Home > environment > Petition to ban plastic bags

Petition to ban plastic bags

Surfrider Humboldt is looking for 1000 signatures on a petition to ban plastic bags in Humboldt County (wording below). Signed petitions will go to Humboldt County Supervisors and the Eureka City Council.

Coastal communities are ideal locations for single-use plastic bag bans as plastic pollution in the ocean is especially hard to address. As you read this, there is a growing mass of plastic trash circulating around the Pacific Gyre in the Pacific Ocean!

Since plastic does not biodegrade it remains in the ocean for hundreds of years where it breaks down into tiny particles that resemble plankton.  Fish and other marine life mistake “plastic plankton” for food and thus, plastic enters our food web.

The idea behind banning single use plastic bags is to promote the use of re-useable shopping bags.  Please help ban the single-use plastic bags in Humboldt County by supporting this petition with your signature.

Sign here.

  1. February 23, 2012 at 6:57 am

    Here’ a good cause, yet it should be up to the individual to use paper, plastic, or cloth bags. We keep complaining about big government, is this just another example of placing more regulations on our lives?

  2. February 23, 2012 at 7:12 am

    And even more jobs lost because of environmentalism. By the time we ban all the things they feel have some negative effect on the environment, there will be few jobs left.

  3. Dan
    February 23, 2012 at 7:30 am

    The burden of getting the used plastic bags
    out of our waterways, belongs to those that profited
    from their use.
    Until that sort of responsibility is shown,
    Ban the Bag!

  4. Bolithio
    February 23, 2012 at 8:05 am

    I support this 100%. I always ask for paper bags if I need more than my totes.

    I posted this before, an hour documentary, but there is article below if you cant afford the time:


  5. February 23, 2012 at 8:06 am
  6. February 23, 2012 at 8:06 am

    I wish to add, what about garbage bags? If you are going to ban plastic grocery bags I use as garbage bags), or sandwich bags; let’s just ban all plastic bags! Stores offer choices, society just has to use the choices offered, not regulated!

  7. Anonymous
    February 23, 2012 at 8:31 am

    Charles and Fred-you are both pathetic! One small thing that can be done to help save the environment and Fred is ranting about jobs lost, and Charles wants to make this a big government issue-PATHETIC!!!

  8. RefFan
    February 23, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Would it help to say “you got to start somewhere”?

  9. Bolithio
    February 23, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Yes Charles, but when the plastic being used is completely 100% un-recycable we have a problem. 60 billion tons of plastic are produced each year, and less than 5% of that is ever recycled. Most of that cant be recycled. We can do better. Its not about regulating your choice. Its about not creating a mutant toxic waste dump in our ocean.

  10. Bolithio
    February 23, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Come on Fred, you can do better than that?! Watch the movie (Or at least read the article below it) and re-consider how funny that anxiety web page is.

  11. February 23, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Poor Fred is losing another precious freedom.

  12. February 23, 2012 at 8:59 am

    …. but when the plastic being used is completely 100% un-recycable we have a problem.

    Plastic shopping bags are recyclable. Go into any grocery store in this state and there are bins there to drop your used plastic bags in. They’re usually near the entrance to the store.

    Those bins are very well used as every time I’ve dropped my bags off they’re usually crammed full and I have to push mine in to make them fit. I’ve noticed few, if any, bags flying around since those recycling bins have been out and, yes, I have been looking.

    About the only problem with shopping bag recycling is it doesn’t seem cost effective for normal recyclers to accept them- mostly due to shipping costs, or so I’ve heard. Still, you can drop your used bags off at Winco, Safeway, Rite- Aid, etc. It’s their problem to get the to the recyclers after that.

    BTW; Bolithio, there are those that say paper shopping bags are more harmful to the environment than plastic. As anyone who pays attention should know, the same people who banned plastic bags in some communities now want to ban the paper bags, as well.

  13. Anonymous
    February 23, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Give any example of an educated person that claims paper bags are just as harmful as plastic bags. Any example Fred. Again, statements based on no facts, just Fred’s wisdom. Fred won’t be satisfied until the county survives on fast food wrapped in gmo’s, wrapped in plastic, served in a plastic bag, that can be paid for with pennies! Some of us value a better quality of life Fred-but you wouldn’t know that because you hovel up in your house all day and judge everyone, everything, except your own ignorance.

