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Walsh signs ban on thin plastic bags; goes into effect next fall

WFXT reports Mayor Walsh has signed a City Council proposal that will prohibit local stores from using those thin plastic bans and will require a 5-cent fee for recyclable bags made of thicker plastic or paper.

City Councilors Matt O'Malley (Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury) and Michelle Wu (at large), who proposed the ban, said it would help the environment, curb an ugly part of the current streetscape, reduce the use of oil and save the city money - in terms of reduced trash pickups and costs for removing the stuff from the city's recycling stream.

Stores will keep the new 5-cent fee.

Boston residents currently use 357 million of the bags each year, O'Malley estimates.

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Comments

I would like to be the first to welcome Boston into the progressive city club of 2012.

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That's the club where I use the same amount of plastic or more, but now I have to go out of my way to buy bathroom bin liners and litter box scoop bags? Super.

CA is stuck with a whole generation of homes required to use those idiotic mercury-based CFL fixtures but let's pretend those are better than LED bulbs in standard sockets...

The intentions are admirable but the actual implementation is so incredibly dumb.

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The fact that there will now be a cost on the use means youre going to think a lot more carefully about how many you use.

AKA, use goes down.

And again, Boston is very late to the party, so just ask one of the hundreds of cities, states or countries that already banned them years ago and have actual data.

BTW: You do realize that you can use an incandescent, CFL, or LED in the same socket right...?

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For a while California banned the sale of light fixtures that accept the old "Edison" screw in base, requiring instead a bayonet mount. This was their way of making incandescent bulbs impossible to use. The state has since rescinded the ban, but there are a lot of fixtures out there now that can't take anything but these two-prong CFL's.

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It cant be hard to replace the fixture or buy a compatible LED bulb.

My extended family all lives in California. My mom is in a home built in 2006. I have never heard of any of this being an issue.

I know her bathrooms all take the circular fluorescent lights like this...
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51Q8JM8mgNL._SY355_.jpg

But she simply bought an LED light that fits in the same fixture with the same circular shape. Obviously, if the standard was to install that type of outlet, they developed bulbs that fit into it.

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You do realize that you can use an incandescent, CFL, or LED in the same socket right...?

Except you can't. The "Energy Star" fixtures made since the 1990's and 2000's have a cheapie magnetic fluorescent ballast hardwired into them. Instead of having a screw-in Edison socket, they have one those clippy type sockets for bipin-base bent-tube CFL "refills". Today those bulbs are hard to find, expensive, and inferior to LED in every way.

The idea was that it would prevent the homeowner from ever installing an incandescent lamp in the CFL fixture. But even when those fixtures were brand new, you were better off using a screw-in CFL in a non Energy Star fixture. Better light, better ballast, easier to maintain, and better light pattern.

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You know it's pretty simple to just bring a tote bag or two to the store with you, and they make you look cool too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LD0gDC3WuJg

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AN answer given by either (a) someone who owns a car and can keep many reusable bags there or (b) someone who only buys groceries by going from home to the store and back again.

Not everyone can carry reusable bags around with them 24/7 in case they might need to stop in a store.

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I carry plastic bags in my backpack. I can use them to get a full load of groceries home on foot or by bicycle.

Because of this ban, once they wear out I'll be out of luck. Unless I make the effort to stockpile some when I visit another city where they're allowed.

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You can get some from IKEA very cheap that fold into little tiny packets when not in use. I carry one in a small purse, even.

Don't know how you get more than a use or two out of the cheap ones - which is why I carry the real ones.

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Chico bags (and other companies im sure) have you in mind and make stuffable, reusable shopping bags that can fit in small pockets or on key chains when not in use. I keep one in my bag for when I randomly run into a farmers market in a new town or for spur of the moment grocery trips.

https://www.chicobag.com/category-reusable-shopping-bags-17

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Each one stuffs down to a pouch the size of an egg. How many $19.99 egg-sized bags would I have to put on my keychain to carry a full load of groceries? I would have quite a bulge in my pants pocket.

