Pop quiz time!
Which of these statements about grocery bags are true?
- Grocery bags make excellent storage receptacles for things that need to be recycled.
- Grocery bags make excellent storage receptacles for food scraps when you’re cooking.
- Grocery bags make excellent storage receptacles for poop when you take your dog for a walk.
- Grocery bags make excellent storage receptacles for transporting groceries from the store to your house.
- Grocery bags could soon be illegal in Los Angeles.
If you haven’t guessed already, all of them are true. That’s because people like Councilman Paul Koretz believe it’s their job to ban things. Things like stores using paper and plastic bags.
Yep, if the Los Angeles City Council has its way, it’ll soon be easier to buy weed than find plastic–or even paper!!!–bags. We’ll get into the irrational rationale behind this proposed bag ban in a moment. But first, here are some other things Councilman Koretz has helped to ban:
- The purchase of more than one gun per month. I don’t know if that’s even Constitutional.
- Cat declawing. Ditto.
- The open carrying of firearms. As if criminals are going to strap their gats in holsters, old West style.
Councilman Koretz is also trying to ban alcohol advertisements on city-owned property and is an opponent of digital billboards.
I found all of this nonsense in one Google search. Just imagine if I had a crack team of investigators.
Anyway, here’s why banning bags is nuts:
- Grocery bags are reusable. I, and many like me, find a plethora of uses for grocery bags, and only employ reusable ones when I have too many throw-away bags on hand.
- It’ll cost everyone more money. If these bags were illegal in my city, I would substitute the free bags for paid ones. I, or the store, would then have to purchase reusable bags too. And so, another tax is imposed by a local government that thinks it’s doing the right thing when it really isn’t.
- Most plastic bags are 100 percent recyclable! I’m not going to argue that enough people actually do this, but wouldn’t Los Angeles be better off with a program to encourage recycling…instead of limiting freedom?
- The ban will likely have little impact on litter. I despise litter, but here are the facts: San Francisco, which has a similar ban, recently conducted a survey and found that 0.6 percent of its litter was from plastics. After the ban, plastics accounted for 0.64 percent of litter.
- People will lose jobs. The American Progressive Bag Alliance estimates that 30,800 plastic manufacturing jobs will be affected by the ban, including 1,900 in the LA area. I don’t know if I buy these large numbers, but it’s clear that jobs will be affected.
- People will have another choice taken away from them. It’s yet another politician believing his legacy will be better fulfilled by banning stuff instead of legalizing it.
Emotionally-driven decisions such as this proposed bag ban often have massive ripple effects on the economy and free choice.
In this case: All the people who produce the materials that make bags, the people who manufacture them, the people who ship them, the people who sell them, the people who sell goods to put in them, the people who buy those goods, and the people who, for the first time in their lives, have to buy those stupid pooper-scooper bags at the pet store.
Los Angeles is king of the hill when it comes to regulations that impact everyday people. From banning chocolate milk at public schools to regulating how skateboarders can skate to outlawing Frisbee throwing on beaches during the summer, Los Angeles regulators have their hands on everything.
It’s time for Koretz and his ban-happy buddies to get a brand new bag.