No Fan of the Ban: Why We Are Paying 5 Cents Per Bag Starting Jan. 1

bag-litter-575x323 If you went to the store yesterday, you probably noticed that you were charged 5 cents for each plastic bag you grabbed to bag your groceries. Even worse: if you use the auto check outs like I do, the system was still a little messed up as it tried to determine the weight of your personal bag and figure out if you needed to be charged for store plastic bags and if so, how much. I was against this bag ban from the beginning, and most shoppers I encountered yesterday were as well. Lord knows what newcomers here will think. The problem is really litter and sloppy people. Why not fine people for littering rather than cause all of us an inconvenience and re-configuring of systems? Here is the wonderful Teresa Gubbins’ (CultureMap) take: love this girl, but don’t agree with her 100%. Honestly, I did not know folks were trying to blame this on President Obama! I thought it was all Dwaine Caraway. True, about 150 other cities and the looney state of California already do this, but that also means a whole lot more do not: there are about 20,000 cities in this country, and 48 other states. Here are Teresa’s myths, with my two cents added in. Which is probably all it’s worth.

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Myth #1: It is our constitutional and/or God-given right to get free plastic bags at the grocery store. Being forced to pay a nickel for a plastic bag or bringing your own bag to the store is indeed a giant inconvenience. It’s possibly another step in our inexorable decline into a nanny state, where we are forced to consider someone or something besides ourselves. Ick. Having the freedom to get our groceries packed for us in plastic, that we can callously, even gleefully, toss aside minutes later, is surely an inalienable right? But disappointingly, there is no provision regarding plastic bags in the Constitution or the Bible.

Candy’s Debunking Myth#1:

Of  course it’s not a constitutional right to get free bags, but independance and commerce are fiercely built into the American fabric. As is self-reliance. I have never tossed a plastic garbage bag in my life, and neither have my children, if they valued their lives. Why can people not dispose of things appropriately? Why do we have to be slobs and who raises children to foster this? You finish an apple, you put the core in the garbage. Ditto any sort of waste, including condoms. You recycle paper and plastic products appropriately. (And you are kind to animals!) We re-used our plastic garbage bags as wastebasket liners or for other uses until we disposed of them. Appropriately. The problem IS that we are becoming a nanny-state, Teresa, because we are becoming a bunch of lazy slobs who cannot pick up after ourselves. Passing this law will not change that.

Myth #2: You will be forced to carry your groceries home one item at a time. Wah if there are no free plastic bags, how can we get out groceries from Point A (the supermarket) to Point B (our refrigerator)? Good news: Plastic bags are still available! They’ll just cost you 5 cents. As well as an entire array of sack-like objects people have used over the centuries to transport goods. You could put them in a knapsack. A large bandanna. A box. There are even reusable bags, made of canvas or recycled plastic, which you can bring with you when you enter the store. (There’s no getting past the fact that bringing your own bag makes you look like a pussy or, worse, like someone who thinks ahead.)

Candy’s Debunking Myth #2:

Good points. I did this yesterday. But these are thicker plastic bags, and some are even canvas, and what will we do when the lazy slobs who dumped the plastic bags everywhere dump these?

Myth #3: This law is a plot by President Barack Obama. President Obama did not have a personal hand in the bag law in Dallas, nor the laws passed in Austin, Santa Fe, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, San Francisco or the entire state of California. He’s too busy turning our country into a socialist republic. He doesn’t have time for little things like plastic bags.

Candy’sDebunking Myth #3:

Not going to argue this one with you at all –cough cough ACA — but the blame should be on Dwaine Caraway. And Teresa my love, people are moving here from California in droves for reasons like this silly bag ban. Keep piling on the regulations, and maybe they’ll go elsewhere? I mean, Toyota did chose Plano over Dallas.

Myth #4: This will destroy the economy in Dallas. There are surely many shoppers, like agitated commenter Amber on this Dallas Morning News story, who says, “Will be shopping in cities that surround the City of Dallas. Done!!” But if you factor in the cost of driving to a neighboring city, you’re spending additional $1-$2 on gas. To save 5 cents. But that’s OK, Amber!! You’ve made your point!!

Candy’s Debunking Myth #4:

It’s already happening — everyone’s moving up north to Plano and Frisco. Cough cough, Toyota. Gas is so cheap right now, some people MIGHT actually do this. But you are right, it will not be convenient to drive outside of Dallas to shop. I will still frequent my Central Market/Whole Foods?Tom Thumb circuit and bring my own bags. They have been in my car since this law passed. I have been trying to change the HABIT of not carrying them in along with my purse, cell phone, etc. etc. It’s OK. I have always wanted to be a Bag Lady.

