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Monday, April 2, 2012

Another Bag Ban

Posted by on Mon, Apr 2, 2012 at 10:19 AM

Now that Seattle and three other cities in Washington State have successfully banned plastic bags and referendums have failed to materialize on the ballot, it sends a signal to other cities. "The Issaquah City Council is voting on a ban on plastic bags tonight," says a notice from Environment Washington. "Public testimony will take place beforehand, with many interested parties planning to speak. This would make Issaquah the fifth city in the state to ban plastic bags." The Issaquah City Council convenes 7:30 p.m. to discuss a measure that more or less replicates rules that take effect in Seattle on July 1:

Seattles new bag rules starting July 1
  • Seattle's new bag rules starting July 1

It's baggism! The council members are baggists! Plastic bags are a civil right! We have other priorities!

"Talk about a distraction," writes Bryan Weinstein in a letter to the Issaquah Press. "What next — unicorns and ponies?" Personally, Bryan, I will draw the line at banning unicorns.


Comments (56) RSS

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Cato the Younger Younger 1
Oh goodie, more political theater to distract us from more pressing issues.
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on April 2, 2012 at 10:26 AM · Report this
Seems like a waste of time
Posted by Seattle14 on April 2, 2012 at 10:36 AM · Report this
Kinison 3
You know, if you dont own a car and the wife does zero shopping and you have to haul anywhere from 4-6 bags of groceries home once or twice a week, paper bags are absolutely useless, especially when its raining.

City wants people to not use cars, but plastic bags are what makes carrying large amounts of groceries home.
Posted by Kinison on April 2, 2012 at 10:41 AM · Report this
See above Cato for a basic troll tactic: "Your cause/action isn't as important as something else (I'm not even going to bother to name.)"

"Why aren't you fulminating for Better Cause (to be named later)?"

Because it's impossible to fight for more than one cause at time -- in tiny conservative minds, that is.

Cato is off to fight against Female Genital Mutilation in Africa instead, right?

Or something. Or not.

By the by, plastic bags in stores have been banned in my city for several months now. No big whup, we either bring our own reusable bags, or spring a couple a pennies for a paper bag.

But to trolls It's the Worst Thing Evah to be inconvenienced that way! To attack their freedom to use plastic bags! No matter how environmentally egregious they may be!

It's the Whiny Baby party in action.
Posted by judybrowni on April 2, 2012 at 10:42 AM · Report this
Dominic Holden 5
@1) Think of the unicorns we could be banning instead, amirite?
Posted by Dominic Holden on April 2, 2012 at 10:44 AM · Report this
Posted by digitalwitch on April 2, 2012 at 10:48 AM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 7
@5, I know!! Unicorns like increased bike lanes, increased bus service, maybe penalize SUV owners in Seattle. CRAZY imaginary stuff that has a far bigger impact on the environment than plastic bags.
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on April 2, 2012 at 10:49 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 8
Every time you buy a plastic bag, a unicorn gets its wings.
Posted by Will in Seattle on April 2, 2012 at 10:56 AM · Report this
care bear 9
@3 If you have to walk with your groceries, reusable shopping bags are way better than plastic bags anyway.
Posted by care bear on April 2, 2012 at 11:00 AM · Report this
@9 For the troll-killing win.
Posted by tiktok on April 2, 2012 at 11:07 AM · Report this
Oh here we go: "I'm too stupid to figure out how to get my groceries home without plastic bags, like people did for decades before plastic bags!"

Okay, you poor developmentally-disabled person, here's the common sense advice you apparently couldn't figure out on in your own little noggin: buy reusable bags, which can bought for as little as $1. (Trader Joe's are both cool and very functional.

Two more words for you: grocery cart. The folding kind, which can either be put in the trunk of your car, if you have one, or taken on the bus.

Posted by judybrowni on April 2, 2012 at 11:08 AM · Report this
Cato wins the column for Recurring Troll Antics: "There can only be one action on an issue at a time, 'cause I can't imagine fighting on more than one front at a time!"

Apparently not a multi-tasker, our Cato.