  14. Bolithio
    February 23, 2012 at 9:14 am

    BTW; Bolithio, there are those that say paper shopping bags are more harmful to the environment than plastic. As anyone who pays attention should know, the same people who banned plastic bags in some communities now want to ban the paper bags, as well.

    Im sure. But paper is derived from renewable resource and are biodegradable. Plastic simply breaks down into its original individual polymers which have a half-life of thousands of years. Its great that they have a can at safeway to stuff previously used plastic bags into. But where do you think most of em’ go?

  15. February 23, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Their reasoning generally has to do with trees being cut down to make paper (cutting down trees is bad, the wisdom goes) in addition to the energy used in both logging and manufacture of paper bags. Next time I see someone advocating a ban on paper bags, I’ll post it here or on my blog.

  16. Tim
    February 23, 2012 at 9:25 am

    I swear 15 years ago they were trying to ban paper bags..wtf? People: make up your minds.

  17. poly P
    February 23, 2012 at 9:25 am

    “Its great that they have a can at safeway to stuff previously used plastic bags into. But where do you think most of em’ go?”

    Good question. I have often wondered that myself. Ya think Safeway will give an honest answer.

  18. February 23, 2012 at 9:25 am

    @ Bolithio: Where do the shopping bags go in those receptacles? To recycling centers where they’re made into carpet, shoes and other things. State law required the stores have the containers. I’m not sure if state law requires where the bags be taken.

    Even if the bags were taken to landfills, plastic bags take up very little space, despite exaggerations made by environmentalists.

    As far as paper bags being from renewable resources, I think you and I both know that means nothing to most environmentalists.

    As an aside, the Bag Anxiety web site has a page that says plastic bags are made with natural gas, not oil. I’ll admit I can’t help but wonder how that works.

    I also read a comment from some gal in the S.F. Chronicle(?) who claimed at least some plastic bags are being made from corn now. I have no idea if that’s true.

  19. hummer
    February 23, 2012 at 9:26 am

    “Plastic bags take 40% less energy to make than paper bags and generate 80% less waste. And with the energy costs of making and shipping reusable bags — not to mention washing them after each use — you’d have to use the same cotton cloth bag for more than 7 ½ years to make it a greener option than a plastic bag used just three times”

  20. High Finance
    February 23, 2012 at 9:40 am

    I thought we environmentalists were supposed to be against paper bags because then trees have to be cut down ?

    I’m confused !

  21. February 23, 2012 at 10:18 am

    You are confused, HiFi, but we love you anyways.

  22. Fact Checker
    February 23, 2012 at 11:05 am

    High Finance said:
    February 23, 2012 at 9:40 am

    “I’m confused !”

    Facts are facts and I must agree with Mr. High Finance on this self-evaluation.

  23. Fact Checker
    February 23, 2012 at 11:09 am

    “Paper and plastic bags are roughly equal in pros and cons. While they are convenient addictions, they both gobble up natural resources and cause significant pollution. When faced with the question of paper or plastic, the answer should always be neither. Whether you’re replacing paper bags with an … or plastic bags with a …, choosing a high-quality reusable bag helps you to avoid using thousands of disposable bags each year.”


  24. Bolithio
    February 23, 2012 at 11:32 am

    @ Fred. I was referring to the bags that don’t make it into the super market cans.

    – 31 million tons of plastic waste were generated in 2010, representing 12.4 percent of total MSW.

    – In 2010, the United States generated almost 14 million tons of plastics as containers and packaging, almost 11 million tons as durable goods, such as appliances, and almost 7 million tons as nondurable goods, for example plates and cups.

    – Only 8 percent of the total plastic waste generated in 2010 was recovered for recycling.

    – In 2010, the category of plastics which includes bags, sacks, and wraps was recycled at almost 12 percent.


    Will banning plastic bags help the environment?



