The Plastic Bag Lives On!

500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags every y...

Image by greenhem via Flickr

Next time I visit California I can use a plastic bag without fear of getting thrown into jail.  California lawmakers rejected a bill Tuesday that would have made the state the first in the nation to ban all plastic shopping bags.  It’s an update to one of my posts (“Ban Plastic Bags?  Walking The Dog Won’t Be The Same”).

I remember when the only choice at the grocery store was paper. Then came the question, “Would you like paper or plastic?” You were doing a good deed when you chose plastic because it meant saving a tree. I didn’t go over to the plastic side for years (despite growing up in Oregon, where some people would die to save a tree), but finally gave in. Now, they say plastic is bad for the environment. Environmentalists argue they’re tough to recycle and encourage oil drilling because bags are made from petroleum. Are these the same environmentalists who would climb and chain themselves to giant trees in Oregon to keep them from being chopped down?

Those who opposed the bill said it would have added an extra financial burden on consumers and businesses already facing tough times.  However, the bill’s author Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, said “(California) uses 19 billion plastic bags a year… We use them for 10 minutes and it takes 1000 years to break down.”

I asked Michael Patton, executive director of Tulsa’s Metropolitan Environmental Trust, if the plastic bag debate will ever reach the fever pitch in Oklahoma like we’re seeing in California.  “Probably not,” he says, “we’re an oil producing state.”  Patton encourages people who use plastic bags to find more ways to re-use them.

And that leads right into my top uses for the plastic bag.  Check out #1.  Plastic is still the best for picking up your dog’s #2.

One Comment on “The Plastic Bag Lives On!

  1. This article is ignorant and sad. Frankly I’m shocked your a news reporter and didn’t do any investigation about this issue, at least none that is presented here. Instead this article debates the issue like a 5 year old.

    All industries grow and changed with time. They are replaced by better more useful products. Why on Earth are we refusing to let the same thing happen to the plastic bag industry and deny Americans green jobs?! It doesn’t make sense! It’s called progress, and it happens to every industry. More info available at:

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