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  • Outside the Beltway: Kiss Those Plastic Bags Goodbye, Evanston!

    Paper or plastic? How about neither?

    If you live in Evanston, Ill., be prepared to kiss your plastic bags goodbye . . . and maybe your paper ones, too. Some in the city council are prepared to take a stand against what some see as a terribly pernicious threat to the environment. The Chicago Tribune reports:

    I hate plastic bags, and I’m prepared to vote tonight to eliminate plastic bags or brown paper bags — whatever it takes to get rid of them,” said Ald. Ann Rainey.

    The proposal remains in its infancy, and the logistics of how a ban would be implemented aren’t clear. City officials plan to meet with small-business owners, national chain store representatives and residents to discuss the possible bag ban before revisiting the topic at a May 23 committee meeting.

    Any restrictions would put Evanston in league with an expanding group of jurisdictions that have taken a variety of tacks toward coaxing shoppers to tote reusable bags.

    Rainey would love California, where Santa Clara County, San Jose, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Fairfax, Los Angeles and Santa Monica have banned plastic bags in the name of protecting the environment. Last year, Washington, D.C., passed a 5-cent tax on plastic bags to discourage their use, and similar bans and/or taxes are being proposed all across the country. Heritage’s Rory Cooper writes that this is part of a disturbing pattern of regulation:

    Behavior taxes are the new trend for liberal politicians across the nation. Whether it is five cents in DC for a bag, or the crippling costs President Obama is adding to gas prices to discourage fossil fuel use. Without an economically viable and supported argument for their policies, they turn to the invisible hand of the government to penalize you daily, and hope that you simply absorb the new costs of living without a fight.

    What do you think about local governments banning plastic bags? Leave a comment below!

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    32 Responses to Outside the Beltway: Kiss Those Plastic Bags Goodbye, Evanston!

    1. Real American says:

      As a resident of Santa Clara County, i'm F'Ing PISSED! I hate these policies. They won't make a dent in stopping "global warming" and are just a bunch of nanny state nazis interfering in a transaction that is none of their business.

    2. George Colgrove VA says:

      In VT the grocery stores have large bins for the customers to drop off thier bags. They are always full. Here in DC, I have not seen the same dedication to recycling as there is in VT. DC likes to make draconian rules that people in places like VT fall in line following. But in DC, the same effort is just not there. I was amazed how little recycling that is going on here when I moved here.

      I never was abig recycler as it was – but did so in VT because nearly everyone does it. Living here, there simply is not enough people recycling to make the example big enough for people likeme to do so. It is no wonder there is massive polution around here.

      Banning the plastic bags is not enough. I am beginning to see the cloth bags tossed over the banks. I think it is time the liberals here in DC take a trip to VT and see their preaching in practice – learn some stuff and get off their butts and start practicing down here. With enough people recycling, people like me may do more.

      A 5 cent tax will not stop polution. It will only raise the cost of living for no good reason. It is time liberals get excited for what they preach and provide an excellent example. No one will clean up after themselves if these guys dont.

    3. Bobbie says:

      How much does the 5 cents bring in? Where is the money going and where does it end up? I heard China makes the reusable bags with lead additives?

    4. Bobbie says:

      Since this proposal would cost a loss of jobs, the reusable bags "made in America only" would be a nice change…without lead.

    5. Bill B, Michigan says:

      This is over the top. The next thing they are going to tell us is that we can't wear plastic underwear.

    6. JLW, Madison, NJ says:

      Maybe I've been brainwashed, but something in my gut makes me avoid taking or using plastic bags if it's not really necessary. But, (1) I don't expect everyone to do this nor would I force it on anyone else and (2) the idea of behavior taxes gives me chills.

    7. Jan - Chicago area says:

      The grocery stores in the northern suburbs of Chicago (further north than Evanston) also have bins to dispose of plastic bags. We have to BUY the cloth bags…what about those who can't afford them? (Most in Evanston can afford anything.) Another example of greater concern for "mother earth" than for people. The UN even wants to give this "mother" the benefit of human rights…nevermind the fact that mother is NOT human. What idiots.

    8. West Coast says:

      Reply to George Colgrove VA ….. The old adage is "Do as I say, not as I do".

    9. Roger, Boise Idaho says:

      I do not want reusable bags… Give me plastic or give me death!

    10. Norma in Nebraska says:

      And so now the order will come down "from on high" that "thou shalt not use any kind of bags" to tote home your groceries. Who elects these people to issue all these edicts to the masses?

