Where have all the bags gone?

Plastic Bag Ban

Reed Saxon/AP IMAGES

Conveyor carrying mixed plastic into a device that will shred and recycle them at a plastics recycling plant in Vernon, Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation to ban single-use plastic bags.

Student Contributor

Russel Sheldon

Governor Jerry Brown’s recently passed a ban on plastic bags in California, SB270 has been met with mixed reactions from the College of the Desert community.  When COD students were asked whether they were for or against the ban on plastic bags the majority said that they supported it. Others are in disagreement on whether the ban on plastic bags should be passed in California.

Those who are agreeing with the ban see it as a positive impact for the environment. For this they are supporting Gov. Jerry Brown. That effective change must come from someone high up in legislation to make any impact. “Definitely it will eliminate the plastic bag trash,” COD Staff Member Vanessa Potter stated. “And be a step to protecting the environment.”

Regarding the possible benefit to the environment, Ralph’s employee and COD student Jason Solis stated that the ban would be effective in “cutting down on plastic and paper bag usage.” After he was asked to elaborate further he saw it as something to encourage people to use reusable bags for their shopping.

Those who are against the ban see it as something that will prove to be more environmentally costly in implementation. A lack of plastic bags will instead bring shoppers to use paper bags instead of reusable bags. This will make a step backwards in protecting the environment as more trees will have to be cut down to manufacture paper bags. “Using more paper which is destructive…killing more trees to use paper,” stated COD student Saran Kee. “Will these paper bags be made with recycled paper?”

On the benefits of the ban Saran Kee had more to say stating that “it does foster a sense of community.” On the governor’s action in passing the ban however she is of the opinion that there are “more important things like mental and physical heath.”  On the 10 cent fees that people will have to pay for paper bags, Saran Kee said “no one would want to pay the fees.”

Conversely, “I think the fact that we’re going to be charging for the paper bags is great” said Ralph’s employee Jason Solis. “You hit them where it hurts and they’ll start using reusable bags.” Though later Solis stated that employees will face “angry customers…due to a difference in mentality.” People will need time to be able to adjust to changes made by SB270. In the meantime it is leaving the employees to explain to customers why things have to be the way they are in these stores.

The ban on plastic bags might lead to potential losses in manufacturing jobs. Jason Solis made a statement that “in retrospect it’s still better than the long term damage of sticking the bags in landfills.” That between cost and environment it’s better to look out for the environment.  About the potential job loss, Vanessa Potter “hopes their industry will help them find jobs.”

The ban on plastic bags in California has caused lots of ripples leading people to wonder what these changes will mean. Most have seen it as the chance to do something for the earth, while others worry more about the costs it will bring.






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