Saturday, January 5, 2013


I was contacted by a PR firm that represents plastic recyclers to alert me of the slew of plastic bag bans that take effect this year in CA. I just can't believe how stupid CA'ians are.  Well, not all of them.  And I wouldn't doubt that the vast majority of people are really against the bag bans.  But that is just a guess.  It's my need to find some optimism.

Chico City:

The City Council voted 5-2 to draft an ordinance to control plastic bag pollution in Chico. Mayor Mary Goloff, Vice-Mayor Scott Gruendl, and Councilmembers Ann Schwab, Randall Stone, and Tami Ritter voted in favor, with Councilmembers Sean Morgan and Mark Sorensen opposed. The vote came after lively public comment in which several Chico residents spoke out in support of a plastic bag ban.
Alameda County:
As of January 1, 2013, single-use plastic bags will no longer be available at most stores that sell packaged food in Alameda and other communities throughout Alameda County. Stores will also be required to charge a minimum of 10¢ for each paper or reusable bag.

Stores will still be permitted to provide free plastic produce bags to protect and transport produce, bulk food or meat.

Restaurants and food establishments are exempt from the ordinance.

The Reusable Bag Ordinance was adopted by the Alameda County Waste Management Authority in January 2012.
 Laguna Beach:
Laguna Beach is the first city in Orange County to enact a plastic bag ban and joins a host of others such as Pasadena and Long Beach in prohibiting single-use plastic bags in store checkout lines. Los Angeles is in the process of phasing out plastic bags. As of Jan. 1, most retail stores in the beach city of about 22,000 are prohibited from providing customers with single-use plastic bags. Bags used for produce or meat are exempt, according to the city’s website.
Well, there are others.  But what's the point?

Oh, and the title about mercury pollution?  Damn straight!  Since the vast majority of reusable woven grocery bags are made in China, you are paying to pollute the USA with MERCURY.   How, you may ask?  The main source of power in China is coal power plants.  The emissions from the CHINESE COAL POWER PLANTS find their way....HERE!

At a time when U.S sources of mercury into the Great Lakes are dropping, the volume of the same pollutant coming from China is on the rise, experts say. China is second to the U.S. in terms of contributing mercury into the Great Lakes basin, according to scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Here's another article, albeit a little old.  All it does is show us that we've known for sometime that a LOT of China's mercury emissions were coming here.

Mass quantities of air pollutants from China, including mercury discharged from traditional coal-fired power plants, are travelling to places as far away as the US, according to the US environment agency.

“That is the most direct impact [of China’s pollution] on the United States,” Stephen Johnson, head of the US Environmental Protection Agency, told the FT. Mr Johnson said the EPA had traced high levels of “mercury deposition” in the US to China and India. Mercury is a highly-toxic heavy metal that damages the human nervous system.
Of course, there are LOTS of things that are made in China that are sold here.  But so what?  Trying to find an alternative to, say a radio or TV or christmas tree ornaments made in the USA are difficult to come by.  But with plastic bags we have a real alternative choice.  We CAN discourage the buying of Chinese made reusable woven bags by offering PE bags here.  Why in the world do we want to contribute MORE to the pollution of our rivers and streams with mercury?  Personally, I find this hypocritical and appalling.  Way to go enviro-idiots!!

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