Bag ban gets council's OK Around Town, posted by Editor, Mountain View Voice Online, on Dec 5, 2012 at 1:35 pm
The days of getting plastic grocery bags in Mountain View are numbered. City Council members voted on Tuesday to ban the distribution of most plastic bags in Mountain View starting on Earth Day next year.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, December 5, 2012, 1:28 PM
Posted by Results Don't Lie, a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood, on Dec 5, 2012 at 1:35 pm
I used to be somewhat sceptical about a bag ban's usefulness to a community. Then I read the report about how much the recent bag bans in other local areas have reduced trash in the local waterways of those towns that have it (and down stream)
I'm all in favor of the ban now. Color me converted.
Posted by Old Ben, a resident of the Shoreline West neighborhood, on Dec 5, 2012 at 2:12 pm
"Education doesn't work and plastic bags don't really recycle," Bryant said. "It's not been that long since we didn't use single-use plastic bags. It was only in mid 1980s that big industry decided to make more money by making plastic bags. Life can go on very well without single-use plastic bags."
WRONG. It was in the mid-1980s that "Environmentalists" predicted, with their Eviron Mental powers, that paper bags were depleting the forests, and PUSHED the switch to plastic bags. I have little doubt that these "Environmentalists" were funded and deeply connected to the plastics industry, just as anti-smoking groups are funded by Big Pharma and the Anthropogenic Climate Change crowd is funded by Big Oil, but let's be clear about the actual PROCESS of corporate greenwashing and how it works.
Incidentally, most of the plastic grocery bags in use here are made in America. Where was your cute li'l bacteria-infested reusable bag made?
Posted by steve, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 5, 2012 at 3:12 pm
Businesses should be strictly prohibited from handing out any bags. That way people are forced to bring their own bags, and they had better be made of environmentally friendly materials such as hemp. Citizens, let's not forget that plastic bags will be a terrible eyesore once the El Camino "Grand Boulevard" and "May Day" parade route is completed.
Councilhuman Bryant is absolutely right about education not working; however, reeducation does work - preferably in a labor camp somewhere in the central valley.
As for councilhumans Inks and Means: Pish posh on all this individual choice nonsense. Citizens have clearly and repeatedly demonstrated their inability to make wise choices. It is incumbent upon the government to gently but firmly guide them in the right direction. Failing this see the paragraph on reeducation above.
Finally, why not levy a 2% bag reclamation tax on all purchases made within the city limits. This money would be used to mitigate the horrendous damage that the plastics bags have done to the local environment, or it could be used to commission more pretty drawings on the impact of high speed rail in Mountain View. I'm good with either.
Posted by Kate, a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood, on Dec 5, 2012 at 3:40 pm
Cheeeeeeze! BAGGING GROCERIES!!!?
And Inks and Means drag out that crazy ol' opposing stance: This issue "is a limit on our personal freedom"!? If that's the extent of their analytical skills and political compass then I recommend they both resign immediately from the City Council.
We need better insight than silly reactionary rationales like that esp when we are talking about an issue where we have so many other options for bagging our groceries eg reusables designed for the purpose, paper bags saved and reused, plastic bags saved and reused. My personal freedom deserves a higher standing than one based on bagging groceries.
That "personal freedom" ruse is an insult to my intelligence and the intelligence of my neighbors.
Posted by Now what, a resident of the Jackson Park neighborhood, on Dec 5, 2012 at 4:04 pm
I've never bought Hefty bags for my trash. I've always used the paper or plastic bags that my groceries were placed in. Does this ban mean that I now have to purchase the extra strong heavy duty plastic Hefty bags???
Posted by Respect The Beach, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 5, 2012 at 7:03 pm
The USE of plastic bags is NOT being banned. The DISTRIBUTION of them is being CURTAILED in certain situations, in the hopes that there will be fewer plastic bags given out.
As someone who has participated in many beach cleanups for local Surfrider Foundation chapters, I am appreciate that plastic grocery bag laws have reduced their presence.
Go on a beach or waterway cleanup. Just one.