      Is the "red flyer" wagon going to make a comeback to get your groceries home since you can't afford to fill up your car and drive to the store? Or are we going to be "required" to use those wonderful cloth bags . . . . made in China no doubt . . . . which are shown to be contaminated with lead and who knows what else!

      One thing about it, if we keep using the same bags over and over , the contamination from the last time you were taking home groceries will be spread to the new ones you are getting now. Do you suppose those cloth bags coming with dicta torial instructions for washing and sanitizing as well?

      I am wondering if these people with all of these "thou shalt nots" sleep at all because the average person certainly couldn't keep coming up with all of this garbage! Oops . . . bad word, bad word!

    11. Spencer says:

      Westport ct banned plastic many months ago. Now you can get nice brown paper bags that break in the parking lot and Are Made In China!

    12. Dave Newport WA says:

      Once again the liberals and environmentalist are running on emotion not logic. A typical plastic bag weighs only a few grams when compressed, a very small amount of plastic. The packaging of the purchased items in the bag contain far more plastic on the order of 100 to 1000 times more, and the purchased items are probably plastic. Why not regulate the amount of plastic in the packaging, oh, sorry that's too logical and not the popular approach!

      Liberals have shutdown the logging in the Northwest. As a result the trees dying due to disease is rampart, and a major 'unstoppable' forest fire is inevitable. People are out of work and the schools are hurting for finances. Meanwhile, Canada is stripping their forest to supply us lumber. Does that make sense?

    13. Jim Wineteer says:

      I think I'd better get used to it, I live in Oregon and we are about to get it state wide!

    14. MrShorty, Cave Creek says:

      I really love our government. The left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. In Scottsdale, AZ, each homeowner is requested (ordered) to dispose of their garbage in plastic bags. Now the government wants to eliminate plastic bags. What's a poor homeowner to do…bury it in their own back yard!!

    15. Carol Bee, Salt Lake says:

      I am sick to death of the regulations being put into place by the radical environmentalists! I believe in recycling and have done it for years. I believe in taking care of the earth, but these people are going way too far. There have been reports of toxic chemicals in the cloth bags they are pushing everyone to use. There are consequences to everything! I say let's find an island and ship all of the radical greenies to it and let them live their lives without plastic, oil, carbon fuels, air conditioning, and everything else they hate about capitalism, and leave the rest of us alone.

    16. Jill, California says:

      Our government doesn't think about the unintended consequences … the impact on retail establishments and the economy (1) as shoppers decline to buy things because they forgot to bring their cloth bags with them or (2) as stores experience a dramatic increase in shoplifting because it's so much easier for people to slip things into the cloth bags they bring with them.

    17. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      Mike, your article was brilliant, particularly your phrase Behavior Taxes! I hope that phrase will catch on! Americans are beset with Behavior Taxes and of course, like all taxes, the Consumer pays every dime! I would like to flesh out how Extreme and Crazy these Liberals are! They destroyed the San Juaquin Valley, one of the most productive farm lands on the face of the Earth! They did it just before a World Wide Food Shortage! For a smelt! A stupid common fish! We all know how Joseph Stalin starved the Russian Peasants to death, that is Historical Fact he deprived them of Seed! I calls it likes I sees it! This is a Crime Against Humanity! The Ethanol Subsidies, same thing, a Crime Against Humanity!

      I don't think the Constitution gives the Government (any Government) the Power to Experiment on American Citizens! That is what these Behavior Taxes are! Human Experimentation! I call this "Demographic Crosshairs!" The Government picks losers by developing compounding cuts against the Target Demographic! Fulford said something interesting, the Japanise gave up "Genius" for Security. Considering that Humanism is a form of Mental Illness (In the Cold War days we called it Indoctrination), I consider Humanism just such an attack upon Genius. The American Curriculum is so corrosive, the traits of Genius are suppressed in our classrooms, as evident as giving hyperactive kids Crack (Ritalin).

      Plastic bags are a small, 'nothing' issue but the unbelievable Power to Regulate goes so far beyond the Constitution, if we rolled it back fifty years we would still Not have Constitutional protection! Every way you look at it you lose! Thanks a lot, you RINOs! Heritage Foundation is my friend and hero! You guys are great!

