Fees for Bags

I expressly ask for plastic bags at stores because my wife and I reuse them to clean the kitty box and to line our trash cans. I even have particular uses for particular bags from different stores. I do, however, joyfully throw these bags in the trash whenever they become punctured. Thank goodness I don’t live in Denver. The Rocky Mountain News recently reported:

Paper or plastic?

It really doesn’t matter because either one might cost you a dime more under a proposal making the rounds at Denver City Hall.

An organization called BetterBagsColorado is lobbying the City Council for legislation to charge grocery store shoppers 10 cents for every plastic or paper bag they use to carry their goodies home.

The proposal, which would affect supermarkets with annual revenues of $2 million or more, is intended to help protect the environment by reducing the plastic and paper bags that end up in landfills.

First, there’s a group called BetterBagsColorado? Deborah Hart of BetterBagsColorado told the News, “The only way you’re going to change your behavior, really, is to have a little ouch at the checkout because you get enough ouches and you’ll make a new habit out of it.”

The article sensibly continues:

But Keith Christman, senior director of packaging for Progressive Bag Affiliates, a trade organization that represents manufacturers and recyclers of plastic bags, said such fees only make people buy more plastic trash bags or sandwich bags.

“We know from studies that we’ve done that 92 percent of consumers report that they reuse their plastic bags for things like disposing of waste around their house, litter bags in their cars, picking up after their pets and taking their lunch to work,” he said.

The paper also lists other regions that have banned or restricted plastic grocery bags: 80 British cities, San Francisco, Melbourne, Ireland, China, and Bangladesh.

God forbid that grocers and their customers be able to decide on bag policy without political intervention.

This example proves once again that environmentalists consistently ignore the most important resource: human time. Often I swing by the grocery store unexpectedly or purchase many items I hadn’t planned to buy. If the policy spreads, will I really have to keep bags on hand, just in case? Will I really have to make en extra effort to purchase other plastic bags for my needs, or figure out how to do without? Even though the local grocery store promises to recycle plastic bags (though I’m not sure how effective that is), I don’t collect punctured bags for recycling simply because I have better things to do with my time. But, for environmentalists, no amount of wasted human time matters in the context of a miniscule contributor to landfills and global warming. Call it death by a thousand-thousand “ouches.”

One thought on “Fees for Bags”

  1. It is even worse than a tax on plastic bags. It is a tax on all bags paper or plastic. The stated effort is to get people to use cloth bags. I think it is a bunch of hippies who sew cloth bags who are behind this tax!

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