Oh yeah, you will also end up being in favor of banning cigarettes. ALL OF THEM. Forever and ever. Hell, I've gone to Surfrider beach cleanups and picked up fifty cigarette butts and 20-30 plastic bags in the parking lot -- before I stepped foot on the beach. And yes, that stuff gets blown into the water.
Posted by Old Ben, a resident of the Shoreline West neighborhood, on Dec 5, 2012 at 8:39 pm
I seem to have merited an impostor. No, the great and mystical Environ Mentalists said NOTHING about reusable bags back in the 1980s. I was there. They said plastic bags were the "ecological" alternative.
Posted by Ryan, a resident of the Whisman Station neighborhood, on Dec 5, 2012 at 9:26 pm
Just for the record: "single use" is a complete mis-characterization. I've always used plastic bags as garbage bags. That's OK though, I guess we'll just start paying money for larger plastic bags that actually are single use.
Posted by Modern Man, a resident of the Waverly Park neighborhood, on Dec 6, 2012 at 6:56 am
Who cares what anyone said back in 1980s. The issue is what is the right choice NOW. Back in the old days it was common to use blood letting as a medial treatment. I'm sure when they decided to stop doing it there was someone complaining about "These medical extremists kept telling us that blood letting was good!"
That does not make the reason to continue blood letting a good one, and it does not mean that they should have continued it.
Same with plastic bags...thought they might be good, but now the evidence shows otherwise. As times move on we discover that the old ways are not always the best ways and so we evolve and change. This obviously bristles those who are more resistant to change.
Posted by Now what, a resident of the Jackson Park neighborhood, on Dec 6, 2012 at 8:33 am
Seems to me the city council is all over the place on this thing...do they want to keep plastic bags out of the waterways? If so than why make grocers charge for paper bags? If they are trying to protect the environment than why aren't they concerned that all of the landfills will now be filled with plastic Hefty or Glad bags? If they want people to use re-usable bags for grocery shopping than this will definitely mean people will have to use Hefty/Glad bags for their trash. Seems to me the only people who benefit from this ban are the makers of plastic trash bags. Nice going city council!
Posted by Max Hauser, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 6, 2012 at 8:40 am Max Hauser is a member (registered user) of Mountain View Online
Of course it isn't the bags that determine if they're single-use, but users. "Single-use bags" is rhetorical spin. A pity that no one on the Council is reported pointing this out.
In my and other households, plastic store bags routinely do further duty, for later shopping, or wrapping trash (per city trash pick-up instructions). We'll now have to buy new bags for this, which then WILL have single use.
Anecdotes of entangled Mountain View birds may be sincere, but they're anecdotes -- demagoguery. Their authors could equally have offered anecdotes of (other people, if not themselves) responsibly re-using plastic bags.
Now if the data (not just rhetoric) still show discarded bags a problem, I guess we need regulations. But please let's keep them grounded in reality.
Posted by gcoladon, a resident of the Slater neighborhood, on Dec 6, 2012 at 10:02 am gcoladon is a member (registered user) of Mountain View Online
Could I pose a question to passionate the community here on this thread? I would have asked this in public comment, if I had been able to make the meeting, but I was only able to watch it on webcast.
If the problem with plastic bags is that they end up in waterways etc and need to be cleaned up, what if we totalled up the amount of time & money it costs to do all the bag cleanup here in the county or the bay area, and divided that by the number of bags that are handed out, and added a surcharge to each bag that's handed out that would cover the cost of the cleanup?
Adding such a charge would very likely reduce use of the plastic bags, in addition to 'internalizing' the externalities associated with plastic bag use. The surcharge could be updated periodically to correctly cover the costs associated with plastic bag use.
A similar alternative would be to charge merchants a bulk surcharge on the purchase of plastic bags for distribution. This would move the incentive to reduce & reuse from the consumer to the merchant, but perhaps be easier to account for than a per-sale surcharge.
