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New Bag Regulation

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Message Steve Shapiro

In order to save resources, according to California's Monterey City Council resolution, there has been put in place a new mandate to eliminate plastic bags and to charge for paper ones.

It was the plastic bags that we on the planet saved, even when we tried.   Couldn't dispose, destroy and buried them, still saved only because they would not decompose.   Although the new bag ordinance is meant to save the planet the plastic bag ban is not a discouragement law.

Since the ordinance in San Francisco was put in place against plastic bags for large grocery stores, because it was argued that the waste management problem caused was bad for the planet.

In San Francisco, use for plastic bags continue in non grocery stores, and the City and County of San Francisco regulation model still allows plastic bag use in large grocery stores to hold wet, washed items like fruit and vegetables.

It was in Manhattan Beach, California that the plastic bag coalition sued the city for its regulation attempt and lost against the new law tried in the State at the Supreme Court level.

The preservation of resource was challenged, saying the cost in greenhouse resources to make a plastic bag was less than to make a paper one.  

The regulations written that followed allowed for an encouragement, not a discouragement fee to be charged against the cost for the paper bag.   The non mandatory sale of the bag is meant to encourage customers to return with the more 'eco' resource costly paper bag that they have to pay for and then own their own bag.  

Timothy Leary after death finally got us all to find our own bag.

Or, as most fashionable shoppers have begun to bring their own bags of all sorts with to carry groceries home.

In Monterey, the encouragement re-use paper bag ordinance shows itself in grocery stores where the dime per bag collected at the cash register goes back to the store.   In effect, the store is regulated, required to sell a bag, a paper bag at the counter, otherwise through-out the store to each customer who needs a carry device, who can then bring it back, or decline to buy another in favor of using their own bag that they can bring in to shop, themselves.

The trend of the new bag is in the wording.   As written currently in a positive or as an 'encouragement law' to preserve the more resource costly paper bag, rather than a 'discouragement law' to stop the proliferation of flimsy plastic bags that never go away, don't decompose.

Some enterprising American will copy the European web shopping bags that fit in a pocket or pocketbook easily for planned or spontaneous shopping.   Only, the American version of the bag will most likely be offered in medium, large, or oversize that are not available in Europe.   Americans, famous for that -- ingenuity.

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Steve Shapiro is a journalist, author, and screenwriter. As the Charter President of the Jr. United Nations, my motto against autocracy by siblings, parents, local constabulary or governments is 'in liberty is luxury.'

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