It’s time for Humboldt County and its cities to ban the single-use plastic shopping bag.
According to the Humboldt Waste Management Authority, 60 million plastic bags were used in Humboldt County last year. That’s a bag each day of the year for every man, woman and child in the county — and only about 4 percent of those bags get recycled. Many of these bags wind up on our streets, in our parks, on our beaches, in our rivers and in our ocean. And they won’t be going anywhere for a long, long time.
The authority has been developing a proposed model ordinance for communities to wean retailers off the bags by looking at similar efforts in Marin County that gathered the support of local retailers and also proved solid enough to survive lower court challenges mounted by bag boosters.
Similar bans have been passed by San Francisco, Long Beach, Malibu, Santa Monica, San Jose, Calabasas, Manhattan Beach and Los Angeles County.
Some folks will complain that the single-use plastic shopping bag is a modern convenience that they shouldn’t be forced to give up. Well, it’s convenient to dump trash in the street. You just don’t do it.
We urge you to hop on the anti-bag bandwagon and engage with your local governments and retailers in a discussion to find and fine-tune a reasonable alternative to the plastic bag mess.
In the meantime, the next time you’re heading out the door to do some shopping and looking for an alternative to the single-use plastic bag, consider the reusable shopping bag. It’s less susceptible than the paper bag to Bizarro-world legal strategies involving environmental impact reports employed by bag boosters in court.
It’s also one less thing you’ll have to throw out at the end of the day.
And the next day. And the day after that.
It might take a little getting used to, but the benefits of a ban will have lasting effects for years to come.