Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bag Ban Needs One Last Push

The Gazette Times reported the BIG news that plastic bags are banned.
It must be true, right? NO, it’s not true—yet.

Next Tuesday, the G-T may have an opposite headline: "Plastic bags NOT banned." To avoid that, we need to get to work. And, I'll need your help.

In order for the ordinance to pass, we just need 5 Councilors to vote yes. If we pack the room with supporters, it will happen. So, let’s do it.

When: July 2, 2012 at 6:00 P.M.
Where: Downtown Fire Station (400 NW Harrison Blvd.)
Why: Ban the Bag in Corvallis

At the last meeting Councilor O'Brien, an opponent of the bag ban, voted yes to ban the bag because he didn't ever want to see the Bag Monster again. So come see the Bag Monster remind Councilor O'Brien that if he votes yes, she will go home :)

Many OSU students have done their part to move this forward. Now's the time for one last push!

Talking points:

Reasons to Ban Paper Bags:
  • Wastes Resources. Single-use, disposables of any type is a wasteful use of valuable resources. Respecting the natural world and its natural resources is an important ethic to encourage.
  • Switch to Reusable Bags. When the local Sierra Club submitted the ordinance the title was “Encouraging Reusable Bags and Prohibiting the Use of Single-Use Plastic Carryout Bags.” They chose that title for a good reason. Switching to more sustainable reusable bags is the goal.
  • Many Cities are Banning Bags. In California, there are 42 cities and 6 counties that have plastic bag bans. All have a price requirement except for 4 cities. In Washington, five of six cities have passed a plastic bag ordinance.
  • Business Support. Corporations and businesses are not automatically against sustainability or environmental concerns. Sixty local downtown Corvallis businesses and the Northwest Grocery Association (which represents the large grocers) have signed letters of support for the ordinance. This is a testimony to the fact that this ordinance is both good business and good environmental stewardship. Business interests and environmental interests are not naturally in opposition.
  • An Incentive Cost on Paper Bags: This accomplishes many goals, and prevents negative outcomes such as the following:
  1. Costs will Rise. Paper bags are more expensive than plastic. Without a pass-through fee on paper, the grocer’s paper bag costs will go up, which will be passed onto the customer in higher merchandise costs.
  2. Single-use Habit Not Changed. Studies have shown that people go from single-use plastic to single-use paper. This does not change the single-use issue.
  3. Less incentive for Reusable Bags. Without a pass-through cost, people have less incentive to go to reusable bags.
  4. Disposable ethic reinforced. “Free” single-use items reinforce our wasteful, disposable ethic. Without a cost for paper, it does little to change the culture around the use of disposable shopping bags.* Making the cost apparent will start to turn this around.
  5. Environmental Impact. With "free" single-use paper bags, it makes non-plastic more acceptable. Therefore people move to single-use paper bags, despite potentially higher environmental and GHG impacts even when paper bags are recycled.

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