    18. Chris in N.Va says:

      Unintended consequences — the ubiquitous bane of our existence at the hands of the myopic, unicorns-and-pixie-dust, Utopian elitests/statists/facists. Any consequence other than the one (and only one!) that their addled brains are capable of processing remains forever beyond their ability to grasp. (A single synapse can only concurrently process so much information, you understand…)

      Sure, let's all use those niftly little cloth bags, the ones that we'd better be sure to thoroughly sanitize between uses, else we risk levels of grocery contamination

      of that have already been documented by researchers examining the "typical" reusable and oh-so-Gaia-friendly cloth bag by which we'll save the planet.

      BTW, in Northern Virginia, many supermarket chains typcally have large bags (plastic, imagine that!?) in which customers may choose to recycle their plastic grocery bags. About once or twice a quarter you mgiht actually see someone do it.

    19. Dinah Garrison Fairb says:

      Imagine how much longer it will take to check out at stores. The stores that sell mostly large orders such as groceries will take forever. And the checkers hate to see the reusable bags come in. It takes them longer to set up to pack with those bags. The cloth ones won't sit up open as the paper ones will, and if they are going to hang them on the racks to fill them, there is more time! AND as everyone above me has said, why is the government butting into more of my business?

    20. curtis nunley combin says:

      let me get this right , liberals want to ban plastic bags because they know what is best for you? Yet liberals who warned us of mercury in our water supply back in the 1970s are all for useing cfl bulbs which contain mercury don't seem to have a problem now. These people are dangerous.

    21. Renny, Maryland says:

      Why is everyone afraid to focus on the government/union employees to take a 5-10% pay cut??? Want some quick and simple money??? Why keep "picking" at a mountain with a spoon??????

    22. Charles Lamb, Hanna says:

      As Reagan said, "Just say No".

    23. Frances Haase says:

      Just another Nanny State directive.

    24. Steve, Evanston, IL says:

      I reside (not live) here in the People's Republic of Evanston, and have yet another reason to be disgusted at being here! Yet another reason, as well, for me to shop outside of Evanston. I am sick to death of the constant poking of their collective noses in my life. Calling all members of the local Poliburo- get a life! You have bigger issues (such as the budget) to deal with.

    25. Barbara Jones says:

      This is taking the ball and running way to far with it. Liberals are down right crazy! They focus in on things that are stupid because they do not want to face what is really going on and will just "work" on anything but the real problems facing us. I am for no plastic bags, but I think the paper ones are just fine. Get real! This president of ours has no idea what is important and what can wait to be fixed, and the liberals that follow him are simply idiotic. I am tired of their goofy ideas. Vote out obama!!!!!!

    26. Connie, North Caroli says:

      I always get my groceries bagged in plastic bags. Some of them are used to dispose of the waste in the kitty litter. The rest are returned to the store and are put in a recycling bin. Although employees empty the bins out often, they always seem full!

      Any attempts to force us to tave a tax on plastic grocery bags, or to ban them completely, is just insulting liberal nonsense.


      Its time to make all elected legislative positions truly part time so those elected are forced to resume residency in the real world and deal with the consequences of their actions.

    28. David Hansen says:

      I think the only reasonable solution is to initiate a substantial tax on food. I mean substantial. I am thinking triple the actual cost of the food item.

      This accomplishes the following:

      - Less obesity, therefore lower medical costs to the Global Villiage

      - Less driving (lower carbon footprint)

      - Less time actually eating, paving the way to spend more time to paint the place Green

      - More starvation which means less people. Good on multiple fronts.

    29. Donald in Japan says:

      What is the problem?Have you never heard of the great pacific garbage patch? Here in Japan they are banned also. If you want one you have to pay. What is the big deal. Carry your own bag. I custom made mine. help mother nature.

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    31. Stacy Barrett, San J says:

      I would like to share what I learned two summers ago. I had decided to pick up trash on my walks for the summer only. In doing so I discovered that plastic grocery bags would break into 1 inch flakes and smaller when touched. It happened time after time all summer out here in California. This was not a scientific experiment, I was just picking up trash. Paper napkins however, appeared to be intact when collected.

    32. Lynne says:

      They are to ban plastic bags here in Austin, TX, in 2013. The Spector of un-intended consequences grows bigger every time something like this is forced upon us. They are trying to phase out normal lightbulbs in favor of the fluorescent ones and–OOPS!–It was just discovered they cause cancer with prolonged use. The big Ethanol fuel craze is now robbing poor countries of food, as they would rather use alternative fuel than feed hungry people. In addition to this fact, ethanol uses more energy in its production than it saves. And now they are replacing the supposedly environmentally unfriendly plastic bags with bags that are not manufactured here and can poison us with lead! Genius.

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