Plastic Bag Insanity

by Dave Blount | January 31, 2017 1:19 pm

Authoritarian moonbattery has reached such an extreme in California that the wonderfully useful single-use plastic bag has been banned. Stores are still allowed to provide you with paper or reusable bags to carry your purchases, but are required to charge at least 10¢.

Justifications for this petty tyranny range from ridiculous to absurd:

Liberals in San Francisco proclaimed that the city’s ban would reduce global warming and America’s reliance on foreign oil. Yet only about 3% of plastic bags are produced using oil, according to a 2014 report from the Reason Foundation. Most are made from natural gas, which is now cheap and abundant in the U.S. Many reusable bags, on the other hand, are derived from oil, and produced in Asia to boot.

Research has shown that paper, cloth and reusable bags produce many times more greenhouse-gas emissions over their life cycles. A 2011 study performed for the United Kingdom’s Environmental Agency found that a paper bag, compared with a plastic one, was 3.3 times worse in terms of greenhouse gases. The study also found that paper bags resulted in more water and air pollution.

As for the litter pretext,

Turns out plastic bags make up a tiny share of litter, less than 1% in most cities, according to a 2013 survey by Environmental Resources Planning. A 2009 litter survey by Keep America Beautiful found that plastic bags make up less than 1% of objects caught in storm drainers.

Yet moonbats have decided that plastic bags are politically incorrect, so they must be banned. Shoppers are expected to pack their groceries into laughably inefficient not to mention unsanitary cloth bags instead. The result is disease:

A 2012 study by two university academics found that emergency-room admissions in San Francisco from food-borne illnesses surged after the city imposed its ban.

As with all authoritarian moonbattery, an economic price must be paid:

A 2012 study by the National Center for Policy Analysis found that Los Angeles County’s ban shifted commerce to incorporated cities where plastic bags remained free and legal. In the months after the ban passed, employment dropped by an average of 10.4% at grocery stores in the county’s unincorporated area.

Yet the California Grocers Association went along with the bag-banning insanity, largely because charging for bags will help them make up for the losses inflicted by a higher minimum wage.

As always, when Big Government grows too large, businesses collude, and it is the customer who pays.

Fortunately permitted to use plastic bags.

On a tip from Varla. Cross-posted at Moonbattery.

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