Thursday, January 5, 2017

Bag Ban

After the insanity of the November election, most of the political focus in my circles has been on the presidential outcome.  However, it has to be mentioned that our state elections had some interesting outcomes.  California is notorious for having all sorts of propositions on the ballot each year.  All it takes to get on the ballot is 200 signatures, so a lot of what ends up on it are very narrow in scope and usually will benefit just one group (or even one person).  They are always convoluted and our ballot is enormous.  This year was the worse I've ever seen it.  Our election booklet was the size of a phonebook trying the explain the 17 propositions we were voting on.
California did legalize the use of marijuana for those 21years or older.  I will write about that one at a later time.
The state also voted to uphold the ban on single use plastic bags that was on the books from a previous election.  The ban required customers to provide their own bags or pay the store 10 cents per recyclable or biodegradable bag taken from the store.  I'm not too sure about the previous ban because some of our stores stopped using them and others didn't.  Some stopped using them and then started using them.  My regular grocery store didn't stop using them, so I didn't worry too much about it.  A yes in November's election meant the bag ban stood while a no rejected the ban entirely.  Our Earth seems to be suffocating by the abundance of trash/plastic, so the majority of California voted to keep it as it was which has opened my eyes to the bag ban.
The very next day, I am not kidding literally THE VERY NEXT DAY, every grocery store in California stopped giving out regular bags (plastic or paper) and were ready to sell the biodegradable ones.  What law ever voted on goes into play the very next day?!?!  The answer is none.  Government doesn't work that way.  Most of the ours start the following January 1 or even a year or two after the election.  This one though caught everyone off guard.  Droves of people showed up at their local grocery stores bagless (and a little irritated) that first week.  And even now, almost 2 months later, many of us still walk into those darn stores with our reusable bags sitting in the car.  Even worse, apparently the ban didn't really start the next day, but the grocery stores started it anyways in order to take the 10 cent per bag for themselves while everyone was forgetting their bags.  That was irksome.
I have been trying to use reusable bags for a few years now, but never did very well with it.  I have them, but unless I drape them over my body every time I drive the car I leave them in the car.  And since my store wasn't doing it previously for some reason, the habit never stuck.  Another issue I am having with the change is that I didn't use these single use bags only one time.  There are many uses for these bags once home, and while they eventually made their way to the trash, it was after an additional use or two.  Now we don't have them.  The new 10 cent bags are quite different - larger and thicker - so don't really work.  So now instead of lining my trashcans (or whatever) with the free store bags, I'm going to buy plastic trash bags from the store and eventually they will get thrownout.  It seems like maybe this proposition had a few business interests in mind, more so than the environment.
The bring your own bag things has slowed things down at the grocery store as well.  You send your BYOB bags down the conveyor belt and those who bag the groceries fiddle and fool with them because they don't sit up right and they fill them fuller than they ever filled the plastic bags.  The lines at the store have gotten much longer.
I've been eying these bags for awhile now, and finally broke down and bought them a couple of weeks ago.  The checkers comment on how much they like them and how much easier they are.
 They pull out and hang over the sides of the grocery cart.  You can then toss stuff inside while shopping.  Once finished, the groceries are very easy to grab from the cart.  From there the bagger (or checker or me) sets the items inside the bag without the inconvenience.
 On this shopping trip I was only grabbing some ingredients for cookies for a cookie swap and a couple of things I keep in the house.  The bags aren't very full in this case, but they are roomy enough for a big shopping trip.
 Once to the car, the bags slide right off the cart,  the handles are attached together, which closes the bag to keep everything inside.
I like them a lot!  Still leaving them in the car 50% of the time, but my percentage is growing.

While I'm almost a bleeding heart liberal, and I am very concerned about the environment, this ban has been a huge inconvenience.  It's HARD to do the right thing!


  1. Hmm-mmm. That took here overnight for people truly had to think if they really needed the plastic bag.
    I think it's the sequencing, the process of how we deal with the till that meant it really didn't matter where or when or into what you put the shopping.
    We put stuff into a trolley/cart, arrive at the till and put up the divider on the belt and put the groceries down. They are then scanned and slide off into a wedge shaped fall-off. Now you could be bagging at this point, and sometimes you have people there to do just that, but usually no. So all your stuff is scanned and then they ask you if you need bags.
    But putting everything back into the trolley is no great difficulty, nor is moving it from the trolley into the boot/trunk.
    The only move that requires a container to speed things up in the one from boot to fridge and it's as easy to sort into a basket at the boot as it is in the kitchen.
    But in truth, here, it was the 7c that did it. And it was an odd number, it required breaking a coin.
    And the real plus for us here is the absence of windblown Tesco bags all over gods creation.