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An answer given by someone who has never actually used a reusable bag, and who thinks for some reason that they're the size and heft of an Army duffle.

Not everyone can carry reusable bags around with them 24/7 in case they might need to stop in a store.

That's like saying "Not everyone can carry an umbrella in case it might rain". You either can and do, or you can't or won't and you get wet. In that situation, grownups say, "Yeah, shoulda thought of that" and learn from it, and children scream "WAAAH! WAAAH! WAAAH! WHY DOESN'T THE WORLD GIVE ME AN UMBRELLA WHEN I NEED ONE AND VANISH IT WHEN I DON'T NEED IT ANYMORE???"

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I don't own a car and the plastic bags are not good for walking around the city with.

I carry little bags that fold up into a little packet, carry more than the plastic ones, don't break and I can wash them. It isn't rocket science.

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Not everyone can carry reusable bags around with them 24/7 in case they might need to stop in a store.

Not everyone gives in to the impulse to go grocery shopping *RIGHT NOW.* Some of us are able to plan ahead and only buy things when we have planned ahead and brought bags with us.

Not everyone will suffer a severe financial crisis by paying five or ten cents for a bag when we do give in to impulse purchasing, and we recognise that these nickels and dimes are a nuisance fee designed to teach us to plan ahead. Kind of like the "swear jar" that some people had as kids growing up...it didn't stop you from swearing, but it taught you when it was and was not an appropriate time to do so.

And for the record, I do not own a car and likely never will given my extremely poor eyesight. And fairly often I go to the grocery store straight from work, but, hey...I PLAN AHEAD and bring my reusable bags to work with me that day. Then I'm only annoyed by carrying them with me just every so often, instead of being annoyed by them all day every day like people who can't plan.

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All of Ireland banned the blight in that era.

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And it has yet to fully recover.

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of Ireland are due to the lack of free plastic bags?

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And since Blindboy Boatclub of the Rubberbandits does provide analysis on how the bulk of the Irish populace got screwed during the downturn and have got jack shitall during the “recovery” while wearing a plastic shopping bag over his head, there might be something to it. But probably no causation. Probably.

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Now when will Walsh sign that ban into effect that stops Dunkie's from putting the plastic cup inside the Styrofoam one because that's the way Tami likes her lahge regalah iced with five Splendah's?

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Those freaking cups are a blight on Boston's sidewalks and snow banks

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Light bulbs--check
Bags--check
How about indoor heating?
Water that doesn't come from a rain barrel?
Vegetables you didn't grow on the collective farm?
Here's a good one: music, television, and internet unless powered by a cruelty-free bicycle generator, with a state-wide 50% excise tax on the sale of those generators to fund...um...er...let's see here...sunshine and good feelings!

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The Independent UK 7/26/17

Plastic microparticles are getting into the flesh of fish eaten by humans, according to a new study.

A team of scientists from Malaysia and France discovered a total of 36 tiny pieces of plastic in the bodies of 120 mackerel, anchovies, mullets and croakers.

They warned that as plastic attracts toxins in the environment, these poisons could be released into people’s bodies after they ate the fish. The plastics found included nylon, polystyrene and polyethylene.

Think about that next time you get a fish dinnah ta go in that nice Styrofoam contaynah at Kelly's.

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how much of that plastic is in the bags you leave with and how much is in the packaging for everything else you buy to put into your reusable hemp basket?

Pure virtue-signaling nonsense.

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On the one hand, it is in fact virtue signalling nonsense.

On the other hand, it may nudge a few more people in the direction of thinking about the environmental consequences of things a little more often, which means that it may actually be of some ultimate value.

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A few people thinking different changes nothing.

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Plastic is big deal in our oceans. Plastic does breakdown but it takes an extremely long time. Furthermore, it ends up as microscopic particles. These particles are mistaken for food by tiny planktonic creatures. Those critters are eaten by fish and those fish are eaten by fish etc. etc. Eventually, we'll find these plastics in us. We're already finding them in dolphins and whales, and this is affecting their population by producing unhealthy offspring.