Posted by judybrowni on April 2, 2012 at 11:15 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 13
Actually, at the PCC in Fremont, most people bike or walk to the store, not drive.

Which makes the mechanics of bag choice quite different.
Posted by Will in Seattle on April 2, 2012 at 11:31 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 14
I just re-use the plastic bags.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on April 2, 2012 at 11:34 AM · Report this
Fnarf 15
@4, your indignant response begs the question whether banning plastic indeed counts as a "cause", or whether it's a waste of time.

The fact is, plastic bags make up an infinitesimal part of the plastic waste stream, and banning them accomplishes nothing but making proponents feel like they're "saving the environment" when in fact they are doing nothing of the kind.

It's a symbolic gesture, not a real one, and it makes real action less likely, not more.

It's the Smug Ignoramus party in action.
Posted by Fnarf on April 2, 2012 at 11:49 AM · Report this
#13, no not really. I have a friend who has biked to the grocery store for decades: guess what?

Reusable bags perhaps more convenient than plastic, for a variety of reasons.

I walk or bus to the grocery store: a grocery cart and/or resusable bags are actually much easier to deal with than plastic -- especially for multiple bags.

There are several sizes of inexpensive customer-use light-weight wheeled (and folding) carts available: small to large.

Ralph's grocery store sells the larger ones in Los Angeles, call around, it's likely a store in your neighborhood stocks 'em. But otherwise, Google is your friend.
Posted by judybrowni on April 2, 2012 at 11:52 AM · Report this
Troll Invert Logic alert! "This action isn't as significant as another action -- so it's impossible to take one action while also taking action on another action!"
Posted by judybrowni on April 2, 2012 at 11:56 AM · Report this
Demetria 18
I support an extra fee or tax on the smug enviro-shoppers who carry all their organic foods and reusable bags in an air polluting motor vehicle.
Posted by Demetria on April 2, 2012 at 11:59 AM · Report this
@17, the point is, this action isn't significant at all.
Posted by gloomy gus on April 2, 2012 at 12:01 PM · Report this
Zebes 20
Oh, okay, okay. So we're supposed to have our cops out stopping innocent merchants from doling out plastic bags instead of on the streets and actually stopping crime, is that it? Is that really our priority, Seattle?

When your iPod is getting jacked because the police are too busy shaking down the li'l ol corner produce stand for illegal bags, you'll have only yourself to blame, you bike-riding environazis.
Posted by Zebes on April 2, 2012 at 12:11 PM · Report this
Republicans and so-called "conservatives" always accuse the other side of their own sins: they're master projectionists.

And the true, "Smug Ignoramus party in action."

"The Myth of the Free Plastic Bag

The production of plastic bags requires petroleum and often natural gas, both non-renewable resources that increase our dependency on foreign suppliers. Additionally, prospecting and drilling for these resources contributes to the destruction of fragile habitats and ecosystems around the world.

The toxic chemical ingredients needed to make plastic produces pollution during the manufacturing process.
The energy needed to manufacture and transport disposable bags eats up more resources and creates global warming emissions.

Phase 2: Consumption Costs
Annual cost to US retailers alone is estimated at $4 billion.
When retailers give away free bags, their costs are passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices.

Phase 3: Disposal and Litter Costs
In a landfill, plastic bags take up to 1,000 years to degrade. As litter, they breakdown into tiny bits, contaminating our soil and water.

Collection, hauling and disposal of plastic bag waste create an additional environmental impact. An estimated 8 billion pounds of plastic bags, wraps and sacks enter the waste stream every year in the US alone, putting an unnecessary burden on our diminishing landfill space and causing air pollution if incinerated.

When plastic bags break down, small plastic particles can pose threats to marine life and contaminate the food web. A 2001 paper by Japanese researchers reported that plastic debris acts like a sponge for toxic chemicals, soaking up a million fold greater concentration of such deadly compounds as PCBs and DDE (a breakdown product of the notorious insecticide DDT), than the surrounding seawater. These turn into toxic gut bombs for marine animals which frequently mistake these bits for food.

Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales and other marine mammals die every year from eating discarded plastic bags mistaken for food. Turtles think the bags are jellyfish, their primary food source. Once swallowed, plastic bags choke animals or block their intestines, leading to an agonizing death.

On land, many cows, goats and other animals suffer a similar fate to marine life when they accidentally ingest plastic bags while foraging for food."…

Plastic bags are killing us
The most ubiquitous consumer item on Earth, the lowly plastic bag is an environmental scourge like none other, sapping the life out of our oceans and thwarting our attempts to recycle it.

According to the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation, more than a million birds and 100,000 marine mammals and sea turtles die every year from eating or getting entangled in plastic. The conservation group estimates that 50 percent of all marine litter is some form of plastic. There are 46,000 pieces of plastic litter floating in every square mile of ocean, according to the United Nations Environment Programme. In the Northern Pacific Gyre, a great vortex of ocean currents, there’s now a swirling mass of plastic trash about 1,000 miles off the coast of California, which spans an area that’s twice the size of Texas, including fragments of plastic bags. There’s six times as much plastic as biomass, including plankton and jellyfish, in the gyre. “It’s an endless stream of incessant plastic particles everywhere you look,” says Dr. Marcus Eriksen, director of education and research for the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, which studies plastics in the marine environment. “Fifty or 60 years ago, there was no plastic out there.”…

3, 2, 1 for the next Troll Meme: Facts are Inconvenient!

"Whichever factual sources you quote are unacceptable, if I don't like them, or can find a rightwingnut source funded by rightwingnut billionaires to promote the contrarian illogical."
Posted by judybrowni on April 2, 2012 at 12:21 PM · Report this
Troll memes abound in this comment thread:

"Something impossible I dreamed up (i.e. the police will arrest for plastic bags) subverts the usefulness of this action.

"It's insignificant, if I say so."
Posted by judybrowni on April 2, 2012 at 12:23 PM · Report this
Seattle is really going to be an olfactory treat next time I'm back there with the people carrying around filthy reuseable shopping bags and the once every two weeks trash pickup!
Posted by WestSeven on April 2, 2012 at 12:26 PM · Report this
#18 goes for a combo Troll meme!

"Impossible thing I suggest/one action means other actions can't be taken!"

Really, boys? You've got nothing better to do, than to fight environmentalism, on whatever level?

Posted by judybrowni on April 2, 2012 at 12:28 PM · Report this
By the way, if something spills in 'em, I've washed it off my reusable bag.

But trolls and common sense just don't mix.
Posted by judybrowni on April 2, 2012 at 12:31 PM · Report this
#18 oops, forgot the Troll Projection meme.
Posted by judybrowni on April 2, 2012 at 12:34 PM · Report this
@15- that is just fucking stupid. of course banning plastic bags isn't going to save the one believes this one action will do so. That does not mean it is not worth doing. It begins setting normative behavior. Could you have imagined curbside composting or recycling/separation bins in fast food restaurants even a short time ago?

When I lived in the UK in the late 90's plastic grocery bags cost 3 pence. Not a huge deal, but enough so that there was an incentive to grab a few from the bundle we kept by the front door on the way to the shops. For 10 of us living in this house, I'm sure we used maybe a total of 30-40 bags in a year, and when we did spring for a new bag, we would try to get good ones, from Food Giant, Iceland, or Tesco.

Posted by Chris Jury on April 2, 2012 at 12:39 PM · Report this
Oh Chris, the so-called Conservatives have also argued against composting, recycling and every other environmental action of the past 40 years with exactly the same non-factual troll memes.

Change of any sort that might be helpful to people or the world scares the big babies.

Only "significant" mean-spirited change earns their approbation -- blowing things and people up, trashing the planet, taking food from the mouths of the poor, sniffing panties and poking their way into women's uteri, and so on and so forth.
Posted by judybrowni on April 2, 2012 at 12:51 PM · Report this
Kinison 29
@6 "@3: Non-disposable bags exist. No, seriously, you use them once...and then you use them again!"