    1. The time it takes is minimal really, just longer than it used to. Maybe it's a learning curve or what have you got the baggers. It's a first world problem for sure! My point being is that while I'm completely on board for it, it hasn't been very convenient for me. :). I can't tell you how many times (and I've seen others) walk into the store only remembering at checkout. Refusing to buy another freaking bag, we carry everything out to the car in our arms. I've started carrying a plastic shopping bag in my purse just in case.
      Rigby has found a hot spot on her leg that she just won't leave alone. Between my bronchitis and travels her activity has been limited which I think has manifested itself into needing to lick her leg raw. She has to wear the cone of shame now and she's just pathetic!

    2. Is it a bite from something, or is it a head thing. You being off for a bit

    3. I think it's from boredom. She's such an active dog, and I've been quite the opposite this break. It's happened before. A few days of the cone usually gets her to stop thinking of it, but it's such a pain and she thinks she's been incapacitated with it on.

  2. I've always considered myself an environmental fiscal conservative and probably would have voted to uphold the ban on plastic bags had it been on our ballot. But like you, I've pondered if it really was doing anyone any good other than the store owners. We have a chain of stores here in the midwest that charge by the bag unless you bring your own and I'm happy to bring my own. They hold more groceries and they tend to hold them better on the car ride home. With plastic bags, I have to repack them by the time I get home as my groceries are rolling everywhere, which is why the bread always goes up on a seat somewhere!

    We also reuse our plastic bags mostly with recycling since we have to separate out many things in plastic bags that you can see through. Eventually if we get too many, I stuff them all in one plastic bag and recycle them so they still don't end up in our landfills.

    I've always felt that plastic packaging is what is clogging up our landfills. Everything is wrapped for single use and the amount of cellophane and slick cardboard that goes in my trashcan feels staggering to me. After all the presents were opened a couple weeks ago, I had two trash bags full of nothing but packaging materials from the various gifts. I'm not sure of the solution since more things are being shipped all the time and things need to be protected.

    Anyway, a great post and a lot to chew on.

    1. You are right on the plastic packaging! It is on everything. And there's probably a great alternative out there but then the plastic people would lose money/jobs and that is never allowed to happen even if there's something better out there that would need employees. In this particular legislation there is an actual line item for how much $ the plastic bag companies would get if the ban was kept. This was noted to help keep jobs. It seems "we" can't just ever do something because it's the right thing to do, there's always so much placating that has to be done always gets in the way of the good.
      Anyhow, it's fine, just a change and change is hard for a little while. :)

  3. I would love to know where you got those awesome bags!!! I always take my own bags to the store, even though Maine doesn't have a bag ban (yet).

    1. Good for you. I tried way before this, but was so in the habit, now being forced to has thrown me for a loop. It'll be fine. :)
      Yes, the bags are great! I really like them better than the mish-mash I've been carrying around with me. I meant to link them, but they come from I will link above. They have a couple of different kinds - a pricier brand (the red was on sale when I bought it) and the website's brand. They're certainly more than the regular bag, but I was ok with that.

  4. I really like your bags! I've used my own for years now and have myself conditioned to always take them in the store. I put them on the back seat as soon as they're emptied so I'll have them on the next trip. While I think my grocery store's bags are cuter (with designs and prints) and they give me a 5 cent per bag credit for each one I bring in (whether it gets used or not), I really like WalMart's bags better since they're cloth and can be tossed in the washer to get sanitized.

    Even now, years after they've been in use at Walmart, I'll get the occasional checker that rolls eyes, sighs, or outright tells me she hates the cloth bags when checking. I normally just tell them I'll try to note not to get in their line the next time so I won't be a burden to them. (and that's when we're having a polite exchange about it!)

    Bottom line, though.... we still need plastic for garbage can liners, etc. and I'm not sure how much it's really helping the environment by using the cloth ones for the stores. I can remember growing up when we had our own incinerator in the back yard for paper items, and dumped "garbage" into a can that was recessed in the ground which the garbage men would come and empty each week. Of course that was before all that blasted shrink-wrapped hard plastic packaging that we all despise!

    1. Yes, the shopping bags are quite cute, aren't they?!?!
      I haven't dealt with anyone having a bad attitude about it at check out, but I guess that's because we have no choice here. I commend you for having done it without being required to. My footprint is fairly shallow as far as I can tell, that the plastic shopping bags I reused and eventually ended up in the recycling bin weren't doing too much damage. But I'm trying not to dwell too much on that. :)

  5. I would hate that rule.. I actually use my plastic grocery bags.. All those plastic grocery bags are reused as thrash around the house.. kept in my purse and the car as vomit bags. The ones with holes are recycled.. it saves me the cost of actual garbage bags.

    1. Yep! I agree...there are a lot of things to reuse them for.