    – plastic packaging is the main plastic product worldwide (97 million tons / year – 37%);

    – plastic bags are the least-recycled plastic packaging waste (5% in Europe) (8% in US);

    – every year about 500 billion plastic bags are produced worldwide;

    – plastic bags are a waste which is highly dispersed in the environment;

    – land activities are the main cause of sea pollution;

    – plastic waste is the main component of waste floating in the sea (70 – 80%);

    – plastic bags are dangerous, especially for marine life;

    – particles derived from the decomposition of plastic waste can enter the food chain of living organisms;

    – plastic waste fragments can absorb high concentrations of toxic substances in the sea;

    – plastic bags are one of the most easily reproducible plastic materials today, by using biodegradable biopolymers;

    – plastics bags have a low unit cost, so even great increases of the price of raw materials would cause a per capita expenditure of no higher than a few dollars per year.

    So, as stated above, banning plastic bags is not the salvation of the environment, but can be a way to reduce the environmental impact of human activities.

  25. Bolithio
    February 23, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Fact Checker:

    Your article states: “A 2008 article from the National Cooperative Grocers Association states that each year the United States consumes 10 billion paper grocery bags, requiring 14 million trees.”

    There are 500 million acres of commercial timberland in the US. Assuming a conservative figure of 500 trees per acre on a pulp-wood plantation, that represent 28,000 acres for the 14 million trees. That would represent 0.000056 of our forests. In 100 years, that would represent 0.0056 of our forest land. A pulp plantation would have 2-3 harvest cycles in that time, so assuming those harvested acres remain forest land, the total harvested acres would not exceed that amount. This is a perfect way to demonstrate how renewable resources work. Considering the adverse effects of plastic, this consumption of a renewable resource is much less impactful than plastic.

    I would add that my argument isnt to support wasting resources on paper bags either. In my mind the solution should be producing the environmentally sound variants of plastic for single use products – with the readily available technology (e.g. biodegradable biopolymers) – and reduce the need for paper and plastic bags. Until then, paper remains a much better option than plastic.

  26. Fact Checker
    February 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Okay Bolithio. It isn’t about doing the math to see if we can cut down enough trees to have a better product than plastic bags. I have condensed my 7 lines to 2 to help you better understand the bottom line.
    “…choosing a high-quality reusable bag helps you to avoid using thousands of disposable bags each year.”

  27. February 23, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Until then, paper remains a much better option than plastic.

    They’re both useful products with their advantages and disadvantages. Should someone develop a suitable replacement that people prefer, I’m sure they’ll flock to them. Until then, they provide gainful employment for thousands of people.

  28. Fact Checker
    February 23, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Fred Mangels says:
    February 23, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    “…Should someone develop a suitable replacement that people prefer…”

    How ’bout reusable cloth bags? Been using my same bags for nearly 20 years.

  29. February 23, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Some people do use cloth bags. My wife made her own reusable bags out of some kind of cloth. I use reusable bags I bought at Winco, most of the time.

    Most people I see at Winco seem to prefer the plastic bags. Each to their own. I figure eventually someone will come up with something just as good as the plastic bags, but breaks down fairly quickly. That will be nice for most of us but not good for the people involved in the current recycling of plastic shopping bags.

  30. Thorstein Veblen
    February 23, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    While we are banning stuff, can we ban the plastic packaging on just about every product I buy? Even food is starting to come in hard plastic, child-proof, adult-proof, open-proof packaging. Heck with the scissors and knives, where’s the chainsaw?

    I’ve pretty much switched over to cloth grocery bags. I’m ok with banning the plastic bags here if it helps keep the ocean cleaner and healthier.

  31. Anonymous
    February 23, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    When plastic bags are outlawed, what will people use to pick up dog and cat crap? Their naked hands?

  32. Anonymous
    February 23, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Does anyone remember the numbers on how many plastic company lobbyist there are per Senate or Congress member? It is a huge number but I can’t remember how many and the numbers must be increasing daily looking at the way things are packaged nowadays.

  33. Anonymous
    February 23, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    Make sure you tell Obama, or is he and all Liberals excluded.

  34. walt
    February 23, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    This from NBC last summer:

    “While a number of California cities have banned or plan to ban the use of plastic bags, students in the state may soon be told how wonderful plastic bags are.

    American Chemistry Council, a lobbying group for the chemical industry got to edit the new environmental curriculum for California schools, according to an investigation by California Watch.