Except I don't make it a habit of bringing with me, 4-6 cloth bags everywhere I walk (again, don't own a car). My satchel bag will be used mostly to carry cloth bags.
Posted by Kinison on April 2, 2012 at 12:51 PM · Report this
Trolls and commonsense: never together.

Sigh. While no one will force you (honest!) to carry 5-6 bags with you "everywhere" (and why in the world would you?), there are reusuable bags that fold down to the size of a quarter (or almost), so you could do that nonsensical thing if you so wish!…

Or -- and I know this is going to sound radical and revolutionary and crazy -- you could just break out the 5-6 bags you already have ONLY WHEN YOU HAVE TO BUY A BUNCH OF GROCERIES!

Posted by judybrowni on April 2, 2012 at 1:07 PM · Report this
@29: How often do you decide to purchase 4-6 bags worth of groceries on the spur of the moment?
Posted by digitalwitch on April 2, 2012 at 1:15 PM · Report this
"World's Smallest Shopping Set, 4 bags

The lightest, most compact shopping bag set on the market. The entire set weighs just 5.3 oz and fits in your hand!

Each bag weighs just 1.3 oz yet holds 30 lbs+
Designed to fit over supermarket checkout frames"

They're on sale! They'll also sell you a single bag, if that's all you need/want.…

They're on sale! They'll also sell you a single bag, if that's all you need/want.

Or, honey, just lug the bags you already have (cloth is so heavy!) only when you're going out to buy a buncha stuff.

Posted by judybrowni on April 2, 2012 at 1:16 PM · Report this
Posted by judybrowni on April 2, 2012 at 1:21 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 34
@14 for the Reduce Reuse Recycle win.
Posted by Will in Seattle on April 2, 2012 at 1:29 PM · Report this
Wrong again.

Yet another "conservative" illogical troll meme.

Only 2% of plastic bags are recycled in the U.S.

And even if he is "reusing" those plastic bags tear apart after a couple uses. As I can attest from re-using plastic bags myself.

Guess what? -- bags constructed to be reusable, don't fall apart or tear readily.

You can "reuse" 'em for years!


Posted by judybrowni on April 2, 2012 at 1:38 PM · Report this
Judybrowni, unless you routinely stop at the grocery store on the way home from somewhere without a car, and unless you've got one of those silly canvas pouches in your pocket at all times, then you really need to shut the fuck up.

I am so sick of being lectured on "environmentalism" by gas-guzzling morons.

That said, I support the ban anyway. Paper bags are larger and sturdier than plastic, and I've never had them disintegrate on my way home in anything less than monsoon conditions. When I'm picking up a couple of bags worth of stuff and don't have time to head all the way home for my canvas reusables, 5 or 10¢ is not going to make or break me.
Posted by d.p. on April 2, 2012 at 1:43 PM · Report this
I don't have a car -- haven't driven in 30 years! -- I'm 62 years old, and heavens to Betsy!, I've survived the plastic bag ban in my city.

Because, I guess, I've used common sense.

You might try that, sometime.
Posted by judybrowni on April 2, 2012 at 1:47 PM · Report this
Sorry for the dig at the end, but I've actually found the reusable bags -- and the occasional paper bag I've had to buy when I didn't have 'em with me -- more convenient and easy to use than the disposable plastics.

And I'm sick onto death of being witness to over a half-century of "conservative" trolls and their specious, damage-causing arguments.

Posted by judybrowni on April 2, 2012 at 1:53 PM · Report this
JF 39
@37 How about his for a line of reasoning? I like to use plastic bags and will gladly accept the increased costs of good. They're convenient and the removal of them doesn't help anything except changing normative behavior as described in @27.
Posted by JF on April 2, 2012 at 2:04 PM · Report this
Fnarf 40
@37, and you have accomplished exactly nothing in so doing.

OK, maybe not quite "nothing", in the same sense that a fellow picking up pennies off the sidewalk is "saving for retirement". But your environmental impact is virtually nil -- and when compared to the drastic, unceasing increase in plastic use in every other aspect of your life, if you are anything like typical.

