Every once in a while, researchers disconfirm yet once again an obsession of the "environmentalist wackos."
This time (yet once again), it's plastic shopping bags.
In the marketplace, consumers seem not to give one whit about the astounding claims that plastic shopping bags have dreadful impacts upon the environment, including that invisible floating island the size of California floating somewhere out there in the middle of Pacific Ocean that's composed of disposed of plastic water bottles. Those ignorant and Neanderthal consumers choose plastic bags not just more than paper or reusable bags but way more often.
Compared to paper and reusable bags, plastic bags are lightweight, strong enough yet flexible enough, and resistant to moisture. They also are easy to store and reusable for multiple purposes. For example, The Motley Monk uses his leftover plastic shopping bags for a variety of purposes until they finally wear out and end up for 100 years in a landfill.
But, The Motley Monk digresses.
"Damn those consumers!" the environmentalist wackos protest. "What about the scarce natural resources wasted to create those bags, the environmental harms caused when ignorant consumers dispose of the bags improperly, the visible blight of roadside litter, and the costs associated with disposing or recycling them?"
And then the environmentalist wackos do what agenda-driven ideologues do best because they are obsessed: They agitate local municipalities and states to enact laws to reduce and eliminate the use of those dangerous plastic bags. The environmentalist wackos don't care if the bags are banned outright or taxed. They want them gone.
Not surprisingly, there are unintended consequences to these policies that the environmentalist wackos didn't foresee and, quite frankly, don't really care about. For example, cost:
- In November 2010, Los Angeles County, CA, responded to the claims of the environmentalist wackos by outlawing retail use of thin-film polyethylene shopping bags.
- For the fiscal years 2010-2012, LA County had to cut $210M+ from its budget. But, thanks to the pressure tactics of the environmentalist wackos, those cuts didn't include solid waste collection or disposal.
- So, spending on solid waste rose 30.17% between 2006-2007 and 2011-2012, with projected spending rising 5.9% from 2011-2012 to the adopted budget for 2012-2013.
In fact, an examination of the plastic bag bans and budgets for litter collection and waste disposal in San Francisco, San Jose, and the City and County of Los Angeles in CA, of Washington, DC, and in Brownsville and Austin, Texas, demonstrates no evidence of a reduction in costs attributable to reduced use of plastic bags.
According to H. Sterling Burnett of the National Center for Policy Analysis, in locales that have adopted plastic bag bans, fees, or taxes, there's scant evidence that banning or taxing them reduces waste disposal costs and saves money. Burnett notes that those asserting these claims ought to provide evidence to back their claims up. However, the environmentalist wackos have rarely attempted to do so. And when they have, Burnett observes, the evidence demonstrates their claims are questionable at best.
"Ban 'em. Tax 'em. And if that doesn't work, tax 'em more! Just get rid of them!" That's the mantra.
Those environmentalist wackos sure are obsessed...sort of like those Catholics who are accused of being obsessed with abortion, divorce, and homosexuality, no?
Let the discussion begin...
To read H. Sterling Burnett report, click on the following link:
"Do Bans on Plastic Grocery Bags Save Cities Money?"