It’s a wrap on plastic bags for Calabasas – Calabasas Real Estate

It’s a wrap on plastic bags

2011-08-04 / Editorials

Light and disposable and relatively cheap, they’re undoubtedly a convenience. But plastic shopping bags also carry a bad rap. They litter the neighborhoods and clog storm drains and sewers. In a word, plastic bags are a mess and it’s probably a good thing the City of Calabasas tossed them aside.

But one month into the city’s official ban on plastic shopping bags, the reviews are mixed.

“One result of the ban is that, as of Sun., July 24, all of the hand carry baskets at the Albertsons on Agoura Road have been stolen,” one anonymous letter writer told The Acorn.

Sounds plausible—and we’ve heard the complaint from more than one source—but the grocery store would not confirm the thefts.

Not all shoppers bring their own reusable bags, and some feel compelled to steal the hand baskets to carry their groceries out.

Other shoppers miss the functionality of the plastic bags.

“Prior to the ban, I reused the plastic grocery bags as liners for the trash containers. I also reused them when walking my dog,” writes Lana Shapiro of Calabasas. “Now I am forced to buy two different types of plastic bags for these purposes.”

While research suggests most plastic shopping bags are discarded after a single use, there’s a gut feeling that people reuse them more than we think. The same cannot be said for the millions of plastic food, storage and trash bags sold in grocery stores each year. Aren’t these bags equally dangerous to the environment?

Paper bags aren’t necessarily the answer either. According to industry sources, it takes about 70 percent less energy to manufacture a plastic grocery bag than a paper bag and 90 percent less energy to recycle a pound of plastic than a pound of paper. Although paper bags are made from trees, disposable bags come from fossil fuels. Neither direction is good.

Fact is, we should reduce our consumption of both plastic and paper and turn instead to the reusable bag. Tote bags are gaining popularity and can be filled with groceries and other items over and over. Invest in a few now, keep them in the trunk of your car and the environment will thank you.

Calabasas is on the right track with its ban on plastic bags. It’s likely other cities will eventually follow their lead.

It has taken some getting used to on our end simply because of habit but we keep our reusable bags in the cars and think the ban is a good thing. We had so many plastic bags accumulate in our house each month. The inconvenience and complaints from some are minor compared to the environmental impact. Good for Calabasas!

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