Another way to look at it is that giving up bags is like an alcoholic swearing off Geritol while still guzzling down a half-gallon of vodka a day.

And if you are not typical? Well, CONGRATULATIONS. But you do not counteract 300 million people who are, or should I say 7 billion who are. A solution that works for one person isn't a solution. And plastic use continues to skyrocket.

Shampoo bottle, aspirin bottle, coffee press, coffee cup x2, phone x2, phone cable, computer cable x4, monitor cable x2, network cable x8, network cable clip x16, mouse x4, keyboard, pen x12, battery cover from unknown device, compact disc x30, dvd disc x12, speaker x2, reusable grocery bag (yes), ring binder x6, folder cover x3, picture frame x5, watch crystal, key fob x2, radio, radio dial x4, stapler, fan blades x27, fan cover x9, backup tape cases x48, backup tape boxes x48, fire extinguisher nozzle, globe mounts, blind pulls x2, blind twister, HVAC thermostat, HVAC thermostat cover, storage bins x3, Xacto knife cover, USB stick, headphones, scanner, assorted wall jack parts, toy car, "I Love You This Much" figurine, clip-on name plate, rack-mountable wire guides x4, screwdriver handle x2, belt clip for lens cloth, library book jacket cover x3, correction tape gizmo, box of mounting squares, and that's just what I can see from where I'm typing this.....

Go to any Washington beach and start counting the plastic you find at the tideline and tell me that bags are significant part of it.
Posted by Fnarf on April 2, 2012 at 2:08 PM · Report this
#40 Blah, Blah, Blah.

Or rather: Troll Meme, Troll Meme, Troll Meme.

Posted by judybrowni on April 2, 2012 at 2:15 PM · Report this
@41, you're Will in Seattle's mom, aren't you?
Posted by gloomy gus on April 2, 2012 at 2:19 PM · Report this
Troll Meme: "You're someone I deem (unimportant, ridiculous, etc.")
Posted by judybrowni on April 2, 2012 at 2:57 PM · Report this
this is fucking stupid and i preemptively apologize to my building's maintenance guy for clogging the trash chute with all the fucking "large paper shopping bags" i'm going to be throwing into the trash.

plus the city owes me some cash for the extra plastic trash bags i'm going to buy to use as i throw out all their paper bags.
Posted by Swearengen on April 2, 2012 at 3:41 PM · Report this
Kinison 45
@29 How often do you decide to purchase 4-6 bags worth of groceries on the spur of the moment?

All the time. Seriously, in a year, I'll have half a closet full of cloth bags.

Oh and how many whales die on beaches with their stomachs filled with plastic bags?

Posted by Kinison on April 2, 2012 at 3:49 PM · Report this
I used to reuse my plastic grocery bags as trash bags -- and still had a closet full when the ban went into effect.

After which, It still took me months to get near the bottom of my closet, and there are still about a foot or two of 'em.

So, yeah, another troll meme exploded by actual real-life experience.

(Also: plastic shopping bags tend to leak and tear when used as garbage bags.)

And, of course, you could recycle those large paper shopping bags.

I also use mine to collect recyclables, wrap packages and recycle 'em (also used 'em to cover my books in grade and high school.)

If you're so clever as to reuse your plastic shopping bags as garbage bags, I imagine you could find ways to reuse -- or recycle -- the paper ones, as well.

But it's apparently more fun to pose as a stupid troll.

If it was a pose.
Posted by judybrowni on April 2, 2012 at 3:56 PM · Report this
If you can't even manage to plan ahead for buying groceries, ever, how in the hell are we supposed to trust your views on environmentalism?
Posted by judybrowni on April 2, 2012 at 3:58 PM · Report this
Hernandez 48
@45 - Why do you have to buy that many bags of groceries spontaneously? Do you have 12 children at home?

