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Wednesday, April 4, 2007

So Simple It's Overlooked

San Francisco is currently looking to mandate the use of biodegradable plastic bags in it's local stores. This would ban the use of the regular plastic bags most people are given by retailers when the shop. Is this a good idea? The problem points to a much bigger issue with our local and federal governments. This is that legislators don't seek the input of researchers and scientists when creating environmental legislation. They are looking for voter support instead of instituting real change. On the outset this plastic bag mandate seems like a good step forward however, it's based on old information and really only a band-aid not getting at the real problems.

Here are "FACTS" that show that bio-degradable bags cause many new problems inherent in their usage. In addition the banning of plastic bags outright causes stores to go back to using the paper bags which also contain many pollutants.

The answer is buy inexpensive reusable sacks and bags when shopping. Most of the time these bags are only necessary for grocery shopping. More commonly we use plastic bags to carry the items we bought from the store to the car parked only several yards away, this is unnecessary!!

Here is one of many sites where re-usable bags can be purchased.

On another note if you are a pet owner as I am, this brings upon a whole new problem. As a pet owner you should never throw out pet waste without first putting it in a bag that is tied. If pet waste is thrown out in newspaper or with the other garbage it gets mixed into the drinking water once it dissolves from the transition from garbage to landfill. I don't know if these bags advertised here will be subject to the same problems as other bio-degradable plastic bags, but until more information is available it seems like a good idea.

Here are some more articles to read about the San Fran Bag Ban & other disposal articles:
Bag Ban
Dog Waste
San Fran Eco
Film & Bag Fed
Good Audio Discussion Link

1 comment:

Fiona said...

Good point. I have always found a downside to a lot of the green "solutions" that are presented. Here in Australia, most supermarkets sell cheap canvas reuseable bags - it's turned out to be a good marketing scheme even (reuseable bags with their shop names on them). But they still offer plastic bags. I think a plastic bag ban with a focus on the alternative of reuseable bags is the best direction to take.