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Plastic bag ban starts Monday

Original post made on Apr 22, 2013

Shoppers take note: Mountain View's ban on plastic grocery bags begins on Earth Day, Monday, April 22.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, April 22, 2013, 10:45 AM

Comments (112)

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Posted by David
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 22, 2013 at 12:28 pm

What a nuisance! We really need a new Council in Mountain View.

For those that prefer the sanitation of proper plastic bags, and/or like reusing them as trash bags, you can buy "t-shirt bags" which are equivalent to the store bags. Here's a link:
Web Link

Unfortunately you still have to remember to bring them into the store, but at least you can get a good, clean, plastic bags.


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Posted by The Right Thing
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 22, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Change makes many people uncomfortable.


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Posted by gcoladon
a resident of Slater
on Apr 22, 2013 at 2:18 pm

gcoladon is a registered user.

If the point of the bag ban is to "protect local wildlife and keep bags from polluting the ocean and clogging local creeks", what's the purpose of the 10 cent minimum price for a paper bag?

What business does the government have setting prices for consumer goods?


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Posted by David
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 22, 2013 at 2:25 pm

"The Right Thing": it's not "change" that makes people feel uncomfortable -- it's restricting freedom, for very little (if any) measurable gain.

What is scientifically proven (rather than just anecdotes of seeing a bag in the ocean) is that reusable bags harbor dangerous bacteria:
Web Link

(so buying your own plastic bags is the best option)


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Posted by curious
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 22, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Meaningless symbolic gestures that endanger public health make many voters angry.

Frisco has seen a huge increase in hospitalizations for intestinal infections since they forced merchants not to give out bags starting in 2007. It stands to reason that reusing bags with drippings from raw meat can spread infections.

And the claim that bags are no dirtier than kitchens is baloney. At least for my kitchen. The surfaces in the kitchen are non-porous so they can be easily cleaned. Reusable bags are made from absorbent material that is practically impossible to clean thoroughly.

I hope the first person who catches an anti-biotic resistant infection from their bag sues the ass of the merchants so they will put pressure on the council to rescind this idiotic ban. At least their family can sue since these infections are killers.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 22, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Don't trust those pro-plastic studies that are funded by the "American Chemistry Council".

Remember that (1) stores are still going to offer plastic bags for meat and produce and (2) cloth shopping bags last for years and are easy to wash.


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Posted by curious
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 22, 2013 at 2:38 pm

resident: "Don't trust those pro-plastic studies that are funded by the "American Chemistry Council".

This is an ad-hominem argument; one of the first logical fallacies I learned to avoid in high school English.

To make your case more believable, tell us why their study is flawed.


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Posted by AC
a resident of another community
on Apr 22, 2013 at 2:48 pm

AC is a registered user.

What I think is the most short-sighted is that I re-use plastic store bags as trash bags. So instead, I get to pay for garbage bags, which is an expense to me, and are certainly single-use, and no better for the environment that the easily reusable plastic bag that I used to get for free. I have reusable bags, of course, and I use them when I'm not short on trash bags for home.

Heck, at 5 cents a plastic bag, it's still more economically sensible, and no less bad for the environment, than 5 bucks for a box of Hefty bags. But I don't even have the option now. Not even to pay a reasonable price for one. Just an unreasonable price for a paper bag that vegetables that are misted, or meat juices which leak can seep through and breed bacteria, and essentially be a nuisance and potential source of illness.

*sigh*


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Posted by MV Resident
a resident of Jackson Park
on Apr 22, 2013 at 3:06 pm

@gcoladon:

Clearly, you have never done a beach or waterway cleanup. Plastic bags end up on beaches and in creeks. The bags flow out to the ocean, where they suffocate marine life.

@AC:

There are situations where you can get plastic bags for free. They aren't being banned, the free access to them is being curtailed.

Note that there's nothing new about this in neighboring cities. Palo Alto and San Jose have had plastic bag bans for a while, and you don't see people filing bankruptcy because they need to buy plastic bags.

Anyone who is complaining about this clearly has not done a beach cleanup.

The local Surfrider Foundation chapters have monthly cleanups, and many of the seaside communities have grassroots cleanup organizations. You can also volunteer on California Coastal Cleanup day.

Just do it once and your opinion on plastic bags (and cigarettes and plastic bottles) will be changed forever.


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Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 22, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Banning the bags is one thing.

By why force retailers to charge for paper bags?

Shouldn't that be up to retailer?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by unfundedmandate
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 22, 2013 at 3:58 pm

So in Mountain View, nokay for p/bags but okay to kill a fetus. Happy Earth Day!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rossta
a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 22, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Rossta is a registered user.

I participated in a creek cleanup this past Saturday. There was no shortage of plastic bags to pick up. Most were hard to get free - wrapped around branches in the creek. Really made me wonder how many more floated freely past and out into the bay. Another volunteer, from Sunnyvale where they have had a bag ban for a while already, told me that doing the cleanup made him now see why he should support the bag ban. So, if you don't believe, why not come to National River Cleanup Day - next one is May 18th, 2013.
http%3a//www.cleanacreek.org/


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Posted by John Kilpatrick
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 22, 2013 at 7:42 pm

1) Cloth shopping bags create 500 times the CO2 waste that plastic bags do. So in order to have the same carbon footprint as a one-time plastic bag you'd have to use a canvas bag about 500 times. However, they don't last long enough. So these canvas bags are actually creating MORE POLLUTION than the plastic bags.

2) Reusable bags are disease vectors. The reusable plastic bags cannot be cleaned enough. They melt under high temperatures and bleach causes them to break down.

