Friday, January 13, 2012

Don’t Ban, Recycle

With all that the governor has placed on the table for the legislature to deal with in a short 60 day session, sales tax increase, $3.6 Billion in transportation wants, funding education and same sex marriage, why would they waste time considering a ban on plastic bags that will not help anyone in the state and in fact, would cost us more jobs in Washington State?

Younger folks might not realize it, but plastic bags were a demand of environmentalists’ decades ago in order to “save the trees.” Prior to that, brown paper bags were the norm, but tree huggers came along and with their demand to do away with the paper bags, the plastic bags we see today became the norm.

Early plastic bags were a made of a compound dependent upon petroleum and as the industry became aware of the drawbacks of petroleum based plastics, developed more bio-degradable materials to manufacture them from.

As recycling of such materials became more common, companies sprang up that recycled the bags and manufactured more out of the recycled materials.

One such company is Hilex Poly who says of their operations,

Hilex Poly’s sustainability goal is to establish a viable environmental program and product line that:
• Reduces the impact of plastic on the environment through recycling and increased recycled content
• Sets a high standard of industry leadership and corporate citizenship
• Creates meaningful benefits for the environment and the community
• Facilitates environmental action by retailers and the community

Left unsaid but obvious, they also employ American workers in America.

Just this past Wednesday, Vice President of Sustainability and Environmental Policy for Hilex Poly, Mark Daniels appeared before our legislature to testify on what a ban on plastic bags would mean in the way of jobs and how the desired effect could not be met.

Mark said,
“Washington residents interested in reducing litter and protecting the environment would be far better served supporting a statewide recycling program rather than an all-out ban on retail plastic carry-out bags, a policy which will only push consumers to alternatives that are less sustainable, not more. The truth is banning one product that makes only one to two percent of litter will have no meaningful impact on litter. Instead, it will result in forcing consumers to use products such as reusable bags, which are mostly imported from China, made from foreign oil and are not recyclable, or to use paper bags, which have a larger carbon footprint than plastic bags.

“There is a better way. According to EPA data, plastic bag recycling increased 24 percent between 2009 and 2010 nationwide. Washington has the opportunity to show real environmental leadership and enact a comprehensive recycling plan that actually reduces litter, saves American jobs and protects consumer choice.”

In February 2011, Shoreline Liberal Democrat Senator Marilyn Chase appeared on KPAM 860’s Victoria Taft show speaking some of the most outrageous hyperbole I’ve ever heard on banning plastic bags. Listen here.

I find her position to be totally incredulous as she does not even consider recycling, even after many years of forcing recycling of all other recyclable materials on us.

The jobs lost during these dire economic times with such a ban are shown in a Fact Sheet compiled and supplied by Bag the


Our unemployment in Washington State remains above the national average with Clark County even higher than that. With the legislature placing the burgeoning budget gap on the back burner to push same-sex marriage first, pushing legislation that will cost more jobs and place more restrictions on taxpayers is not in the best interest of the state.

Do we really want to become more dependent upon China for shopping bags that have been shown to carry a much larger risk to retain bacteria that might be contaminating other food products placed in them?

I would hope not.

If you are as tired as I am of being pushed round by government and for reasons that will not benefit society, I urge you to sign this petition and tell our legislators, “Bag the Ban.”

We need to keep our jobs and our freedoms, not have even more restrictive policies passed on us by elected people who believe they know better and accomplish nothing!


Toni said...

Fantastic Article Lew!! I had forgotten the reason we went to plastic bags. I am sending the link to this article to some of our local news folks to maybe get the dialogue going the other way here where a ban is being moved along.

I was just in Long Beach visiting my kids and the stores there are required to have paper bags...if you want your groceries bagged in the paper bags you have to pay a dime each! Or, bring your bag with you but who ever remembers to do that?

Some of the 'green' stuff is making me see red!

LewWaters said...

The more I find out about all of this "green" stuff, Toni, the more it all appears like a huge scam designed to transfer the real "green" to selected elites promoting it.