Editorial: Plastic bag makers in denial


Publisher’s note: This editorial is from the Oct. 17, 2014, Fresno Bee.

It’s a true if gruesome fact that chickens that have been relieved of their heads sometimes run around for a while before they quite realize their irreversible predicament.

That appears to be happening to the plastic bag industry. It would explain why it hasn’t figured out that the ubiquitous single-use plastic grocery bag has just suffered a killing blow. Its days are numbered.

The very day the governor signed a statewide ban on single-use grocery bags, Sept. 30, the industry filed papers to start the process for a referendum. If it qualifies by gathering enough signatures, it will delay the July 2015 implementation of the ban until it can be decided by voters during the November 2016 election.

Then, the industry will spend many millions of dollars to try to trick Californians into thinking that it’s a good thing that billions of single-use plastic bags are clogging up our storm drains and rivers, tangling up in our native flora, filling up the oceans and doing God only knows what other environmental mischief.

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Comments (9)
  1. Old Long Skiis says - Posted: November 10, 2014

    Plastic bags are not single-use. Yes, they are if you throw them in the trash after unloading your groceries.
    But they have many other uses other than just brining home your latest purchase.
    Use them to line your wastebasket, putting dirty clothes in your suitcase when your on an out of town trip,a bag to put weeds or dead plants from the garden before you put it into your compost pile, a bag to put your mail in when you go to the P.O. and of course a bag to put the dog and cat poop.
    Thats just some of what I use them for. OLS

  2. Dogula says - Posted: November 10, 2014

    Agreed, OLS. Many of us use those bags for many things. So now we’ll be buying rolls of plastic bags from the grocery store instead. . . legislative logic.

  3. legal beagle says - Posted: November 10, 2014

    “Filling up the oceans and God only knows what other environmental damage” to quote the Frantic Bee.
    Good thing they don’t exaggerate or stretttcccch the truth. If the Frantic Bee prints it, it must be true, NOT.

  4. Naqoyqatsi says - Posted: November 10, 2014

    @legal-are you suggesting that if the Fresno Bee prints it it must be not true?

  5. Cranky Gerald says - Posted: November 10, 2014

    We really don’t have a plastic bag problem….we have a dumb people problem. It is so sad to have a state law that would not be needed if dumb people would simply NOT let stray garbage loose in the environment.

    Plastic bags are over used, and the fact you put your dog poop in them does not justify their proliferation if you do not see to their disposal in a sane way.
    Charging for the plastic bags would make more sense and cut the volume back.

    Plastic degrades in the environment into smaller flakes, and they do indeed clog filters, and wind up in some incredible places. I have worked extensively in remote places here and out of the country.

    One of the most disgusting things I have ever seen was a river draining through a rather small town in Mexico. Plastic bags and water bottles literally lined the three miles of the drainage I walked.

    It is not too different in many parts of the US. People are not at all averse to tossing trash out of cars, off their bikes, just anything to make it get out of their space and into someone else’s.

    This has been written in these pages before, but when I walk the trails in Tahoe, every day I see pet crap ensconced in its own little baggie AND DROPPED IN THE WOODS. What are these freaking people thinking? Instead of degrading in a few days naturally, crap lies for years in plastic under a sage brush plant. Sometimes there will be 4 or 5 all in one place, which is even more stupid.

    The “deposit” program on soft drink bottles does not work. Nobody cares.

    We over-package (in Plastic) a huge proportion of everything we buy. The bubble plastic stuff Costco and many other big box types uses is not only difficult to undo, but incredibly wasteful.

    I believe we don’t have enough regulation and penalties for trashing our world as we do. Regulate the people not the bags.

    Yes, I know we recycle, but I think a system where the refuse plastic was never made in the first place would be best, because many people will continue to throw in directly into the environment, because proper disposal is inconvenient.
    Recycled plastic is not of the quality of the original plastic in any event, and people often shun it because it doesn’t work, is not as strong etc.

    Much plastic is from oil sources with hydro carbons we do not really need fouling the world for the sake of convenience only.

    In a related but slightly different vein, last week I walked from Pioneer trail to the top of High Meadows road by the elementary school. I don’t often walk paved roads, and a significant situation unfolded before my eyes. I counted about a hundred cigarette butts on only one side of the road in approximately 3/4 of a mile. Very few were stubbed or crushed, just thrown into the forest duff at the side of the road, and one can easily believe, still smoldering.

    Only a matter of time before one ignites the woods and we are losing homes again. Anybody remember the gondola fire.

    Ok, I can’t wait for the rebuttal rants.

  6. KATHY says - Posted: November 10, 2014

    For starters ,People that are on Welfare,or are disabled do not have to pay for paper bags ,Just show your cards and you get them free in any store,Plastic bags did come in handy for many uses, All I can say if you are saving five cent or ten cents ,do so ,I look at it as saving pennies as much as people say they are having a hard time, I forget sometimes to take in a bag into the store, It is funny ,but you can save ,you really can.

  7. Old Long Skiis says - Posted: November 10, 2014

    Cranky Gerald, I think you summed up things pretty well in regards to plastic bags!Plastic bottles are even worse as for as a degradeable product. They can be reused for variuos other uses with a little thought!
    Cut off the bottom half of a plastic water bottle, drill a few holes in the bottom and you,ve got a windowsill planter for some flowers or herbs.
    Plastic is going to be with us for a VERY long time. So my advice is to use what you buy that comes in plastic and to use it in creative ways.
    Remember what Dustin Hoffman was told in the movie
    “The Graduate”, “It’s all about plastic”. I’m no lover of this acrylic oil based substance, but I’m afraid we,re stuck with it, or it’s stuck on us!!! OLS

  8. go figure says - Posted: November 10, 2014


  9. Hmmm... says - Posted: November 11, 2014

    Perhaps Joann Conner can find employ as a lobbyist for the plastic bag industry.