Enjoy your pollution and disease, Mountain View! Meanwhile, now I have to buy plastic bags to use for rubbish and whatnot. I'm sure these bags will take even LONGER to break down...


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Posted by John Kilpatrick
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 22, 2013 at 8:18 pm

Whoops, it's 173 times the carbon footprint. Study here:

Web Link


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Posted by wally
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 22, 2013 at 9:53 pm

add me to the list of people who will have to buy more plastic trash bags in order to get rid of wet trash/scraps that I don't want rotting away and stinking up the house.

Only other option is to take the trash out more often, which means...more plastic trash bags.


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Posted by Unconstitutional
a resident of another community
on Apr 22, 2013 at 10:49 pm

I would like to know by what authority ANY municipal city council can dictate the price a vendor can charge for paper bags. What's next, the city council dictating the prices of all goods in a store?

The question of "by what authority?" needs an immediate answer before the constitutional lawsuits start, and they will -- I will make sure of
it.

The Mountain View city council should remove that clause immediately or suffer the consequences.


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Posted by Kyle
a resident of Jackson Park
on Apr 22, 2013 at 11:14 pm

Which consequences would those be "Unconstitutional"?


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Posted by Curious Observer
a resident of Jackson Park
on Apr 23, 2013 at 9:40 am

Curious Observer is a registered user.

To the City Council: Let's not stop with plastic bags. Please ban stores from selling cigarettes. I don't need to go into the details about how harmful cigarettes are to people and the environment. Please, please, please make stores stop selling that harmful product. And after that, please ban stores from selling plastic bottles of water. There are so many plastic bottles poluting waterways. Please put a stop to it! Go Mountain View City Council!!!


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Posted by Good
a resident of Castro City
on Apr 23, 2013 at 9:53 am

4/23/13 Now it is law. Continue to snivel here or do some actual work to change it if it means so much to you. Society is now moving on.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 23, 2013 at 10:01 am

Let's ban fast food restaurants, convenience stores, and liquor stores as well and all junk food and anything made from plastic from supermarkets!!!!

Oh, and we ban fat people and old people too?

Yeah, go Mountain View.


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Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 23, 2013 at 10:25 am

Ban overdevelopment. It's killing everything.


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Posted by John Kilpatrick
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 23, 2013 at 10:39 am

@Good

Enjoy your climate change. Are you in favor of increased CO2 pollution for any particular reason?

We'll move on by suing merchants for making us sick with the reusable bags. How many vendors do you think we can sue out of business? It'll be fun!


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Posted by John Kilpatrick
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 23, 2013 at 10:41 am

@Curious Observer

Also, please outlaw the sale of alcohol. There is no reason to consume such poison. It does nothing but harm. We need to get rid of this threat. THINK OF THE CHILDREN!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MV Resident
a resident of Jackson Park
on Apr 23, 2013 at 11:04 am

Mountain View is not the first to legislate this:

Web Link

They've been banned in Bangladesh for eleven years, in Taiwan for a decade.

People will adapt.


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Posted by Good
a resident of Castro City
on Apr 23, 2013 at 11:05 am

John Kilpatrick, I'm guessing zero, but I have some tissues for you to help deal with this. I hope you can soldier on during this time of outrage.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sign me up
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 23, 2013 at 12:11 pm

If there is a lawsuit on this, i'll be the first to sign it.

I've been to beach clean up and the amount of plastic bags, ZERO.





 +   Like this comment
Posted by Oh the horrors
a resident of Castro City
on Apr 23, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Day 2...so far no anarchy, but for how long are we expected to endure this?!?!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John Kilpatrick
a resident of Whisman Station
on Apr 23, 2013 at 7:37 pm

@Good You're right. The city will be sued, as have the following cities: Oakland, Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles County, City of Palo Alto, Marin County, City of Long Beach, City and County of San Francisco, City of Carpinteria, City of Santa Cruz, and San Luis Obispo.

Yay, more of our taxes going to legal fees. I'd stop buying tissues if I were you - you're gonna need to pay for the lawsuits.


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Posted by AC
a resident of another community
on Apr 24, 2013 at 12:18 am

AC is a registered user.

@MV Resident

Just to mention... I have done cleanups before. Please try to understand that I'm not trying to belittle the environmental impact of plastic bags. I'm addressing a policy that seeks to achieve a very worthy goal in what doesn't seem like a very worthy way.


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Posted by Good
a resident of Castro City
on Apr 24, 2013 at 8:58 am

Oh John K, you're so cute when you're reduced to threats of lawsuits.
And really, what's new...every new law has some group of cranks trying to sue over it. Its not like the bags are ever coming back, maybe a change to the cost of bags at the store, but if left up to the store, they have no right to provide anything to you for free, so do you think they will?
Snivelers, I've got you covered...tissues at the ready during this time of uncomfortable changes.


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Posted by John Kilpatrick
a resident of Whisman Station
on Apr 24, 2013 at 11:59 am

@Good Oh, you'll need the tissues when you get a nice E. coli infection from your nasty bag. I hope the issues are strong - [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language] The bag ban is killing about 5 people a year in SF.


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Posted by Oh the horrors
a resident of Castro City
on Apr 24, 2013 at 12:47 pm

day 3...so difficult...getting angrier...lashing out at others...incapable of simply washing a bag...this will be the fault of others if I get sick; same with my hands.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by David
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 24, 2013 at 4:49 pm

"Oh the horrors" -- I agree that washing bags is a pain (and wastes water and energy). Just buy plastic bags and bring those, so you have a fresh one each time like the good ol' days (i.e. last week).

Life will go on, of course, but that's not a good reason to do this.

