Plastic Bags Banned in San Jose - Page 2
In addition to San Francisco, Palo Alto, Oakland, Malibu and Los Angeles Counties have approved similar measures to limit if not ban the use of plastic bags. Fremont, Sunnyvale, Marin, and Santa Clara Counties are in the process of considering either limits or bans on plastic bags as well.
Without a doubt, the issue is highly contentious, as evident in the many legal suits and subsequent threats of litigation volleyed by opponents to the restrictions and bans. It is a sign of illogical desperation when opponents argue that any form of restriction placed on plastic bags would compel consumers to use disposable, single-use paper bags.
While it is true that plastic bags have a lower carbon footprint and environmental impact than paper bags, it is also increasingly true that the popularity of reusable canvass bags has just about killed the logic of such pro-plastic bag arguments.
Besides, there are exemptions that protects the interest of certain businesses and institutions that, conventionally, rely heavily on the use of plastic bags.
Restaurants are allowed to continue to use plastic bags to pack and separate the processing and selling of foods that might lead to cross contamination. Nonprofit secondhand stores such as the Salvation Army are also exempt from the ban, because by their very nature, they are already encouraging consumers to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
The ban also doesn't prohibit sales or use of sandwich or trash bags. So there's no worry about how on earth any of us would put non-recyclable trash into our bins.
The point of the ban isn't to completely eliminated the production and use of plastic bags. Such an ideal would be both unrealistic and impractical. The aim is to remove the use of plastic bags wherever possible.
At the moment, retailers affected by the ban could face fines of $500 to $1,000 for violating the ordinance. No one likes paying fines, and fiscal penalties don't always work to generate the desired behavioral changes. Only time will truly tell if such legislation will create the desired effect of better stewardship of the environment.