If you are traveling to a coastal city be sure you pack one or more reusable shopping bags.  And after reading the problem with plastic bags I believe we all need to make a real effort to take our reusable shopping bags with us whenever and wherever we shop.  The coastal cities are noticeably impacted, but what about our inland lakes and rivers?  What about the cost to our recyclers to repair their machines?


Ordinances banning grocers from using  plastic bags is sweeping cities along the coast and those not already in effect go into effect the first few months of 2013.  You can still have your groceries packed in a paper bag, but that will cost you a dime.  Currently it appears only grocery stores are impacted by the new ordinances, but I could see where it could easily be expanded to the other sh0ps.

65 Cities or Counties in California have adopted the ban.  You can find a list of those with ordinances and the date the ordinances go into effect here:

Cities banning use of plastic bags nation wide can be found here:

There is some push-back on the ban of plastic bags by grocers who have reported a drop in business because customers will not pay the dime for a paper bag, on the other hand plastic bags are costing taxpayers and recyclers millions of dollars each year.

Plastic bags are a true menace to our ecosystems and our waste diversion goals. Barely recyclable, almost all of the 400 plastic bags used per second in the state are discarded. Once discarded, they either enter our landfills or our marine ecosystem.

People think of plastic bags as being free. Instead, they actually cost taxpayers millions every year.

US EPA estimates that west coast cities spend $13 per resident to keep litter from ending up in our oceans as marine pollution. For California, the overall cost to protect our waters from litter is over $412 million each year–with between 8% to 25% attributable to plastic bags alone according to clean up data from San Jose and Los Angeles County.

Based on this information, an estimated 33 million to 103 million dollars is spent each year to manage plastic bag litter in California alone.

“In addition cities and recyclers spend time and money removing plastic bags from their recyclables stream, where bags jam machinery and add to the manual labor costs of recycling. San Jose estimated an annual loss of $1 million each year due to plastic bag related repairs in their facilities. And in early 2013, it was reported that at least one recycling facility in Sacramento shut down six times a day to remove bags from their machines.”

We all need to wake up, and not just when we’re traveling.

© HeididmSchmidt and Little USA Trips July 1, 2012.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to HeididmSchmidt and Little USA Trips with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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