Why not just crack down on littering if it's so bad for the environment? Doesn't make sense to restrict convenience for the 99.9% of people who are careful not to litter.


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Posted by John Kilpatrick
a resident of Whisman Station
on Apr 24, 2013 at 6:53 pm

@"Oh The horrors"

I washed a LDPE bag. It did not survive. They suck and cannot be safely sanitized. (They're killing about 5 people a year in SF.) Bleach melts them. The washing machine eats them. Yes, you can use vinegar. However vinegar is only 90% effective against bacteria and 80% effective against viruses. (Bleach is 99.9% effective against both.) So they aren't clean if you wash them in vinegar.

The canvas bags CAN be sanitized. However, each canvas bag produces 173 times the greenhouse emissions of a single-use HDPE bag (if you reuse it for trash). As long as you use it 173 times or more you're good. However the data shows that most people use them for about a year (51 times on average) before discarding. So they pollute MORE than HDPE bags.

My box of 1000 "t-shirt" bags showed up. However, now I also bag my own groceries. I suggested to the clerks at Nob Hill that they start wearing plastic gloves before they get a really nasty infection from those "environmental" bags.


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Posted by PV Resident
a resident of another community
on Apr 25, 2013 at 8:04 am

Don't mind the ban at supermarkets, but dislike it for take out food and Target type places. If I'm spending $100 on kids' clothes, why should I put new clothes in a dirty bag or be expected to pay for a clean bag? Aren't I spending enough in the store to be expected to pay extra? seems very unfair.

Anyway, couple of suggestions.

Take everything to the car Costco style and put them in the truck loose, or in a couple of plastic crates kept there for the purpose (they stack when empty). Alternatively, take the crates into the store with you to be filled at checkout.

Also use empty boxes. I get loads of nice new relatively clean boxes everytime I buy anything online so Amazon boxes work well. These can be stored flat in the trunk too although they won't last so long if they are just folded at the bottom and are not able to carry the same weight.

Costco is also willing to give boxes away (Safeway tells me they reuse the boxes) so get boxes from Costco each time you go there for use at other stores.


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Posted by Don't get it
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 25, 2013 at 10:11 am

Are people really having trouble trying to figure out an alternate plan? REALLY?! Haha...people are funny.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hojo Nixon
a resident of Gemello
on Apr 25, 2013 at 2:20 pm

I blame racism.


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Posted by AC
a resident of another community
on Apr 25, 2013 at 3:55 pm

AC is a registered user.

You know, the most sensible thing that was said, we conveniently ignored.

But thank you David.

There is no need to go through the big hoopla of the plastic bag ban and debate about sanitation of reusable bags, etc....

If we would have just enforced the law as it is. Littering is against the law, and punishable by fines which we could use the money for, not only to clean the waste, but do more good things.

I've heard it said quite a few times, and I certainly understand it. We wouldn't have so much drama with new policies/bans/regulations if we simply enforced the laws we already have.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lulu
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 25, 2013 at 10:48 pm

I think it would be good before anyone posts to read the Voice's guidelines: "Please be respectful and TRUTHFUL in your postings so town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion." Most of what was posted was opinion rants, and the guy quoting CO2 has no clue about the subject and is fear-mongering. He is like the punk in a crowded theater yelling fire. I can tell you from having cancer, that when women came to visit me, my doctors told them to disinfect their purses with vinegar and water. End of story on bacteria and sanitizing. Quit ranting and volunteer to help someone.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dirty Bird
a resident of Whisman Station
on Apr 26, 2013 at 8:14 am

So wait, when something gets dirty, we're supposed to wash it?! Ooooohhhhhh! Well this will improve my life in all sorts of areas.
I never knew.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by REVOLT
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 26, 2013 at 2:47 pm

How to Revolt:

Go to shopping place, fill up the cart with frozen items and lots of meat. When at the checkout and they say you need to pay for the bag, just walk out mad as hell.

Another way, i suggest we have a throw your plastic bags in the air revolt party. I think Sundays a good day for that.


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Posted by Snakefinger
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 28, 2013 at 8:19 am

Welcome to crybaby central. Pathetic.


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Posted by Scientist
a resident of another community
on Apr 28, 2013 at 10:22 am

Is there any real proof that the increase in e coli infections in San Francisco is the result of their bag policy? A coincidence in time does not constiture proof. There could be other changes made then that are responsible, such as the opening of farmer's markets where people have been purchasing contaminated produce.

As far as the carbon cost of cotton vs plastic, that argument is only important if the bags are a significant part of our overall CO2 production. If they are a trivial part of that, then we should dismiss that argument and make our choice based on other factors.


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Posted by curious
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 29, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Scientist: "As far as the carbon cost of cotton vs plastic, that argument is only important if the bags are a significant part of our overall CO2 production. If they are a trivial part of that, then we should dismiss that argument and make our choice based on other factors."

I like this approach. According to this study, plastic bags make up less than 1 part in 200 of municipal waste:
Web Link

Of those, most are recycled grocery bags used as trash can liners. People will now have to buy the trash can liners, which are much thicker and less biodegradable than grocery bags. So by forcing this ban on us, the City Council has probably increased the amount of plastic material in the environment or changed it by a few parts in a thousand.

So what do you say "Scientist"? Was this just a feel good publicity stunt by the City Council?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Scientist
a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2013 at 12:41 pm

As far as I know, bag restrictions are not put in place to reduce the amount of plastic in landfills. They are implemented to reduce the amount of plastic in local creeks, etc. If you give something away for free, people will treat it as worthless. If you make them pay for it, they will value it and treat it more carefully. A few years ago those who opposed bag limits could take their business elswehere, but now so many cities are on board that it would not be worth the effort/cost to travel to a place that still allows them to be given away for free. Joining the movement at this late stage is not a very good publicity stunt.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Link Please
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 29, 2013 at 1:02 pm

"Of those, most are recycled grocery bags used as trash can liners."

