Tacoma’s plastic bag ban is environmentally meaningless

Dec 15, 2015, 11:25 PM | Updated: Dec 16, 2015, 8:59 am

Can we stop pretending that plastic bags are significantly hurting the environment? KIRO Radio's Jason Rantz asks.(AP)


Not content at being one of the few remaining cities making life easier for shoppers, Tacoma is considering a plan to ban plastic bags which would make them the 14th Washington community to ban the shopping bags. And it’ll likely pass.

Kristin Lynett with Tacoma’s office of environmental policy and sustainability says that in a survey of 1,300 Tacoma residents, more people than not want the city to do something about plastic bags.

And &#8211 as is typically the case in surveys designed to get you to take a certain position &#8211 on the City of Tacoma’s website and survey on the topic, they set it up with a three-paragraph explanation as to why plastic bags are evil.

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In fact, unless I’m missing something, there’s not a single line on the entire page leading into the survey that explains why one might not want to ban plastic bags.

If you want an honest answer from the survey, rather then essentially polluting the survey results by showing your bias, why not present both sides of the argument? Why pretend you care about what the people think? You don’t &#8211 you don’t think they’re smart enough to make up their own mind, so you have to propagandize them into taking your side.

And there are a ton of reasons why a plastic bag ban is wrong, and we can start with the obvious: plastic bags are convenient and reusable. How many of you use the bag to pick up after your dog; or to line the small trash bins you have in the office; or to throw out items you can’t recycle.

It’s nonsense to believe that when you stop using bags the environment is saved. Most of you will end up using the paper bags.

It turns out that paper bags take a higher toll on the environment because of the impact of timber harvesting and pulp production on the forests you’re chopping down the trees for.

And the best paper bags are apparently made of young trees because their fibers are stronger. And if you’re getting recycled paper bags, it’s not very strong, which might account for why Whole Foods always double bags my groceries.

Now, is it true that using a reusable bag is the best for the environment? Sure. But how many of us actually remember to bring the little tote bags? I have a closet full of reusable bags I used once because I keep forgetting to bring them, I go to the store and buy a replacement one because you guilt trip me. It doesn’t work.

And can we stop pretending that plastic bags are significantly hurting the environment? The President didn’t just announce the global climate change deal means a global ban on plastic bags.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
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