Listen, this measure will absolutely not stop this issue, but it will certainly help. Boston is a coastal city and this is a responsible move to cut down on plastic use. It certainly has in other coastal cities such as San Francisco.

Sure, some folks use this to virtue signal but I disagree that that's all it is. It more sounds to me that you're attaching this social commentary to the issue at hand. Aside from your criticism that this is virtue signalling, what harm or damage could it possible do?

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95% of plastic polluting the world's oceans comes from just ten rivers
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4970214/95-plastic-oceans...

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Hey low blow on Kellys dude, they use those weird cardboardy type things for take out.

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ate there last night and Styrofoam was in full effect. I love Kelly's! My brother worked there when they didn't allow women to work there.

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You’re really milking that Boston accent hater.

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You should heah me on the radio. I'm Boston accent to go!

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I don't know where you shop, but the supermarkets around me still stock plenty of incandescent bulbs.

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More like "laughed out of existence by people who can't afford the energy bills to run them".

I suppose Roman drives around in a Flivver? Because YOU CAN'T BAN MAH CAR!!!

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Roman's just cranky. He shakes his fist at cloud and yells about how they took his job down at the buggy whip factory. Eat some prunes, grandpa!

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Maybe we already have one?

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That's a mighty steep slippery slope you are standing on!

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Plastic bags are just wasteful. I’m for banning or taxing such things. Thrift is a virtue.

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We should ban indoor OVERheating, by requiring thermostatic radiator valves in every building.

They are the plastic twisty-knobs right on the radiator, labeled 1 through 5. European countries have required them for years. They make a world of difference in saving energy AND making buildings much more comfortable.

This would save far more energy than a bag ban.

Think about this the next time you're in an overheated building with the windows open.

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.... how about just taxing it at the full lifecycle cost it imposes on society? The global environmental damage done by a plastic bag is not infinite; you can put a price on it.

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after all, there's money to be made in figuring out what every single solitary thing costs. We could set up a central planning bureau (staffed by loyal blue-staters, of course) to figure it out for everyone. They can even come up with five-year plans for environmental footprint reductions every seven years.

Or, we could not try to calculate a single number for a "cost" that varies drastically for every person and every bag. What's the "cost" of a bag that's recycled? What's the "cost" of a bag that's used to line a wastebasket? Or one that's used to carry my wet swim trunks and flip flops back from the swimming pool for many years? How about the cost of the garbage bag I now have to buy to line my trash can?

We could just, you know, let the market do its thing and actually fine people for dumping and littering instead of letting them off because they're politically connected or too rich or too poor or too white or too brown.

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Can’t eat or drink money, can you? By all means, let’s just tax the shit out of polluters now, because that money is really going to stop all that pollution later. Uh-huh.

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on this subject that you are simply angry that you won't be getting free plastic bags anymore.
Now they are 5 cents...for MUCH BETTER BAGS (like, your heavy wet swim truncks will never fall through these).
Is 5 cents breaking you Roman?
Do you turn in your empty bottles and cans, or do you let the little old Chinese ladies take care of that for you on trash day?
If the latter STFU please.
Also if you don't mind looking like a hoarder you have almost an entire year to stockpile free, shitty plastic bags for all your trash-can-lining needs. In essence that's probably buying you 3 years without purchasing a bag, not to mention all the other towns and cities that will still give you the shitty low-quality bags you so crave.
Maybe you could like, move away from here to one of THOSE glorious places?

Or, wait, its the nanny state isn't it? You just don't wanna be told how to live you life huh? I hear you there. I should be able to drive on the LH side of the road just like originally intend. Damn fascist government restricin my freedumb!

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Long before you got to this planet with your theories amok evidence.

Rivers burned, dear.

You could move to a country that sees things differently ... but you might not like the winters lit only by burning rivers.

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It is almost as if somebody learned nothing from the massive failures of the 20th century.

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Cause I bet you don't wanna let any of those subsidies go. But let the market direct everything else, right.

Also adorable that you think our police forces, which can barely handle keeping motorists in check, are going to effectively enforce this.

Suck it up and pay for the plastic bags dude.