Since this is one of the main points of your argument I would imagine there is a link somewhere that can prove this? Its convenient to the argument you're trying to make, but for me, I've never ever used to use my plastic shopping bags as garbage cans. They just went right into the trash, or blew about the back of my truck until the wind "recycled" it.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 29, 2013 at 2:40 pm

The shopping bag ban is a huge pain - to businesses and consumers. I am an avid recycler and reuse paper and plastic bags, always. I never throw them away without using them for either loose paper recycling (in the case of paper bags) or garbage can liners (plastic bags). I also use plastic bags to carry my lunch. I am very concerned about the unsanitary nature of canvas bags, which are brought into the stores, filthy, full of raw chicken juice, broken egg remnants, etc., and then dragged over counters and handled by clerks who then handle other people's food. Mtn View City Council, do you even think this far ahead to realize how unsanitary this is? This also makes it much easier to shoplift, thereby driving prices up for the rest of us. You paper/plastic bag haters are a bunch of fools.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 29, 2013 at 2:47 pm

For those disgusting people who don't use plastic bags to line trash cans in bathrooms and offices and rather let them blow off their trucks or whatever, it pisses me off that we are punished because of you low life, irresponsible filthy people. I think this bag ordinance is a huge pain in the ass, and I watch merchants and customers alike having to stumble through this awkwardly with dirty canvas bags or dirty old plastic bags or broken, torn paper ones. The whole thing is completely stupid and creates trouble where there was NONE.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 29, 2013 at 2:51 pm

No, I'm not going to revolt by punishing businesses. This was not the idea of Mtn. View businesses. Trust me, they HATE this bag ordinance as much as the rest of us. It makes it way easier for people to shoplift, for one thing. And do you think store clerks like touching your raw poultry and fish juiced up bags?? No, you can blame this directly on the Mtn View City Council. Makes sure each of them is voted OUT in the next election. Remember this, and vote accordingly.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Yawn
a resident of Whisman Station
on Apr 29, 2013 at 2:57 pm

I guess I have to vote them back in, cuz i think the ban is a great idea. in 2 months it'll be a full non-issue.


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Posted by Good
a resident of The Crossings
on Apr 29, 2013 at 3:07 pm

All you bag hatin' idiots get off my lawn! MMMMEH!


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 29, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Those who think it's a good idea must think it's fine to not line their bathroom trash cans, or they think it's fine to blow money on bags that they can use for this. And, I wonder if they bother recycling loose paper - from junk mail or whatever, in paper bags - TJ's paper bags worked great for accumulating old newspaper and junk mail for recycling. If this is not how you have been using plastic and paper bags from stores, this is what you should have been doing. And the rest of us are very irritated that we now have to BUY plastic and paper for this where we were previously able to recycle/reuse. What about confetti paper from shredders? I guess you just dump the shredder can into your paper recycle bin and laugh as the loose stuff blows all over your neighbor's lawn? The TJ paper bags worked well for storing this confetti paper. I won't even bring up the sanitation factor regarding cloth/canvas bags, which is huge and has been discussed repeatedly here. Yes, I suppose there will have to be sickness and death due to spread of disease through disgusting canvas bags before a lawsuit brings this foolish shopping bag law to an end. In the meantime, I will absolutely NOT vote for a single one of the council members who supported this, absolutely not. I encourage the rest of you who see the idiocy in this law to do the same.


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Posted by Polythene Pam
a resident of Castro City
on Apr 29, 2013 at 3:29 pm

I shop at the farmers market. They can still give out plastic bags, and they are much better for lining garbage cans -- no gaping holes in the bottom, like those cheap grocery store bags. Support local farmers, get your free plastic bags. Problem solved.


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Posted by kman
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 29, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Here is an idea, have a business outside the stores selling plastic bags for 3 cents, cheaper than paper.

Anonymous, the bottom line here is not the environment, but the money involved in handing out free stuff.

Most all of the stores like safeway are suffering because of massive pension funds within their company, this is just one way for the them to cut cost and create more money by selling you paper bags.

If this was not the case, then why don't they just give you the paper bag, why do they need to charge? It probably costs less than a penny for each paper bag.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 29, 2013 at 4:13 pm

My tin foil hat will protect me from bag germs. You people need one. Seriously...bag germs are coming...gonna be a big bacteria induced human die off all because of bag germs. Watch and learn, but get your own hat.


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Posted by Jane
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 29, 2013 at 5:06 pm

kman, businesses are not pushing this bag ban. It's the Mtn View City Council who is jumping on this SF bandwagon. I do not understand why they are not allowing businesses to supply free paper bags. Why can't businesses like TJ's which always used paper bags continue to provide them for free? Why is Mtn View enforcing this 10 cents per bag thing? Why?? Can someone please explain this??

More reasons to oppose bag bans

-- It's another nanny state law that coerces law-abiding shoppers to change their conduct.

-- Single-use bags are not the problem. In 2011, they represented 0.13 percent of California's total waste stream.

-- According to the British Environment Agency, consumers have to reuse a cloth bag 131 times to present lesser global warming impact than conventional bags.

-- When consumers wash reusable cloth bags, they can wear out, which undermines the environmental benefits.