I walk to the grocery store too, so I'm adjusting to using only reusable bags in similar circumstances. If I'm heading there from home, I just grab some bags on my way out the door. If I'm coming from work, I have a reusable bag with a drawstring that balls up to less than the size of a baseball. All it takes is a little planning ahead with the grocery shopping and I haven't had problems.
Posted by Hernandez on April 2, 2012 at 4:00 PM · Report this
Well, I'm out the door with my (mini) shopping cart -- with a reusable bag tucked in -- so you boys who have been flummoxed by Big Bad Change will have to be flummoxed by all by yourselves.

Hernandez, I hand the common sense patrol over to you before this post scrolls off the page.
Posted by judybrowni on April 2, 2012 at 4:13 PM · Report this
@49, to be clear, I carry a reusable with me wherever I go, and buy the disintegrating garbage bags and all. I do like feeling responsible-ish, and certainly it's good to avoid getting the stinkeye from the birkenstocks.

Still, I don't kid myself it makes any difference to the actual problem. The actual problem, as opposed to the one between everyone's ears.
Posted by gloomy gus on April 2, 2012 at 4:20 PM · Report this
I guess I'll just have to drive my gas-guzzling pickup a little further north to shop at the stores that still have bags!
Posted by Reader01 on April 2, 2012 at 4:26 PM · Report this
Yes, yes, nothing makes any difference. (Except, of course, a lot of little action add up.)

But for instance, the air is cleaner where I live than it was decades ago -- although the trolls of the time claimed it was inconvenient nonsense to legislate for otherwise.

I'm happy with fewer particulates, but the people of Texas apparently think theirs are yummy.

The ancient Romans drank out of lead goblets, so bets are on there will be a troll trolling for one of his very own moments from now.

But for instance, the air is cleaner where I live than it was many years ago -- although the trolls of the time claimed it was all inconvenient nonsense to legislate otherwise.

Twas ever thus.

The ancient Romans drank out of lead goblets, so the odds are there will be a troll trolling for one of his very own moments from now.
Posted by judybrowni on April 2, 2012 at 4:52 PM · Report this
@52 I will bet you have never been to Texas to know what the air is like.
Posted by WestSeven on April 3, 2012 at 6:56 AM · Report this
Wow d.p. I routinely stop at places on my way home from work, because I don't have a car. I always have a reusable shopping bag on me any time I'm going to walk by a store (any time I go to the Metro or into a downtown neighborhood), and so does the DH. We have a bunch of bags, and keep one in our work bags, I keep one in my softball bag, he has one that fits in his pocket, I have one stashed in my office (I think the DH does, too), and we have a bunch of the ones that don't fold down to microscopic in our closet, for the real shopping trips. It's not hard to always have one on hand, as soon as you get used to putting them back in your bag/taking them back to your office after you use (or wash) them. Never have I needed more than one bag on the spur of the moment. Am *I* allowed to talk about how much better reusable bags are than plastic bags? Because they are...they don't hurt my fingers, I can carry more in them comfortably, they don't spontaneously rip spilling my stuff all over the ground, and I'm up $.10 every time I use one (bags aren't banned here, they're just $.05, and most stores give you a $.05 credit on top of not paying the fee if you bring your own bag). To boot, we accumulate plenty of plastic shopping bags for doggy duty (and then some) from our non-food shopping.

As for biking, a backpack is the only reasonable way to carry items on a bike. I don't even like bike baskets, because I'm constantly watching, waiting for something to fall out, when I should be watching the road/cars/pedestrians/stupid tourists.
Posted by Ms. D on April 3, 2012 at 2:06 PM · Report this
onion 55
@40 you have a point but some wildlife are much more likely to swallow a plastic bag than a backup tape case or a fan blade. Some wildlife are much more likely to get tangled in a plastic bag than in a coffee cup or a belt clip, etc etc.
Amount of plastic is only half the conversation here. It's curious that you omitted this issue from your rants and scowls.
Posted by onion on April 3, 2012 at 6:31 PM · Report this
Dear fellow Americans!

Please, ban the guns not bags

As George Monbiot said: "It's time to refocus; plastic bags are not the scourge of the planet, their biggest evil is to distract us from more pressing causes"


Posted by bag the ban on April 4, 2012 at 2:18 AM · Report this

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