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I mean, why should you have to BUY little plastic bags when you were getting them for FREE before as part of your total shopping experience. I mean, everyone else wasn't using them but you were. They were all paying a bit more for every item in the store so that you could afford to have FREE trashbags, swimsuit bags, etc. I mean, you got so many free ones that you probably *still* threw out 75% of them because you only needed one or two a week but you were getting 10-20 every time you got groceries because of how flimsy they were that carrying a gallon of milk (which has a handle on it) required two of those bags so the bag handles didn't rip! Subsidized FREE plastic bags for your needs! Why should you have to buy them when the cost can be spread to everyone else equally!

Oh, but fuck those people who want universal healthcare.

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Woo hoo. Think of the money I'm saving because I reuse bags and no longer subsidize people who get new bags every time which cost the store less than a penny each. When do I get my price cut?

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I would happily buy my toothpaste in bulk, carrying it home in my hands squirted from a machine in the supermarket. Why do I have to SUBSIDIZE all those freeloaders who demand wasteful toothpaste tubes for FREE?

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those thin plastic bans and will require a 5-cent fee for recyclable bags made of thicker plastic or paper.

Adam, they are all recyclable. I think the word you wanted to use there is reusable. Of course, the thin plastic bags can be reused, but their fragility makes them less reusable.

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Good point, there are bag recycling bins at the can returns of your finer supermarkets. I was thinking of the city's residential recycling bins, which you're not supposed to use for those bags - workers at the city's recycling company spend a lot of time getting them out of their sorting equipment.

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Bags clogging equipment is an engineering problem. Banning the bags from recycling bins is a social solution. The net effect of that ban is removing lots of the bags from the recycling stream, and diverting them to the waste stream. That's not a good. The recycling-facility-equipment makers need to hire better engineers.

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Especially the majorly thin produce bags; many of these get thrown out during processing even if they are put into the blue bin.

https://livegreen.recyclebank.com/because-you-asked-can-i-recycle-plasti...

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All plastic bags are recyclable, whether they're majorly thin or not.

The problem is they jam the machinery at sorting plants if they're mixed in with bottles and cans. They have to be collected separately, most commonly at the plastic bag recycle bins at the grocery store.

A bag ban won't solve this problem, unless they also ban bread bags, cereal box liners, ziploc bags, diaper packages, meat shrink wrap, etc. The correct solution is for the city to stick large NO PLASTIC BAGS stickers on everyone's recycle bins.

By the way, the other item that's terrible for recycling machinery is coat hangers. They can do thousands of dollars of damage. Video tapes were also bad, but that problem solved itself.

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What about the plastic nip bottles that are all over sidewalks and the plastic needles with orange caps ? For Christmas I want a biohazard box with a Grab-it to use when walking to the bus to get to work.

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Whataboutism?

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This is a money grab cloaked as environmentalism. Will Walsh give up his giant SUV with the motor running all day for a hybrid? Hello no! UHub will have a report in two years that the 'green' tax collected is used ironically for something environmentally destructive or to pay someone you never heard of in a office you never heard of a lot of money to do nothing.

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By whom? Big Paper Bag?

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Follow the money Adam. I guarentee the city merges it into the general fund never to be heard from again. You are talking about a dinosaur mayor which doesn't even want BigBellies or more recycling bins on the street or in parks. Marty could care less about litter. This is a PR stunt and a new tax to prop up the budget.

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I'll add this to my original post: The city gets none of the money - the stores keep the 5-cent fee, similar to the way the state doesn't get any of the money from bottle and can deposits.

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In most supermarkets, they give you a 5 cent credit for each reusable bag you use.

So, if you are not using reusable bags now, you are already out 5 cents for each bag they give you. Your cost won't change when the new law goes into effect.

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And that's a serious question, because I use reusable bags all the time and have never gotten a credit that I know of.

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Whole Foods and Target (at least the new small ones).

CVS used to have a scheme where you could buy a membership in the reusable bag rebate club. But store employees often didn't get it, and gave you plastic bags anyway.

