Plastic bag bans don’t work
Editor, Gettysburg Times,
I had to respond the latest attempts of readers to encourage the ban of single use plastic bags. My recent move to New Oxford from Riverside, Calif. gives me a better understand than most on this topic.
I was there in 2016 when the official ban was put in place. Overnight, every grocery store, liquor store, convenience store and produce stand were required to charge 10 cents for each bag used. In its place was a bag of higher quality using at least 100 times the amount of plastic found in single use bags. The impact on me financially was minimal and I purchased bags every time I went to the store. However, I watched many times as those who did not have the means to really think about how many bags they could afford. I could tell it affected the way they shopped. In addition, I could see very few people actually bring the bags back to be re-used. In the event they did bring bags back, it caused a dramatic slow-down in the line so the bags could be re-opened and filled again.
It’s important to point out that the 10 cent fee was not returned to the government, it was kept by the store to offset their cost of the bags. Mind you, these bags cost about 3 cents to make and the store sells for 10 cents. I would have to say a 70 percent mark-up on anything in a grocery store is pretty good return on investment.
I don’t buy into the hype that plastic particles are floating around waiting to cause us harm. Plastics are doing far more good than harm and are found in almost everything used in our daily life. We need to stop the nonsense and allow people to do what they feel they need to do. If you feel you want to use reusable bags by all means, go ahead, but don’t make the rest of us pay because you think it will make a difference. By the way, plastic bags are still blowing around the Southern California area, three years after the ban went into effect.