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Posted by Scientist
a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2013 at 5:18 pm

I acknowledge that contamination is a potential issue with reusable bags, but I have yet to see scientific proof that people are actually getting sick from these bags. And once again, the point is NOT keeping plastic out of the "waste stream" (i.e. the landfill) or to reduce CO2 emissions. The goal is to reduce the number that fly around free and clog waterways and injure wildlife.


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Posted by Jack
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 29, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Scientist, where is your data on wildlife harmed by plastic bags and clogged waterways of plastic bags? It's a myth and extremely rare. Far more animals are harmed through other types of pollution.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Observing Sadness
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 29, 2013 at 6:03 pm

I read above and all I see are excuses. Move on people, there's a world out there!


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Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2013 at 6:24 pm

See, this is what happens when people in a community drive everywhere. Anyone who has spent any time walking knows exactly what the thinking behind this is.


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Posted by Scientist
a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2013 at 7:35 pm

For reports on plastic bags in waterways, see (Google it) Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Plastic Bag Report 2012.

and the references at the bottom of:
Web Link


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Posted by David
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 29, 2013 at 7:42 pm

Another outcome of this will be increased online shopping (no need to worry about carrying around bags!), which is bad for local businesses. I wonder if the businesses who refused to fight this thought of that?

I agree with the above -- let's vote out these bums on the City Council. I will pledge my vote to any more libertarian candidate who cares about our local economy, and thinks rationally rather than based on the anecdotes of some hippie who saw one bag in a creek and decides to impose on everyone else.

(the Council could also better equip the police to enforce litter laws if they raised more tax revenue with pro-business policies, while keeping pensions more in check)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Politicalinsider
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 29, 2013 at 8:15 pm

What they all don't know and refuse to know and yes David your right dump this council, there is the technology in place to deal with plastic bags. But this council never came up with the idea in their pea sized brains to listen. Safeway recycles the dam* bags. The Gyre is BS. Go out there and you see big giant ships that are scooping the plastic up and with solar energy turning it into diesel fuel.

I call on a refusal to buy at retailers and do nothing except online transactions. Tell those pea brained turkeys in council that voted for this BS that we the people do not want it. Your government is being held hostage by money interests. As Safeway told me it will be good for their business with every bag they can sell now.

I hope this might be that wake up call, we are sick and tired of a corrupt government both local and regional, run by corrupt people who care more about their rich lobbyist rather than the public they serve. Abe likes to say they are here for the pleasure of us. The "they" are you people, Council like Abe think we are all their serfs.


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Posted by David
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 29, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Another outcome of this will be increased online shopping (no need to worry about carrying around bags!), which is bad for local businesses. I wonder if the businesses who refused to fight this thought of that?

I agree with the above -- let's vote out these bums on the City Council. I will pledge my vote to any more libertarian candidate who cares about our local economy, and thinks rationally rather than based on the anecdotes of some hippie who saw one bag in a creek and decides to impose on everyone else.

(the Council could also better equip the police to enforce litter laws if they raised more tax revenue with pro-business policies, while keeping pensions more in check)


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Posted by Politicalinsider
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 29, 2013 at 8:29 pm

If its creeks you worry about, the suds in the creeks kill the spawning fish every day, the copper in break-linings kill fish. Ironically the worst thing to clean up is the plastic bags, but instead of regulating the auto and the laundry industry, they selected plastic bags. Like I said pea brains. Plastic bags are big and can be hand dealt with.

Just like the stupid pea brained Air Resources Board, the Cal Train pollutes far worse than any other single polluter. But instead they come after us. The Bay Area is a seed bed of political corruption at every level. Its no wonder the chair of the VAC quit, good job getting out of something that is poisoned minds at work.


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Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2013 at 9:35 pm

I was going to respond to Politicalinsider, but then I saw...

"Cal Train pollutes far worse than any other single polluter"

I really don't stand a chance debating someone with that kind of brilliance.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 29, 2013 at 9:39 pm

Politicalinsider and David, you are 100% right.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 29, 2013 at 9:43 pm

I live a block from CalTrain and have a thick layer of black soot on my window sill in the summer when I have one window open. Do the rest of you have black soot on your window sills in the summer? Those who live maybe 3+ blocks from CalTrain? I suspect not. I believe that CalTrain is a major polluter.


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Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2013 at 10:54 pm

I live about a block and a half from a Caltrain station, one at the end of the line where they idle most of the day. I've never had a problem with soot.


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Posted by Curious Observer
a resident of Jackson Park
on Apr 30, 2013 at 8:33 am

Curious Observer is a registered user.

Mattresses are another item the City Council should ban since people don't know how to dispose of them properly. In the past week now I have seen 3 instances of mattresses just left on the sidewalk. This is an expense to the city since someone from the city has to go pick up the mattress and haul it to the dump. Come on City Council...let's ban mattresses!!


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Posted by LocalGal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 30, 2013 at 10:11 am

I've never experienced any noticeable soot on my window sills. 1 block from Cal Train for 38 years.


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Posted by Sacatomato
a resident of another community
on Apr 30, 2013 at 10:40 am

Mountain View's ordinance may soon become moot. SB405 has passed the Senate Appropriations Committee and is on its way to a full vote. It would start a statewide bag ban in 2015.


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Posted by Bigger Worries
a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 30, 2013 at 10:50 am

Its already moot with many people like myself. Thank god Ivadjusted to this horror in about 3 days.


