Good News: PRC’s Plastic Bag Ban Failed, So, They’ll Try Again

As an environmentally conscience person (which is different from ‘climate change’) I do think humanity needs to be careful with plastic. I have a whole bunch of reusable bags for when I go to Lidl and Aldi. The plastic bags I get from WalMart, Food Lion, and sometimes others I reuse for a wide variety of things. Typically, I am getting a lot more when I go to them, and not that much at Lidl. There’s always Unintended Consequences when government gets involved, and even what’s left of the LA Times newsroom has noticed

California’s war on plastic bag use seems to have backfired. Lawmakers are trying again

unintended consequencesIt was a decade ago when California became the first state in the nation to ban single-use plastic bags, ushering in a wave of anti-plastic legislation from coast to coast.

But in the years after California seemingly kicked its plastic grocery sack habit, material recovery facilities and environmental activists noticed a peculiar trend: Plastic bag waste by weight was increasing to unprecedented levels.

According to a report by the consumer advocacy group CALPIRG, 157,385 tons of plastic bag waste was discarded in California the year the law was passed. By 2022, however, the tonnage of discarded plastic bags had skyrocketed to 231,072 — a 47% jump. Even accounting for an increase in population, the number rose from 4.08 tons per 1,000 people in 2014 to 5.89 tons per 1,000 people in 2022.

The problem, it turns out, was a section of the law that allowed grocery stores and large retailers to provide thicker, heavier-weight plastic bags to customers for the price of a dime.


He said the bags were made of 20% recyclable material and the manufacturers said they could be recycled at the end of their “useful life. … So we said, all right, fine. We’re gonna put that specific criteria into the law.”

“That experiment failed,” Murray said.

They were most likely made to be reusable. Lidl used to have that type, and I still have a bunch. But, they only last so long, so, they offer better ones, which I also have.

“Basically what happened is that plastic bag companies invented these thicker plastic bags that technically meet that definition of reusable but are clearly not being reused and don’t look like reusable bags and which just circumvent the law’s intent,” said Jenn Engstrom, CALPIRG’S state director.

Wait, the environmentally conscience citizens of the People’s Repulik of California aren’t reusing? Huh.

Now, California legislators are hoping to correct that error by passing a law that closes that loophole and bans those thick plastic bags offered at the checkout line.

I wonder how that will work out? Perhaps stores will start offering more paper bags again? Anyhow, it’s a pretty long piece, worth the read, but, as one of the people in the comments writes

I go to a grocery store in California. I buy meat wrapped in plastic, condiments in plastic containers, cottage cheese in a plastic bucket, toothpaste in a plastic tube, chips in a plastic bag, water or sodas in plastic bottles. Then, I pay for all this plastic with my plastic debit card while the clerk packs my items into the cloth bag I brought with me to save the planet from plastic.

Oops? And, yeah, there is way too much plastic being used. But, what’s the answer? What can be used?

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4 Responses to “Good News: PRC’s Plastic Bag Ban Failed, So, They’ll Try Again”

  1. Dana says:

    Here’s the money line:

    The problem, it turns out, was a section of the law that allowed grocery stores and large retailers to provide thicker, heavier-weight plastic bags to customers for the price of a dime.

    Translation: customers were choosing to use the plastic bags.

    Yes, the plastic bags don’t degrade in the landfill, but they’re convenient. When I have to bring in the groceries from Mrs Pico’s car, I can hang six, eight, maybe more of the plastic bags on my wrist and forearm, and bring in the groceries more quickly. Paper bags have to be supported from underneath, and that means, though they generally hold more than the single-use plastic ones, more awkward trips.

    Apparently the “we must preserve democracy” Democrats in the Pyrite State don’t like it when people’s democratic choices aren’t what they approve.

  2. Matthew says:

    But, but, but, didn’t we switch to plastic bags to save the trees? Yeah, that was the story, but paper bag production was never, ever going to deforest anything. Plus, plastic bags were stronger, cheaper, easier to make, ship, store and use. Plus, we all get to strut around telling ourselves that we’re saving the forest, yippee! Win, win, win, win, win, win!

    Nope, we’re tired of saving just the forest, we need to save the whole planet, so we have to ban the most popular and efficient method of transporting merchandise from the retailer to our homes ever devised in order to feel responsible again.

    Enter the reuseable bag! Surely this is bag perfection we can all feel super environmentally conscious about, and we’ll be able to see the results in the amount of plastic waste we see. Right?

    Nope, since we’re pigs and generally just allow our reusable bags to become giant foldable petri dishes of pathogens, everywhere the easily recyclable plastic grocery bag has been banned, we see an almost immediate, marked increase in foodborne illness. Also, because even though we produce a lot of plastic, and we’re pigs, the vast majority of plastics that are not recycled and end up in the waste stream and oceans come from Asia! Most of the companies that used to make our plastic bags just retooled to make plastic something else anyway, so the amount plastic in the waste stream only INCREASED!


    So, we spent all that “save the whales” time and legislative energy to get rid of the bad, bad paper bag, then the even worse bag that saved the forest (not), to end up just making ourselves sick! That’s it!? Not quite.

    Now the paper bag is making a comeback!

    Damn, we can’t win. Too bad all the durable efficient paper bag making machines have been scrapped or used as a boat moorings.

    Better luck next time suckers!

    We’re doomed

  3. JimS says:

    I have some of the reuseable plastic bags from Aldi that are over 10 years old and still serviceable. Since most of the stuff I buy is packaged and produce goes into those impossible to open produce bags, I’m not too concerned about bacteria. In either case, paper vs plastic comes down to virtue signalling.

  4. Brother John says:

    Being in politics means you never have to admit you don’t know what the hell you’re doing.

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