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Plastic bag ban fizzles again in California amid heavy industry lobbying. What do you think?


Another effort in California to ban plastic bags failed in the Legislature late Tuesday night.

That measure, AB 1998, passed the Assembly in June and had the support of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger but faced a withering and well-financed advertising and lobbying campaign from the plastic bag manufacturing industry.


California would have been the first state in the nation to have a full ban on plastic bags, a goal some environmentalists have been pushing for years.

"I think we missed a great opportunity," said the measure's author, Julia Brownley (D- Santa Monica), as the bill failed another Senate vote just before 11 p.m.

What do you think? Share your views below.

Photo credit: Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (99)

Here the state is falling down over our heads and these bozo's are worrying about plastic bags ! What a disconnect ! Lets get people in there who can see the big picture.

@Mrwatchy i do not care how much it will cost to use the plastic bag i will have everything trippled bagged. I am antienviromentalist and will do everything in my power to show them who is the boss.

Good. I hope environmentalists will learn from this. The proposal had no protection for consumers, and you're never going to succeed unless you make it attractive to more people than just your small group. Resubmit this bill so consumers aren't left paying for paper bags during the worst recession in 40 years, and you might actually pass it. The lobbyists aren't the issue. The bill was unpopular with most regular citizens too.

This is ridiculous. Job killer? Bag factories can easily be retooled for other purposes, and plastic bags would still be available. Will 5 cents a bag really sink us economically? No. But it will help us change our habits and use less bags. For the people who say they re-use them, 5 cents for a bag you use for many purposes is a deal. The ACC are the real culprits in this .

"I think we're going to have a lot more polluted beaches and dead dolphins because of this failure."

Plastic bags have polluted no beaches and provide evidence that they have killed dolphins?

Goofy exaggerated green talk. Some of these Environmentalists wont be happy till only the rich can afford our modern way of life while the rest of us are forced to live a 18th century lifestyle.

Most people are not willing to give up their style of life without a large public debate and an ability to shape policy. I certainly dont trust a bunch of self-righteous Greenies to do what is best for all of us.

Plastic products in general are promoted by the PETROLEUM INDUSTRY, which is what plastic bags ARE MADE FROM. They keep gas prices HIGH. If plastic bags were made from HEMP, WHICH YOU CANNOT SMOKE any more than you'd smake a PLASTIC bag, THE BAGS WOULD QUICKLY DECOMPOSE IN THE ENVIRONMENT.


What is stopping us from switching from plastic to hemp bags, lowering gas prices and eliminating permanent plastic bag pollution?
1) THE PETROLEUM INDUSTRY, which wants as much plastic made from oil as possible, preferring to TRASH THE PLANET FOR PROFIT.
2) POLITICIANS, WHO WILL FIND EVERY EXCUSE IMAGINABLE TO STOP OR DELAY THIS SWITCH which would take production of unsmokable hemp products from the ILLEGAL column of "drugs" to the LEGAL column of SANITY.

Studies show that those people who use their own bags don't wash them enough. Recycled plastic grocery bags have made trash disposal much more sanitary than in the pre-plastic days. Rather than go head to head with the plastics lobby, grocers should offer biodegradable disposable bags alongside the plastic ones. I'll bet customers will take the "green" disposable bags if given a choice. The magic combination is biogradable + disposable.

I'm sure glad I don't live in Cali with all you psychotic nutbags. Do you guys realize how whacked out you seem to the rest of the country? Go fix your deficit problem instead of worrying about plastic bags!

Yes, let's find out who voted to kill this bill, and then vote them out of office.

The City of Santa Monica will go ahead with its ban of plastic bags, just like they did with styrofoam. Wild Oats markets have already banned them just fine, and they'll even give you a cloth bag if you spend a certain amount.

Talk about 'feel good'. It's convenient logic to think outlawing plastic bags will stratch the surface of our plastic/oil dependent society. Consider organizing a neighborhood cleanup and stop expecting the government to solve our problems. Or better yet, if you see a "bag in a tree", it the gutter, on the beach, etc., go ahead and pick it up. Make a real, direct and very personal difference. I'll join you and others will too.

Rather than the usual piling on to law-abiding citizens and business owners, how about hammering idiots who litter? Oh that's right, too difficult and not a soft target.

Shocked to learn my State Senator, Curren Price (District 26) voted AGAINST this bill and I will remember it next election.