I personally use reusable bags or my hands almost every time I shop. But I respect that other people may have their own reasons for doing differently. And, I admonish checkout clerks that don't ask if I want a bag for that one item I bought before putting it in a plastic bag. I encourage everyone who cares about the environment to take a similar stand when you're out 'in the world'.
Posted by mom, a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood, on Dec 6, 2012 at 2:19 pm
So now instead of using plastic grocery bags for garbage and dog waste, I am going to have to buy plastic bags for these purposes. How does this save the environment? I think it just saves Safeway, Target, etc., the cost of supplying the bags and makes money for Glad and Hefty, but does not actually benefit the environment because I'm still using the same amount of plastic.
Posted by AC, a resident of another community, on Dec 6, 2012 at 4:22 pm AC is a member (registered user) of Mountain View Online
Just to respond to an earlier comment, let me please reiterate that I really don't have a problem with the decision that was made.
I have a problem with *how* it was made.
And I will agree that the "education didn't work". We better find a way to make it work; because there is more issues than plastic bags that is impacted by this.
With regard to this issue, I wouldn't ban plastic bags personally. I'd make them expensive to use. Although less expensive than Glad or Hefty. Every third or forth shopping trip, I'd ante up a few cents per bag and use them for dog doo and garbage bags, and use my canvas bags (which of course I do have) all the rest of the time. Less money to me, preserves my right to choose, but I have to pay for it. I'm cool with pay-to-play.
The idea of calculate the clean-up cost of plastic bags, take the number, divide by bags, and pass the cost to the consumer seems to make sense to me too.
I think "education doesn't work" because we don't illustrate the consequences; and then when we don't own up to the consequences, we make rules to skirt around the issue.
As a society, it seems to me that we're into convenience, and not so hot on consequences. I think of that as the root problem for a lot of things.
Posted by Political Insider, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Dec 7, 2012 at 6:30 am
After watching the tape, I don't believe Mr. Debolt really captured the arguments very well. Most of the council majority basically said, I don't use bags, I dont like bags and if this is true for me, then it should be true for you, so lets ban them. I think that's why Means made the point about intolerance towards people who do use plastic bags and do believe they are not that harmful to the environment when compared to the alternative of paper. In fact the representative from Sam Mateo, admitted as much. Their EIR did not perform a benefit cost analysis because it probably would have confirmed other government studies (which were conveniently excluded) that show lower GHG's for carrier plastic bags than paper and most types of reusable bags. His comments about ignoring costs and claiming the study only estimates environmental impacts without measuring costs and ignoring all other impacts seemed to make the EIR a useless document for good decision making. As others have noted, most of the council make their decisions based on their personal preferences ( I dont like this type of housing, or restaurant or smoking) and some people think that's OK as long as they align with mine.
I thought Inks made the best arguments. He didnt let his own personal opinion about plastic bags limit him in searching for the truth and making a decision in the best interests of all residents. My own personal opinion is that people will now bear the costs and inconveniences of choosing more expensive alternatives which will be more harmful to the environment in terms of GHG's but not as visible. We may not see as many carrier bags but will have more paper and cloth in landfills.
Kudos to others who see the silliness of banning one type of single use bag while several other types are on the shelves in the store to sell.
Posted by Old Ben, a resident of the Shoreline West neighborhood, on Dec 7, 2012 at 9:17 am
"Go on a beach or waterway cleanup. Just one.
"Oh yeah, you will also end up being in favor of banning cigarettes. ALL OF THEM. Forever and ever. Hell, I've gone to Surfrider beach cleanups and picked up fifty cigarette butts and 20-30 plastic bags in the parking lot -- before I stepped foot on the beach. And yes, that stuff gets blown into the water."
