Letter to the Editor

Lift the ban

Dear Editor:

Like several dozen towns and cities, Boston has enacted a ban on plastic shopping bags.  The ban went into effect on Dec. 14. I am surprised that the “progressives” that run the council didn’t enact it on Dec. 16, just to add insult to injury.   Despite the facts, plastic bags have gotten a bad rap, here are some facts that folks should know about the “evil” plastic bag:

Plastic shopping bags made in the U.S. are made from natural gas. (The Democrats that ran Boston a generation ago cared about the American worker.)

EPA data shows that plastic bags make up only 0.5 percent of the U.S. municipal waste stream.

Plastic bags are 100 percent reusable and recyclable. 

Plastic grocery bags require 70 percent less energy to manufacture than paper bags

The production of plastic bags consumes less than 4 percent of the water needed to make paper bags.

It takes seven trucks to deliver the same number of plastic bags that it takes to transport plastic bags in only one truck.

Reusable and paper bags take up more space that a plastic bag in a landfill.  Paper bags take up nine times as much space as a plastic bag.

Plastic bags produce fewer greenhouse gasses per use than paper or cotton bags.

A reusable bag must be used no less than 132 times before having a “greener” environmental impact that a plastic grocery bag.

Most reusable bags are made in China and Vietnam. 

It takes more energy to transport a reusable bag than it does to transport a bag made in the United States.

Reusable bags are made from heavier and thicker plastic or cotton which takes up more energy to produce.

Reusable bags aren’t recyclable, and reusable bag giveaways are environmentally costly when unwanted bags end up in the dumpster, often after one use.

Research from Arizona has determined that few people wash their reusable grocery shopping bags, 8 percent of reusable bags harbor E. coli, and nearly all unwashed bags harbor other pathogenic bacteria.

Some stores have seen declines in business. One Solana Beach, CA business saw a 25 percent decline in business following the implementation of the ban.

A Grocery Outlet Store told a Portland, Oregon newspaper that they have lost over $10,000 to shoplifters using a reusable bag, and stores are reporting a loss in grocery baskets due to the ban.

Following Seattle’s ban, store owners surveyed post-ban reported seeing their costs for carryout bags increased between 40 and 200 percent.

The City of Boston implemented this ban in defiance of the U.S. Constitution Article 1, Section, 8, Clause 3, the Commerce Clause, and the Massachusetts Constitution, amend art. 2, which prohibits municipalities from enacting ‘private or civil law governing civil relationships.  But entities like the International Council on Local Environmental Initiative (ICLEI), a United Nations subdivision founded in 1990 to implement the goals of Agenda 21, now called Agenda 2030, Massachusetts Green Communities, and Vision Boston 2030 have deemed the plastic bag a public enemy despite the above-mentioned facts.  Bad science and emotionalism lead to bad law. 

What do to:

Contact the City Council, and demand that the ban be lifted. 

Refuse to pay the 5 to 10 cents per bag that the city forces store owners to charge.

Encourage store owners to fight the ban.  If enough of them worked together, this ban could be overturned. The Texas Supreme Court overturned the bans on plastic bags.

Readers are welcomed to contact me by E-mail:  [email protected]

Hal Shurtleff

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