Myth #5: Plastic bags were previously free. The price of plastic bags has always been factored into the price of groceries, not to mention what you pay in taxes to civil servants to clean them up. You’ve been paying for plastic bags all along! Sucker.

Candy’s Debunking Myth #5:

Sucker? First of all, the price of plastic bags will STILL be figured into the price of groceries, only now we will pay twice. (Kind of like with the ACA — whoops!) Central Market told me yesterday they will not be charging extra for the bags — they use paper and will be absorbing the cost. Paying those civil servants to clean them up should not come from shoppers but from beating fining the slobs who make the mess. But our lovely, lazy City of Dallas never bothered to enforce those laws. Fine people who litter? It’s too hard. Remember the pig blood in the Trinity? 

 It’s far easier just to deprive society of plastic bags altogether, much like, if one child cannot behave on the school bus, the whole class stays behind. It’s corporal punishment. That’s what bugs me about this bag ban. I’m not a fan.. If you REALLY want to do something for the environment, ban styrofoam cups and packing materials. Those are far worse, make an even bigger mess, and could be carcinogenic! Styrofoam also doesn’t biodegrade. Thank God they stopped using them at Cooper Fitness Center! The other day I saw books on Preston Road in the street, many of them run over by cars. Seems some slob had moved and one of the cartons containing books fells off the truck. Does this mean the Dallas City Council will next ban books?

8 Comment

  • instead of implementing this bag tax which was ill-conceived, poorly planned and hated by the majority why not start an anti-littering campaign similar to Don’t Mess with Texas. this is about changing peoples’ habits.
    Will the city be gathering evidence to see if the ordinance is effective or not? how will they measure it? if the ordinance doesn’t work after a year’s time will the city repeal it?

  • A Survey on the Economic Effects of Los Angeles County’s Plastic Bag Ban
    http://www.ncpa.org/pub/st340

  • Plastic bags were always a bad idea. And paper sacks also. IMO Even when I lived in Europe in the 70’s they brought and reused their own bags. Disposable bags of any kind are bad. But that is just the tip of the problem. The over use of packaging for food and other consumer goods are horribly over used. It would be nice if Americans would take responsibility and recycle but our society is not like that. Not the majority anyway. We are wasteful. And quick to blame the party we did not vote for. Sadly nanny state is what it will become because most people have to be forced to take responsibility to do the right thing, especially if it causes a minor inconvenience in their Cush life.

  • Candy we need a talk show!
    This law isn’t just about litter in our yards. Plastic never goes away. It’s ruining our oceans, destroying the planet, and killing off wildlife, especially marine animals, and in VERY cruel circumstances. I know you’re an animal lover!
    Americans use and then throw away 100 billion plastic shopping bags each year. It takes at least 12 million barrels of oil to manufacture a year’s worth. The average American family takes home 1500 bags a year.
    It’s wasteful, unnecessary and we have to stop.
    This law isn’t the best. But it’s a step in the right direction. I think it’s the best thing Dwaine Caraway ever did.

    • mm

      Teresa, I would love a talk show with you! We would have a blast! I hear you. The plastic rings choking the ducks! AWFUL! What about all those plastic cups the airlines use? And all the convenience food packaging? I confess: I use them to line my parrot cage. Have you seen the research that plastic bags are better for the environment than reusable or paper bags? “For an equivalent amount of groceries, production of paper bags requires three times as much total energy and recovers only 1 percent of that energy through combustion. Paper bags also produce substantially more landfill waste. For an equivalent amount of groceries, single-use plastic bags produce 15.5 pounds of waste while paper bags produce nearly 75 pounds of waste.”

      Paper bags also produce more greenhouse gases. Plastic bags generate 68 percent fewer greenhouse gases than composted paper bags. Plastic bags consume 71 percent less energy during production than paper bags. Reusable bags may be the worst of all. Such bags need to be used 104 times to be less polluting than plastic bags. However, such bags are used only 52 times on average.”

      I do think one can find statistics to support just about anything. Maybe we should look to the Amish. I’m ready to trade in my Hybrid for a horse and buggy — we will be off the highways. We will pick you up head to Farmer’s Market!

      • I have seen the paper versus plastic. I think the real goal is: neither. I have at least 50 canvas bags in my trunk, I can offload a few onto you at our market rendezvous. Someone told me today that in Austin, it’s become a status thing as to where your reusable bags come from! “God forbid you take a Wal-Mart bag into Central Market, that will get you all kinds of side eye,” she said.