Posted by Don't know how I'll surive it all, a resident of the Blossom Valley neighborhood, on Dec 7, 2012 at 2:35 pm
I'm laughing (a lot) at the same curmudgeons I see day after day, complaining about any change or evolution our little society 'round these parts takes. Today its trash-denial tomorrow it will be some anti-bike rant, and the next day, oh, who knows, maybe _something_ that will equate to "socialism" in their eyes and a chance for them to use some catch phrase like "Nanny-state"
Posted by Old Ben, a resident of the Shoreline West neighborhood, on Dec 7, 2012 at 3:09 pm
It depends on the change. In the past thirty years, Reaganomics has set Labor back about 500 years, we've seen the smoking ban extend from airplanes and restaurants to streets, parks, and beaches, we're at war with every country that didn't get a Hannukah card from Ariel Sharon, foreign invaders have bankrupted Medi-Cal and nearly every aspect of our flimsy social benefits system, the USA has endorsed torture as a valid method of interrogation, and most of the Bill Of Rights voided by the ironically named PATRIOT Act.
All of this happened incrementally. So I hope you'll forgive me if I am skeptical about any other great ideas that our Dear Leaders have in store for us.
Posted by Old Ben, a resident of the Shoreline West neighborhood, on Dec 7, 2012 at 5:21 pm
Mike, the smoking ban is local, unscientific, and ridiculous, as is the ban on carrying ANYTHING for self-defense except pepper spray unless you are a campaign donor and can obtain a CCW through Santa Clara County's remarkably corrupt political system.
Pepper spray is a joke, I emptied a can of it into an attacking crackhead's face in Brooklyn some years ago. All it did was aggravate him further.
The government has no business micromanaging our lives. Mountain View City Council is pretty much a pack of tax parasites in bed with real estate developers and other modern-day robber barons. They come up with these idiotic bans to make it look like they're doing something. I haven't seen the kind of corruption that this county revels in since I left New Jersey.
Posted by Look ahead, a resident of the Jackson Park neighborhood, on Dec 7, 2012 at 9:50 pm
Anyone who questions a smoking ban these days needs his head (and lungs) examined. Your right to pollute went away when we all got so close together that your exhale became my inhale. Plastic bags will probably be similar in another decade or so.
Posted by Don't know how I'll surive it all, a resident of the Blossom Valley neighborhood, on Dec 8, 2012 at 6:55 am
There they are! The curmudgeons triplets! Always posting at about the same time. Hmm, interesting. Anyway, your anger and thinly veiled threats/jokes about murdering public officials is always fun reading. You rock angry man! (or men)
Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community, on Dec 11, 2012 at 1:51 pm
Things to point in the day of banning plastic bags. Reusable cloth bags that you put in your car or over a door hook. Grab before you go out, I put mine over my doorknob. Dog poop, I have seen dog pop gloves, put them in your pocket or purse, leave some in your trunk. Why not allow 2 free plastic bags, the rest you have to pay for.
We are a growing a planet, we only have so much space, yet we expect to have space for our trash, our food, our water, and other resources. Yet we want to have our cars, our homes, our leisure, our jobs and our resources.
Years ago I remember reading a story about Shoreline Park, they dug a hole for reason that had something to do with the dump. I remember looking at the photo and seeing all those white plastic bags.
Posted by Laura, a resident of the Waverly Park neighborhood, on Dec 11, 2012 at 3:44 pm
Personally and a lot of people I know use our plastic bags multiple times..NEVER single use. I line all me garbage cans with them and do not change out till they are soiled. Now I will have to "purchase" plastic bags, and still you have plastics going into the environment... Tell me how this is helping the environment, really?
Posted by PV Resident, a resident of another community, on Dec 12, 2012 at 4:50 pm
I live in Palo Alto and we have had no plastic bags for some time. I enjoy the fact that I have been able to get plastic bags in Mountain View as I use them all the time. They are so useful to me, carrying things in wet weather being one of them.
I can guarantee that no bags I have acquired in Mountain View have been allowed to get into the creeks or the Bay. However, I have on many occasions seen badly packed garbage trucks on the highway with a steady stream of trash flying out the back and this is probably where a great deal of garbage comes from that ends in the Bay or the creeks.
If you really want to do something useful, ban double wrappers on bread. It is completely unnecessary to have double wrapped bread, one bread bag per loaf would suffice. Then these bags can be used for dogwalking or putting diapers or messy garbage in before putting them in the cans.