#SB270 Bag-Ban is Further Discussed

Posted by — June 18, 2014 1:35 pm

This morning as you were likely enjoying your cup of coffee and preparing for the day, the Appropriations Committee met at the State Capitol to discuss the future of the SB270 Bill. Opposition of this Bill was focused heavily around personal responsibility, consumer choice, and regulations.

Alex Padilla discusses beneficial aspects of SB270 Bag Ban. Photo credit: Senate Majority Caucus

Alex Padilla discusses beneficial aspects of SB270 Bag Ban. Photo credit: Senate Majority Caucus

One opposer argued that “the people have to choose whether they want to use plastic, a reusable bag, or nothing at all” and without choice, dictation and price fixing are being implemented. While Padilla reminds us that free markets cannot exist without regulation, we see the benefit in keeping competition around in an effort to prevent monopolies. In addition to regulation, a huge concern for the opposition was where the 10 cent “tax” was ending up. Because the grocery business is especially competitive -with very few at a 1% margin- a small amount would be added to the bottom line.

Padilla takes this opportunity to call out the oppositions “overblown scare tactics” and slippery slope argument. He shares his point of view by first explaining value statements and the greater public good that is being achieved by them. He emphasizes the priority of waste management policy for a “greater public good, [and stresses that by] decreasing the use of single-use plastic bags we will improve the environment.” Everyone is already familiar with the phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle,” but we must expand our ability to recycle, as less than 5% of single-use plastic bags in California actually get recycled efficiently. We must reduce non biodegradable content in our waste altogether and take personal responsibility for our impact on the environment.

Personal responsibility was also a concern voiced by the opposition. They believe that reusable bags will have the same fate as plastic -eventually making their homes in streets, landfills, and gutters. They make the assumption that people who throw plastic bags on the ground are going to continue to throw reusable bags on the ground. This slippery slope argument -that Padilla had earlier called out- is not effective because the simple act of acquiring a reusable bag is already making a stride towards a more environmentally concise lifestyle.

Andy Keller joins the conversation as he explains, “It’s a common industry tactic to blame the litter-bug for the pollution caused by single-use plastic bags, however the pollution is a result of an inherent design flaw in the single-use plastic bag, which is it’s ability to become windblown litter despite proper disposal. These bags blow out of trash cans, recycle bins, and even the landfill, creating an issue that the plastic bag industry has refused to address, forcing local communities to take action into their own hands.”

Padilla makes the solution clear: “get a reusable bag” and use it consistently. This eliminates the 10 cent fee and solves each issue the opposition voiced. The primary goal of this legislation is to phase out single-use bags altogether to subsequently reduce waste. We must take this municipal action upon ourselves, as “there is interest for California to have this policy from an environmental standpoint.” For now the Bill is on suspense, but if you want more information about it’s contents, you can check out the Bill Analysis here. You can also stay updated on current legislation, including this Bill and others by visiting the Senate Majority Caucus

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