COMMUNITY COMMENTARY: The scoop on the poop

Sadly, AB 1998 failed to pass the California State Senate.
Among the objectors to the Bag Ban are pet owners who rely on plastic bags for pooper-scooping. If I love my pet, why would I object to picking up behind it with paper instead of plastic? A piece of junk mail that would otherwise go straight from the mailbox to the dumpster is an excellent choice for cleaning up behind Rover.
Another objection is about bacteria. Like most Europeans, I haven’t used a plastic bag in years and have yet to be threatened by germs lurking in my reusables or in my immense inventory of paper bags that will last me for the rest of my life. I have a stash of them, as do most of us, clean and ready to carry whatever I need, as long as I remember to take them into the store. And, I get a 5 cent credit when I do so. Unless it’s a gift bag for a special occasion, I won’t pay for a bag. Never have, never will.
But I need plastic bags to line my trash cans! I used to think so, until I quit cold turkey. What’s the big deal about lining the trash can? Put food scraps in the compost bin, separate cans, bottles, paper and plastic according to the recycling guidelines, and wash the container out occasionally. And, for heaven’s sake, quit with the yard waste plastic bags. You want to talk about baggies and Ziplocks? Don’t get me started. Everything ends up in the landfill, folks. Or the ocean. Creative alternatives exist for anyone who wants to live more simply and cares about how they leave the planet for the next generation. Go to for more ideas, and some laughs.
We are addicted to plastic, not unlike any other habit that prevents us from living a smarter, healthier lifestyle. Ya think there’s a connection to cancer, diabetes, asthma, allergies, etc? The latest research says autism and Alzheimer’s as well. I have three dangerous words for you … plastic, pesticides and pharmaceuticals. I am sickened by the amount of single-use plastic I’ve seen at all the “pink events.” And they don’t want to talk about it.
What about recycling? How’s this for an analogy? If we are all cigarette smokers and we have this great idea to collect all the filters and remake them into a useful product … aren’t we still addicted to smoking? That’s what’s happening with a few of the plastic bags and bottles.
Did you see Sanja Gupta’s “Toxic America”? What he exposed cannot be denied … toxicants from chemical factories and refineries, mostly in poor neighborhoods, fouling the water, land, and air. Many in the government have their heads “in the sand” on this and other issues. Charlie Moore at will tell you that the sand is polluted with lots and lots of plastic. And, cigarette butts are some of the most common trash found on our beautiful beaches. Millions of them!
Am I suggesting that we live without plastic, oil and chemicals? Of course not. But, where is it OK to dump this stuff? Unfortunately recycling is not the answer. Beware of the chemical industry and plastic manufacturers who support “bottle bills” and who defeated AB 1998 because they don’t want their profits touched by this common sense legislation. Jobs? I am all in favor of jobs, but not at any price. We all know our economy depends on having more manufacturing here in the US. Is there some reason these factories can’t retool to produce something sustainable?
The scoop … 19 billion plastic bags a year in our state … and the poop, are both hitting the proverbial fan.



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