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Posted by Pam
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 30, 2013 at 11:12 am

Can anyone please explain to me why paper bags are now 10 cents when they used to be free at stores such as Trader Joe's? Why does a plastic ban have to include paper bags? Mtn View is turning into Europe without pretty churches or culture, but rather just the aspect of Europe that sucks. Not fun.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 30, 2013 at 11:31 am

Robert, I'll have you know that I walk everywhere possible or ride my bike. I avoid using my car, always. Furthermore, I recycle every single thing possible. I never put batteries in the trash - always in a clear PLASTIC bag (thank you, Milk Pail), on top of my recycling can, per MV recycling instructions. I reuse, I recycle, and I HATE THE PLASTIC BAG BAN. I reuse all plastic shopping bags that enter my house - for trash liners, lunch bags, etc. I participate in beach clean-ups in September, regularly. I consider myself an environmentalist. I hate waste, I am conservative with the environment and with money. I am fastidious regarding filth and know very well that others are not, and I know that others will put their canvas bags on their filthy kitchen floors or counters or public bathrooms or cars or let poultry juice or eggs drip through them, and then clerks will handle these bags, drag them across store counters, etc. Yeah, so I'm not so happy about the bag ban. I reused those bags, always. They absolutely never went directly into my trash without reuse - never.


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Posted by River Tam
a resident of another community
on Apr 30, 2013 at 3:35 pm

"People don't like to be meddled with. We tell them what to do, what to think, don't run, don't walk. We're in their homes and in their heads and we haven't the right. We're meddlesome."


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Posted by Lily
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 30, 2013 at 5:49 pm

I pick up my doggie's poop with bags.


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Posted by John
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 30, 2013 at 6:32 pm

I read the ordinance: it's not illegal to bring your own plastic bags. So I went to amazon.com and bought a lifetime supply -- a box of 1000 for $24 -- less than 3 cents/bag (and picked 'em up at my sister's house in another state to keep the sales tax out of the hands of the corrupt govt of CA). Keep 'em in the trunk of my car, bring in a few dozen when I shop and happy to share with other like-minded shoppers.

Annoying, but not as crazy as the MV former council member / assemblywoman who wanted to make spanking your kids a crime. After 40 years in CA, I see it finally has become the land of nutcases.


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Posted by Story Time
a resident of Waverly Park
on May 1, 2013 at 5:29 am

John, you say you drive all the way to another state to pick up a 24 dollar item from amazon in order to avoid taxes...on a 24 dollar item
1) Where did you buy your gas/plane ticket for this trip?
2)"After 40 years in CA, I see it finally has become the land of nutcases." Yes yes, I'm beginning to see what you mean.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 1, 2013 at 10:19 am

Story Time, see, the problem with people like you is that you don't think a step ahead, do you? Did you consider that John visits his sister regularly anyway and did not make a special trip to pick up bags? No, I guess not. Just like nobody considered the fact that others reuse the plastic bags and are miffed about having to buy them now and miffed about the sanitation issue with canvas bags and miffed that there is no explanation as to why we need to now pay 10 cents for PAPER bags, as well. Short sighted people like yourself and the Mtn View City Council do not give a damn about the inconvenience and expense to others. You apparently do not reuse or recycle. I guess you just threw the bags away without reuse? Now, THAT is wasteful. As the previous poster said, this is unnecessary meddling in our lives by thoughtless people with no foresight.


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Posted by Story Time
a resident of Waverly Park
on May 1, 2013 at 10:40 am

Hahahahaha. People are so funny :)


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 1, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Hahaha...your arrogant irreverence is so funny....NOT.


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Posted by Sillyargument
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 1, 2013 at 2:51 pm

People, people..you are so silly. If you absolutely *must* have a source of plastic shopping bags, then just go buy a box of them. In low quantities, they are about 6 cents each.

If you are worried about your reusable canvas bag becoming dirty and harboring bacteria, then wash the darn things! Do you wash your clothes? Or do you just wear them every day?

These disposable plastic shopping bags have created an environmental nightmare and the ban on stores just giving them out is unfortunately necessary.

Grow up people!


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Posted by David
a resident of Blossom Valley
on May 1, 2013 at 3:34 pm

"Sillyargument" -- an appropriate name for you.

I did buy a box of plastic bags ($0.03/each), but it's a pain to decide how many to carry in to the store, they aren't always the right size, and it's easy to forget. It also actually increases the likelihood of losing one and having it blow away, since now you have to keep a big pile of empty plastic bags in the back of your car, and carry them around empty until you get to the checkout.

But more importantly, you falsely call it an "environmental nightmare" -- where's the data? The studies either:
1) Report how many bags are in landfills (duh, this is because people use them for trash... but people will just buy them anyway)
2) Report on general "litter" or "plastic materials" in the ocean, but not on bags explicitly... because the bags are an inconsequential fraction of the litter in the ocean.

But it's convenient you to invoke your religion of "Mother Earth" to ignore science, fudge statistics, and impose your beliefs on others, with blatant disregard for logic or facts.


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Posted by wally
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 1, 2013 at 4:16 pm

so barely a week and I've already had to go buy more plastic bags to replace the ones from shopping I used to use for trash.

brilliant plan MV city council


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Posted by Paper Price Increase?
a resident of Cuernavaca
on May 1, 2013 at 5:06 pm

I don't think it's on the slate for Mtn View (yet?), but I believe some other cities have the price of paper bags increasing from 10 cents to 25 cents in a year or two.


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Posted by David
a resident of Blossom Valley
on May 1, 2013 at 8:32 pm

"Paper Price Increase?" -- don't worry, Ronit and her gang of fools have mandated that the price go up to 25 cents in 1.5 years:

"Will the ten cent charge on all bags stay the same?
The ordinance requires the paper and reusable bag charge to
increase to 25 cents on January 1, 2015."

VOTE THE BUMS OUT OF OFFICE.

Is it finally time for a Recall Election?