    As a result of the public relations effort, positive messages about plastic bags were inserted in the textbooks.

    Environmental activists have been fighting to get plastic bags banned throughout the state on the grounds that they kill marine animals, leech toxic chemicals and take ten centuries to decompose in landfills.

    Two years ago, a consultant hired by California school officials added a new section to the textbook used as a guide for 11th grade teachers entitled, “The Advantages of Plastic Shopping Bags.”

    The textbook language, according to California Watch, is taken nearly verbatim from letters written by the American Chemistry Council, a plastics industry lobbying group.”

    “He gives the kids free samples, because he knows full well
    That today’s young innocent faces will be tomorrow’s clientele. ..”
    –Tom Lehrer, from “The Old Dope Peddler”

  35. February 24, 2012 at 6:42 am

    “While a number of California cities have banned or plan to ban the use of plastic bags, students in the state may soon be told how wonderful plastic bags are…..

    Not at all, and this is indicative of environmental debate in general.

    As it was, schools were going to just teach how “bad” plastic bags are. No mention of the other side of the argument as we’ve seen here. All the chem industry folks were trying to do was to have both sides of the argument presented.

    This is becoming a serious problem to the free flow of information with those from The Left wanting to limit information flow in schools- whether it be about global warming or plastic bags- to that which benefits their agenda. I suggest everyone should be concerned about that.

    Thinking back to my time in school, I was very fortunate that teachers seemed to always present both sides of an issue and let students discuss the issue amongst themselves.

  36. G Gilbert Yule
    February 24, 2012 at 7:11 am

    In December of 2001 my wife and I traveled to New York City to pay our respects and to witness firsthand the aftermath of the World Trade Center attack. Needless to say it was horrific. Much of the rubble had already been hauled away. The most compelling image I came away from the experience with was of the small graveyard attached to the back of
    Trinity Church at the very edge of the debris field. The gravestones, bushes and trees were still covered in single-use plastic bags. They covered everything and were all that had survived the total destruction just this few hundred yards from ground zero. This is not the legacy I care to leave.

  37. walt
    February 24, 2012 at 7:15 am

    So, Fred, when they’re teaching about WWII, should they have a nazi counter all the bad things they say about Herr Hitler? I’ll bet it’s those nasty lefties who keep fair play for nazis out of the classroom.

  38. Black-Flag
    February 24, 2012 at 7:31 am

    There should be a ban on dreadlocks and hip hop music. These two things have ruined the north coast beyond repair. Banning things makes me want to yell, ‘ Hail Victory ‘ and begin kicking in doors searching for things banned and future things to ban, it’s just never enough once it’s begun.
    Besides, government has a right to inspect the lives of it’s servants and force them to respect the state and be held accountable. I’m really sick of this liberty bs people keep talking about- enough is enough.
    Hail Victory, Hail Government, Crush Dissent!

  39. February 24, 2012 at 7:46 am

    So, Fred, when they’re teaching about WWII, should they have a nazi counter all the bad things they say about Herr Hitler?

    They should give the whole story, not part of it.

    Seems to me you’re one of those who just wants one side taught in schools. I rest my case.

  40. February 24, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Fred mourns the loss of the freedom to deposit single-use plastic bags everywhere and anywhere. It’s like living in a concentration camp!

  41. Percy
    February 24, 2012 at 9:10 am

    Scientific peer reviewed information is what I want taught in the schools. It can change as new information becomes available. That’s different than points of view held by religious organizations or lobbyists, or corporate spokes people, which can be freely disseminated on the internet or in their houses of worship or in the adds they buy on TV, just not taught as truth in schools.

  42. Anonymous
    February 24, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Since corporations are people, and money is speech, and corporations have all the money, it follows that corporate speech is truthier, and should be taught in schools. After they’re privatized it will be.

  43. February 24, 2012 at 9:37 am

    And yet I’m proven right again: The Authoritarian Left wants only its version of things to be taught in public schools, or anywhere else for that matter.

    You all need to keep in mind, as Barry Goldwater reminded us, that when you have a government that gives you everything you want, it can also take it all away. It will be interesting to hear the screams of outrage when a different group is in power and they won’t allow your view to be presented in schools.