Trader Joe's used to pester you for your contact information for a raffle if you reused a bag. No thanks.

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And I know Stop & Shop used to to it, but I don't know for sure if they still do. Trader Joe's used to enter you in a raffle for a gift card or something if you used a reusable bag, but I don't know if they still do.

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The Mayor was not the driving force behind this, the City Council was. He did not want it and only signed it because all Councillors voted for it.

Moneywise the city makes nothing off of this. In fact with enforcement and education added in this will cost money.

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That's the Howie Carr defense! A money grab so that the solons and pols can keep rippin ya off and say it's helpin the planet! Ya know?

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The ecological footprint of having an SUV for the mayor to get around the city is a non-issue. It's one car and sure it would be nice to have an eco friendlier vehicle, it literally isn't worth thinking about or change until this lease is up.

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The mayor should lead by example.

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Urban government in the US has their head up their ass. Our real estate taxes are sky high, our schools suck,the City is pushing out the blue collar jobs and families, there are shootings every day and all they can do is charge more for plastic bags? Are you kidding?

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They can work on more than one issue at a time. If anything, this one has happened pretty slowly - O'Malley first proposed it last year.

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We have some of the lowest RE taxes around. What are you talking about?!

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Some people think civilization should be free, and object to paying anything for it, ever.

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Will still be giving out free plastic bags. Let Hizxoner know that's where you will be shopping.

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I am writing to let you know that in response to the City of Boston's new plastic bag ban, I will from now on be taking a $10 Uber to Quincy and another $10 Uber ride back to Boston in order to avoid paying the $0.15 fee on plastic bags or the $3.00 investment into re-usable bags.

Yours truly,
The Village Idiot

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I think those plastic bags are an urban pestilence.

I, for one, welcome our new re-usable bag overlords.

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...you just won't be able to re-use ones you'd get at the grocery store?

Oh, THAT'S a good idea.

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Why wouldn't you?

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If you get 20 from a grocery run and re-use 5 of them, you wasted 15. If you buy 5 of them and use them, you wasted nothing. You can even buy them and take them to the grocery store and use them for your groceries then take them home and re-use them. Nobody's stopping you.

People don't reuse as many of these bags as they get. They cachet them in drawers and little doily-ed dispenser things and never realize just how many they get versus how many they use. When the cache gets full, they throw out the oldest/grossest ones and never consider how many they aren't "re-using" because it cost them nothing to get them in the first place.

And for every person who responds that they absolutely use every single one they get, I bet there are 9 others who don't even reuse ONE of the ones they get.

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Too true. Here in Cambridge, the BYOB ordinance went into effect 18 months ago, without significant issues as far as I know. We still end up with enough plastic bags for small rubbish bin liners and temporary wet-item reinforcement. When we run short, we can always collect a buttload from my mother-in-law in NYC (where a bag law was blocked by Cuomo early this year) -- she's hoarded them for years, and has thousands rolled up into tiny balls and stuffed into virtually every drawer and cabinet.

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Isn't it convenient that you have to go 200 miles to get something that used to be available locally?

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A plastic bag got stuck high in a tree near my house maybe 10 years ago. For a year or two it was an entire bag, then started to shred. Now it's down to about the size of a napkin up there, but it's still up there, blowing in the wind...

So I'd be against this. But I think I'm for it. Although my preferred solution would have been to just add the nickel fee to all bags, so people would think twice about having their chips or Coke from the conah store (or CVS) put in one.

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I stopped using reusable bags because the ones I had were so large that I couldn't carry them when they were full, and it was an ordeal to beg baggers not to fill them, or basically step aside and re-bag everything. I think back then you got a discount for each resuable bag you used, and they thought I was just trying to get an extra 10 cents off or something. The store I go to now doesn't have baggers, so it wouldn't be an issue.

But I will say they are handy for cat litter, and making them hard to come by won't make me need to scoop the litter less. I would also pass some to my sister's whose town already banned them. She has a disabled child and uses them several times a day to dispose of pampers. I suppose we'll both just have to start paying for poop disposal bags.

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