Paper or Plastic…How About Neither?

We live and operate in a world of options.  When we visit the grocery store we can choose paper, plastic, go bagless, or even bring our own bag.  Traditionally, this decision has been made based on what one considers to be more earth-friendly.
In 2007 San Francisco was the first city to ban the use of plastic bags in grocery stores.  Since then, multiple cities throughout the United States have moved to impose a ban, tax, or campaign encouraging people to choose non-plastic options.
As momentum has continued toward the use of alternatives that reduce the use of plastic bags, one advocacy group, Save the Plastic Bag Coalition is making its name known in a higher court. The State Supreme Court has voted to review the case of Save the Plastic Bag Coalition v. City of Manhattan Beach.  The original decision by the Second District Court of Appeals in January 2010 ruled that the City of Manhattan Beach should have conducted an environmental impact report prior to adopting a ban on plastic shopping bags in the community.  This decision will no longer stand as valid.
Now, the city will argue that the original suit was brought  in an effort to continue the commercial interests of the coalition, which by law is not permissible under CEQA.  The city will also argue that the ban of plastic bags presents no harm to the environment.  The coalition has claimed there would be environmental impacts associated with the ban.
Plastic or Paper? Not as simple as it may seem.
What type of bags, if any, do you use?  Do you support plastic bag bans?
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This entry was posted in Environmental, Law, Pollution, Sustainability. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Paper or Plastic…How About Neither?

  1. inafutureage says:

    There was a good analysis on The Atlantic a month ago that pointed out that paper bags are energy intensive; that plastic bags are mainly a big risk in coastal areas; that reusable bags are often made in China and shipped across the ocean; and finally, that the biggest area to cut back is not the type of bag but rather the food and related packaging that is sold in the grocery store. I think the conclusion was that all options have their plus and minus; in the end, I try to use a reusable bag, but don’t necessarily favor plastic over paper; I recycle all bags, however.

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