  44. February 24, 2012 at 11:03 am

    “…when you have a government that gives you everything you want, it can also take it all away…”

    What Fred may be trying to say is that if they take away our precious plastic bags, they can also give them back.

  45. Anonymous
    February 24, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Of course, Fred has good reason to fear his imagined “authoritarian-left”.

    The actual reality of an authoritarian-right has proven to be be a disaster for America. Too many folks like Fred miss the irony.

    America’s right-wing media has effectively censored the fact that many nations around the world are using successful alternatives to our outdated technologies. (Why would a corporation sink their profits into R&D when it’s far cheaper to buy politicians to stop regulations requiring retooling?).

    In German grocery stores the plastic bags are made of soybeans
    that biodegrade within one year. (Same with BMW chassis). Europe even banned toxic products from China decades ago.

    The U.S. is in the grips of an authoritarian corporate-right.

    They deeply despise “socialist” Obama, yet, he’s changed little from the Bush era. Even our our own right-wing rural developers, builders, realtors, speculators, and financiers, (forever dominating local politics), have joined their national comrades to successfully oppose infill development…despite their annual visits to Europe where they admire the centuries-old attractive, livable, walkable, affordable, communities. Apparently, no one told them it’s called “Smart Growth”.

  46. Anonymous
    February 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Take a look at the world around you, then think about the rest of the world we don’t see every day.

    We NEED to stop industrial logging and deforestation altogether, we NEED to dramatically reduce resource consumption, we NEED to reverse population growth…we are basically fucked because none of this is happening in the big picture although people have been demanding such change for decades.

  47. Percy
    February 24, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    You don’t need to fear what kind of scientific crap the Authoritarian Left wants taught in public schools. It’s as simple as where you buy your textbooks. If you buy them from Texas you don’t need to teach your kids about Thomas Jefferson’s crazy ideas about separation of church and state. Instead let em read about the significant contributions of pro slavery Confederate leaders during the civil war. Evolution is only a theory and Isaac Newton, who gives a shit what kind of scientific mumbo jumbo he came up with. Instead we can examine scientific advances through military technology. Now there’s some real science. And what’s with this shit that the earth isn’t flat. Prove it! I know, just making your point.

  48. Tofu Jesus
    February 24, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    FUD? On this forum? Why I never!

  49. Not A Native
    February 24, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Normally i simply ignore Fred’s lack of mental capacity.

    Fred is simply stupid. To him, information and disinformation have equal status. And that works for him because in truth, he doesn’t have the mental capability to tell them apart.

    And Fred’s the consumate consumerist. Stuff just comes out of nowhere for him to choose, as in “Should someone develop a suitable replacement that people prefer,..” Fred simply can’t grasp that public policies are what underpins what people choose (or don’t choose) to develop and use. Public policies that make wasteful and harmful practices profitable is only reason we’re even having a plastic bag discussion.

    And as far as his compassion, Fred’s concerned with putting plastic recyclers out of work. Since WWII has come up here, Fred would have bemoaned closing concentration camps because that would cause massive unemployment among the guards. Thats his dumbass brand of Libertarianism.

    OK, I’m being mean here. But sheesh Fred, just go back to your sandbox and let the 99% who are your mental superiors figure it out first and then later tell you how its been worked out.

  50. Anonymous
    February 24, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Back to your normal self, NAN.

  51. SmokeMonster
    February 25, 2012 at 7:59 am

    How are NANs comments to Fred any worse than joels smartass (as usual) comments to Fred anon? But yet you single out NAN

  52. February 25, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Fred simply can’t grasp that public policies are what underpins what people choose (or don’t choose) to develop and use.

    In other words, you think that government should decide what people should be able to buy and what they can’t. I’d suggest the opposite has pretty much been true throughout history. People buy what they like and what works for them.

    Buggy whips used to be a big seller back in the old days. People moved on from horse drawn carriages, not because of government edict, but because they found something they liked better. As a result, buggy whips are rarely found now.

    Sure, California works on being like North Korea or Cuba where the government decides everything that’s allowed. I hope we don’t go all the way there as you’d like. I suppose that’s what this whole discussion is about.

  53. February 25, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    “California works on being like North Korea or Cuba…”

    And Fred works on making it difficult to lampoon his comments.

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