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MORE LEFTIST PROHIBITIONS: Los Angeles County bans plastic bags

Posted by FactReal on November 17, 2010

At a time of economic uncertainty and high budget deficits, Los Angeles leftists have decided to impose new prohibition on its citizens and businesses. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted on November 16, 2010 to prohibit supermarkets and pharmacies in unincorporated county areas from giving out plastic shopping bags to customers.  The ordinance will also require stores to charge 10 cents per paper bag. 

The excuse for this prohibition: To “encourage” shoppers to use reusable shopping bags to “save” the planet. But this demonization of the plastic bag is based on flawed science.

Townhall reported:

Parts of Los Angeles County have joined other California communities in banning stores from using single-use plastic bags.

County supervisors approved the measure 3-1 on Tuesday in hopes of preventing billions of bags from polluting neighborhoods and waterways. It bans stores from giving customers single-use plastic bags and would require them to charge 10 cents for each paper bag.

The ordinance, which goes into effect next year, would apply to unincorporated parts of the county where an estimated 1.1 million people live. It does not include the 88 cities within the county, such as the city of Los Angeles, which is apparently looking at the county’s findings to craft its own proposed ban. […]

“This is just the beginning of a wave of bans against single-use plastic bags across California,” [Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, D-Santa Monica] said.

Read the ordinance: Plastic Bag Prohibition (PDF).

County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, the only one who voted against the ban, said mom-and-pop stores will be negatively impacted because they would not be able to buy large volume of paper and reusable bags. Antonovich also indicated that poor people will incur additional costs because they will have to buy bags for their lunch, for trash, etc.

“At a time of economic uncertainty, with a large number of businesses leaving our state and community, this would not be an appropriate time…to impose this additional regulation,” Antonovich said.

Velma W. Union, pastor at The Lord’s Church in southwest Los Angeles, said the supervisors seemed more concerned about saving the environment than people. “Opponents who spoke at the meeting urged supervisors to vote against the ban, saying it would cause residents to lose much-needed jobs and that the fees for reusable and paper bags would be an unfair burden on residents in poorer neighborhoods.”


Bag Monster (a.k.a. Andy Keller) happy
with the decision to ban plastic bags.
He will benefit financially.


Andy Keller (a.k.a. Bag Monster), president of ChicoBag, joined environmental groups to push for government bag bans.

But Keller doesn’t do it for altruistic reasons. According to Bloomberg, Keller stands to make huge profit by selling his reusable bags: “Despite lacking experience in manufacturing or distributing consumer products, Keller, a former software sales rep, launched a business to follow his hunch…By April 2005, he had patented the bag’s design, hired a Chinese manufacturer, and persuaded local retailers to carry his product. As sales picked up, he borrowed about $100,000 from his family, mostly to increase production.

His bet paid off. Last year, 30-person ChicoBag, in Chico, Calif., brought in $5.3 million in revenue, Keller says, and sales are up 14 percent year-over-year. As communities around the country consider banning single-use bags, he hopes that growth rate will hold steady in 2011. Today, some 3,500 retailers, including Whole Foods and outdoor gear retailer REI, carry ChicoBag products.”

The Times of London unmasked the flaws behind the plastic bag bans:

[S]cientists, politicians and marine experts attacked the Government for joining a “bandwagon” based on poor science.

Lord Taverne, the chairman of Sense about Science, said: “The Government is irresponsible to jump on a bandwagon that has no base in scientific evidence. This is one of many examples where you get bad science leading to bad decisions which are counter-productive. Attacking plastic bags makes people feel good but it doesn’t achieve anything.”

Campaigners say that plastic bags pollute coastlines and waterways, killing or injuring birds and livestock on land and, in the oceans, destroying vast numbers of seabirds, seals, turtles and whales. However, The Times has established that there is no scientific evidence to show that the bags pose any direct threat to marine mammals.

They “don’t figure” in the majority of cases where animals die from marine debris, said David Laist, the author of a seminal 1997 study on the subject. Most deaths were caused when creatures became caught up in waste produce. “Plastic bags don’t figure in entanglement,” he said. “The main culprits are fishing gear, ropes, lines and strapping bands. Most mammals are too big to get caught up in a plastic bag.”

He added: “The impact of bags on whales, dolphins, porpoises and seals ranges from nil for most species to very minor for perhaps a few species. For birds, plastic bags are not a problem either.”

The central claim of campaigners is that the bags kill more than 100,000 marine mammals and one million seabirds every year. However, this figure is based on a misinterpretation of a 1987 Canadian study in Newfoundland, which found that, between 1981 and 1984, more than 100,000 marine mammals, including birds, were killed by discarded nets. The Canadian study did not mention plastic bags.

Fifteen years later in 2002, when the Australian Government commissioned a report into the effects of plastic bags, its authors misquoted the Newfoundland study, mistakenly attributing the deaths to “plastic bags”.

The figure was latched on to by conservationists as proof that the bags were killers. For four years the “typo” remained uncorrected. It was only in 2006 that the authors altered the report, replacing “plastic bags” with “plastic debris”. But they admitted: “The actual numbers of animals killed annually by plastic bag litter is nearly impossible to determine.”

In a postscript to the correction they admitted that the original Canadian study had referred to fishing tackle, not plastic debris, as the threat to the marine environment.

Regardless, the erroneous claim has become the keystone of a widening campaign to demonise plastic bags.

Facts: Global warming is a hoax
Plastic bag laws via FL. Dept. of Environmental Protection
Mexico City passes plastic bag ban
California Senate had rejected the plastic bag ban (Sept. 2010)
California Gives Illegal Aliens In-State Tuition Rates

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