"By 2010, the state was insolvent, putting employees on furloughs, unable to pay without IOU's, was axing money to education and allowing early release to some felons. The state's legislature and governor, however, supported by major newspapers with declining circulation, were trying to ban the use of plastic bags at grocery stores." From "Fiddling While Rome Burned: A History of Political Failures,3d ed. 2050."

Thank goodness some common sense finally prevailed in California! Going to paper bags would require the cutting down of millions upon millions of trees. And if the trees are not cut down in this country, then the forests will be devastated in other countries to meet demand, nations where there are no environmental laws whatsoever. It is amazing how myoptic most environmentalists are. Take for example the ethanol debacle. Time Magazine did a wonderful expose that demonstrated ethanol to be terrible for the environment since U.S. farmers in their economic interests devoted huge acreage to corn and hence restricted soybean planting such that enormous tracks of South American rain forest were bulldozed down and burned (massive CO2 release) to grow soybeans for export.

Moreover, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has stated that reuseable grocery bags are dangerous breeding grounds for bacteria and toxic molds including samenella, ecoli, etc. As one scientist stated after randomly selecting 2500 reuseable bags and examining the bacteria and molds found in them, "we are one outbreak away from people realizing just how dangerous these reuseable bags truly are." The CDC strongly recommends reuseable bags be washed by themselves once per week in hot water (bad for the environment and energy use) using detergent and bleach (bad for the environment). In addition, the energy consumed to make and transport reuseable bags is more than 10 times that for equal capacity of plastic bags.

People need to get the real story and do their homework instead of blindly following these causes that make no environmental or economic sense!

Now every time I see a plastic bag on a lawn, in someone's brushes or blowing down the street in traffic, I'll think of your spineless legislators.

Shame on them! Its plastic bags guys! We're not asking you to reinvent the wheel.

They were going to put a 5 cent charge for paper bags if this law passed, so why not just put the 5 cent charge on the plastic bags now and let the paper ones go for free. That would give the incentive to not use the plastic bags. The big question is, how hard can it be to make these bags BIO DEGRADABLE?? Look how fast the plastic components in your car disintegrate after just a few years.

What a shame! This really should be a non-issue - plastic bags are an unnecessary convenience.

Not only do I reuse the plastic bags for many different purposes, our grocery chain here in Alabama (Kroger) encourages shoppers to bring back the plastic bags for recycle.
All of this without some government bureaucrat "looking out for me."

I live in San Francisco. I was shocked at how many plastic bags line the beaches and hills in Los Angeles, and even more shocked to see people loading their cars up with hundreds of plastic bags. Makes me sick!

I am so sad to hear big industry won out over the environment once again. We could have set a benchmark for the nation! I refuse plastic and take my bags to the store every week. The person who commented about the 100's of uses for their plastic bags needs to consider that the pastic bag doesn't last forever and eventually ends up in a land fill or in the ocean... wanting to protect the environment is not a lefty-loons idea, it should be everyones goal!

To all those who are against the ban: your logic is flawed.

Most of you mention that we could just recycle or reuse the plastic bags and that should solve it. It sure would.... but.... in real life, people *don't* reuse them and *don't* recycle them, which is why we are where we are today.

We, the consumers, created the need for the ban. Bag companies created the bags, grocery stores and consumers created the demand.

I agree with Dakota. I thought this was a free country and we didn't have to buy into the environmental religion fever that has swept the country....
Protect the National parks, the Grand Canyon, the Sequoia's YES. Manage the rest of the lands so we can enjoy them and use the national resources YES. Reduce Smog (but don't keep changing the definitions of acceptable as we meet old goals). Yes
Pursue this crazy religion that is big on pomp and fundraising and religious dogma and always critically short on carefully vetted facts...no more then banning abortion because the Catholics feel it is a sin, banning gays because Baptists say it is a sin, banning Americans because Muslims say we are a sin.

To those who complain about the bags....get real...if you don't like them pick them up. If you don't want them in the ocean, set up screens to catch the trash before the river enters the ocean...LA does not have that many water flows into the ocean...catch all the foam cups and other trash too...

To paraphrase the pro choice people ...keep your paws off my body and my life.

Do deny an environmental impact is crazy. These plastic bags are everywhere, and especially in our ocean. Anecdotal evidence how you and others might reuse your bags is fine, but it seems for most people the bags just end up going everywhere in the environment.

I can't believe that some people's simplistic minds equate the environment with "lefty Loons"

How in the F is litter and the leftovers visible in the photo above political in any way?

These nuts are asking for you to let them take over in November. Really?

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