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Posted by Sillyargument
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 1, 2013 at 9:46 pm

@David: "I did buy a box of plastic bags ($0.03/each), but it's a pain to decide how many to carry in to the store, they aren't always the right size, and it's easy to forget."

Oh, poor you! It's soooo painful to make such a complicated decision like that. Not the right size?! Oh no!!! The sky is falling! And so easy to forget? Wow. Do you remember how to drive home after shopping, or do you forget that too?

@David: "It also actually increases the likelihood of losing one and having it blow away, since now you have to keep a big pile of empty plastic bags in the back of your car, and carry them around empty until you get to the checkout"

Oh no! It sounds like you have really studied this issue thoroughly. Of course, the only option to bringing reusable, washable and inexpensive canvas bags is to fill the back of your car with loose plastic. You are truly a genius. Definitely so much smarter than the 'Bums in Office'.

@David: "But more importantly, you falsely call it an "environmental nightmare" -- where's the data?"

The US burns 1.6 billion gallons of oil each year to produce these bags. 1.6 billion! Forget that these bags choke waterways, destroy wildlife and help build massive plastic *continents* out in the ocean--they are severely depleting an important non-renewable resource. What do you care about data anyway? You can't even remember to simply bring a bag. Sigh...





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Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on May 1, 2013 at 10:43 pm

@Sillyargument

Don't you get it? Taking away plastic bags is the first step. After that its a short step to taking away our guns, then rounding us up and sending us to FEMA camps!


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Posted by David
a resident of Blossom Valley
on May 1, 2013 at 11:04 pm

Sillyargument: please include a citation for your claim of 1.6B gallons of oil to produce bags? They're made out of natural gas, so you're clearly misinformed (about this and many other things).



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Posted by Sillyargument
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 1, 2013 at 11:43 pm

@David: "please include a citation for your claim of 1.6B gallons of oil to produce bags?"

From the Wall Street Journal: "Americans use and dispose of 100 billion plastic shopping bags each year and at least 12 million barrels of oil are used per year in the manufacture of those plastic grocery bags." That is the lowest estimate I could find and it comes from a conservative publication. Other publications put the estimate between 60-100 million barrels.

Strangely enough, I cannot find a Fox News article supporting this number, so I'm sure you will disagree with it. You have heard of the Wall Street Journal, though, right??

@David: "They're made out of natural gas, so you're clearly misinformed (about this and many other things)."

Oh, so we are talking about *imaginary* plastic bags, since you say they are made out of a gas.

You are a victim of the lobbying efforts of the plastic bag industry. They launched a huge marketing campaign attacking the rationale for using re-usable bags and have included little sound bites like: "Shopping bags are made out of natural gas, not oil." Sorry, but you need to watch less Fox News and maybe open a book and learn something.


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Posted by David
a resident of Blossom Valley
on May 2, 2013 at 12:11 am

"Sillyargument" -- I was asking for a citation to your claim that "The US burns 1.6 billion gallons of oil each year to produce these bags." Now you say it's 12M? That's less than 1% your original claim. Which is it?

This isn't about Fox News vs. WSJ vs. Huffington Post vs. High Times or whatever you read (or smoke?), it's about actually looking at facts rather than buying into false claims as you have.

And you try to impose your values on the rest of us based on your false information, while claiming that we "open a book and learn something"? You're a hypocrite.


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Posted by Stinu
a resident of another community
on May 2, 2013 at 12:20 pm

David, one of the statements referred to BARRELS of oil, the other to GALLONS. Please read posts carefully before responding.

For those looking for facts regarding bags littering waterways, read:
Web Link

In the Washington DC region in 2007-2008, plastic bags made up over 45% of the trash found in creeks in the Anacostia River watershed. They were 20% of the trash in the Anacostia River mainstream. The difference is because so many bags got caught in the smaller tributaries and didn't make their way to the main river, and also because they sank in the main river.


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Posted by Sillyargument
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 2, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Stinu: Thanks for clarifying for David. He probably thinks that a barrel of oil is 1 gallon...so this is hopeless.


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Posted by Bag man
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 2, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Its been about a week and a half, and after a couple forgetful trips to the store w/out my bags, I've now gotten used to it. That wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. No biggie.


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Posted by David
a resident of Blossom Valley
on May 2, 2013 at 2:16 pm

"Sillyargument" -- enlighten me since I'm clearly dumb; sounds like your barrels of oil contain ~133 gallons of oil, since you are claiming 1.6B gallons and 12M barrels? Those are larger than the standard barrels I've seen, but you ARE a genius (and read books!), so I must be wrong.

OR... you're full of it and just grab whatever stats you feel like off the Internet and use that to push your values on the rest of us.

What else that consumes relatively small amounts of oil would you like to ban next? I assume you never fly on airplanes? You bike everywhere? Grow all your own food from seeds in your backyard? You have no trash of any kind?

How about if you never travel on a plane again, and then we'll all agree to using dirty tote bags? Or is the freedom to travel by plane more important than the freedom to use a clean, convenient plastic bag?


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Posted by Germie
a resident of Blossom Valley
on May 2, 2013 at 4:02 pm

The real dirt is in the shopping carts...been known for decades.


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Posted by Sillyargument
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 2, 2013 at 6:44 pm

David: "enlighten me since I'm clearly dumb"

That's the first smart thing you've said! Congratulations!!!!


