bans. They find that emergency-room admissions related to E. coli infections increased in San Francisco after the ban. (Nearby counties did not show this increase.) And this effect showed up as soon as the ban was implemented. … The San Francisco ban was also associated with increases in salmonella and other bacterial infections. Similar effects were found in other California towns that adopted such laws.
Butbutbut — Teh Adorable Sea Creatures™ !!!!!!111!!!!!!!…
Klick and Wright estimate that the San Francisco ban results in a 46 percent increase in deaths from foodborne illnesses, or 5.5 more of them each year.
But that’s just Human deaths — not Adorable Sea Creatures™.
They then run through a cost-benefit analysis employing the same estimate of the value of a human life that the Environmental Protection Agency uses when evaluating regulations that are supposed to save lives. They conclude that the anti-plastic-bag policies can’t pass the test — and that’s before counting the higher health-care costs they generate.
And again we are debating the Object – not the Behavior. I believe we already have Laws against Littering. Remember the whole Lady Bird Johnson/crying “Indian” thing? “Enforce those Laws?!? Ridiculous.” Kinda like enforcing the SFranFreakshow “Law” against poopin in the streets. “Ridiculous!” Even tho I suspect the majority of the litter and the poop comes from the same demographic…
It’s the old Nanny “If One Person can’t behave responsibly with The Object, No One can have The Object” thang. Ineffective in reaching the stated goal, effective in creating further problems to be “solved,” and effective in irritating regular citizens.