“Reusable” Plastic Bags?!

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Many cities across California are now banning the use of “single use carryout plastic bags” due to various environmental, economic, and health concerns. Plastic bag manufacturers are now pursuing various loopholes and green washing techniques in the bag ban laws as means to continue the use of their environment destroying chemically derived plastic bags. One example of this is in the Los Angeles County Bag Ban. Specific wording in the law defines “reusable” bags as being over 2.25 millimeters thick and capable of enduring at least 125 uses including withholding 22 pounds over a distance of 175 feet each use. While it is yet unclear whether these “reusable” plastic bags can withstand those conditions, most stores in the city of Los Angeles have satisfied the “single use plastic carryout bag ban” by providing their customers with these so called “reusable” bags. These range from anywhere between free to 15 cents. We realized that they most commonly sold for 10 cents each, putting them on par with the paper bags that were supposed to replace them, however, due to the wording in the law, which was intended to assist people in making them more environmentally minded, allows stores to provide customers with reusable bags for free. This was added in as a measure to try and assist, but it is now backfiring as the plastics industry and stores are now taking advantage of this loophole. Now instead of removing plastic bags, we have adapted to thicker plastic bags, which might be able to endure more uses but have even greater environmental consequences than the notorious thin, flimsy single use plastic bags. These bags are not “eco-friendly” as the plastic companies are making them out to be. These bags are just as harmful if not even worse on our environment and marine life. We are trying to advocate grocery store shoppers to always bring cloth, canvas, or other durable reusable bags and refuse the “eco-friendly” thicker plastic and also urge the city to close this loophole.

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