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Posted by Sam
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 3, 2013 at 6:40 am

I remember when they created the seat belt laws. The people who chimed in about "Nanny State" had all sports of scary things that would happen if everyone wore seat belts(notice a similarity for comments here?)
"You'll drown in a lake when you can't unbuckle it" they cried. "In an accident its safer to be thrown clear from the crash" they professed.
Some even had web links to try and justify their irrational thoughts.
So with the bag ban, suddenly we'll all get E.coli and the environment will be ruined when we can't use plastic bags.
Just a comparison since I see so much similar behaviors now.
Enjoy the day, should be a nice one!


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 3, 2013 at 10:27 am

I support the seat belt laws 100% and always did. There is truth behind them. The bag issue is a different matter - no truth behind it, just meddling and jumping on the SF bandwagon for "feel good" politics. Takes away plastic and paper bags that were REUSED by many of us (e.g., trash liners, lunch bags, recycling containers, doggie poop, etc.), forcing us to spend money to purchase them. And why can't anyone explain why PAPER bags are 10c and plan to go to 25c in 2015 if this is a plastic bag issue? When I do annual beach clean-ups, the #1 thing I find is cigarette butts, followed by tear off tops of potato chip bag and candy snacks. Also, plastic bottles and bottle tops and plastic 6-pack holders. So, why are these things still legal when they are the real scourge?


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Posted by Cleaner Upper
a resident of Gemello
on May 3, 2013 at 1:52 pm

I do creek cleanups 4 times per year and hardly ever see cig butts. The most common thing I've seen are the plastic shopping bags hung up on practically every branch or snag that we come across.
I guess it depends on what floats and what actually makes it out to sea.


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Posted by Darin
a resident of another community
on May 3, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Darin is a registered user.

Re: "And why can't anyone explain why PAPER bags are 10c and plan to go to 25c in 2015 if this is a plastic bag issue?"

Well, the obvious answer is that it isn't really a plastic bag issue. But you figured that out already, right?


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Posted by Watching the fun
a resident of Blossom Valley
on May 3, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Lots and lots of theories on this, one just as hard to prove as any.
If it was just about money they should have just charged for both plastic and/or paper. They need no law to do that. Hmmm...there must be more to it than that. Keep digging Jr detectives!


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Posted by Jane
a resident of North Whisman
on May 7, 2013 at 6:28 am

I have noticed, that I am buying less when I go shopping. Yes, I am taking my own bags with me, but I don't want to buy an extra bag. So I am careful and I am learning to live a more frugal lifestyle. I am sure I am not the only one doing this. Quite possibly this will lead to less income for the chain markets over the long term. Good Luck Safeway.


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Posted by Curious Observer
a resident of Jackson Park
on May 12, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Curious Observer is a registered user.

Just got back from a walk downtown and noticed one more thing the city council should ban stores from selling: Chewing gum. What a mess. If the city council is so concerned with the environment I want to see them ban more than just plastic bags. Come on city council...let's see how green you really are!


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Posted by PA Resident
a resident of another community
on May 13, 2013 at 7:17 am

Another use for plastic bags - bringing wet swim suit and towel from school in backpack. Fortunately I found a Target bag at home, but a small plastic bag is necessary to keep all the other contents of the backpack dry!


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of The Crossings
on May 20, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Yes, there are many uses for plastic bags and paper bags. Many, many people reused and repurposed them and never littered them. The bag ordinance remains a pain in the ass for consumers and businesses, costing both extra time and money. It's frustrating that MV City Council members are so thoughtless.


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Posted by MV Resident
a resident of Castro City
on Jul 31, 2013 at 6:23 pm

I'm missing paper and plastic shopping bags as I reused them frequently. For example, I used plastic bags to hold my lunch or other dirty items, which I wanted to keep separate from other items in my backpack when biking or hiking places. I used paper bags to hold misc paper like snail male or shredded papers, and then I recycled the whole paper container. Trader Joe bags were great for this. The ban bag continues to negatively impact me. I am not paying 10 cents for a bag - I don't have extra money to blow repeatedly like that. It must be nice to be a wealthy, elitist MV city council member who drives around in a Mercedes and never bikes or hikes anywhere and never stops to consider that others may be reusing and recycling these bags.


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Posted by Chin Cha
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 23, 2013 at 12:54 am

Chin Cha is a registered user.

Plastic bag ban is really helpful to our environment especially to our health. Plastic bag ban applies to grocery and convenience stores, pharmacies and other shops, but not to restaurants. Plastic bags can still be used for produce, meats, bulk foods and prescription medicines. I preferred if plastic bag bans is also applicable to every places here in our country to reduce waste, dirt, and probably to help the economy of our country.


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Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 2, 2013 at 7:04 pm

Jim Neal is a registered user.

@Chin -- You really should have dome research on this topic before jumping in. The fact is that the ban on plastic bags has had a negative economic impact on retailers and the manufacturers. Most of the plastic bags were made right here in America and account for thousands of jobs. This will do for the plastic bag industry what the new fuel mileage standards did for Detroit!

Also, how on earth does banning plastic bags improve our health? There also was no study done on how many plastic bags end up in 'the environment' before the ban, so conveniently, we will never know the environmental impact.

Banning plastic bags was nothing more than the use of police powers to achieve a politically convenient outcome. Whenever I travel to a civilized part of the world that still has plastic bags available, I bring them back with me and use them, and reuse them, and reuse them .....


Jim Neal
Old Mountain View


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Posted by Tmd
a resident of North Whisman
on Nov 11, 2013 at 7:31 pm

Plastic ban? I just look at all those trash bags in the dump. There is no ban, just the elimination of a convenient bag that made problems for the city trash collectors.


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Posted by jeff
a resident of Willowgate
on Nov 24, 2013 at 11:49 pm

and how about the hypocrisy in not having plastic bags available, but selling or buying food that comes in plastic containers?


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