Recently, a conservative blog wrote about how the Los Angeles city council is expected to ban single-use plastic bags – such as those used by grocery stores – in the city. According to city officials, as reported in a Los Angeles newspaper, it is “an attempt by the city to reduce litter.” Further, according to this same city official, 43 other cities in the country have adopted such bans, with “between 94 and 98 percent reduction in bag use.”
Environmental success, right? Well, not if the purpose is to reduce litter, as the L.A.city official said. According to the blog post on the proposed L.A.city ban, San Francisco saw no difference in litter from plastics after it passed its plastic-bag ban in 2007. According to surveys done to determine sources of litter in the city, before the ban plastics accounted for 0.6 percent of the city’s litter. After the ban, litter from plastics in the city actually increased to 0.64 percent. Further, plastic bag manufacturers inL.A. are predicting that the ban may force them to lay off hundreds of people as they lose business from the ban.
The fact that plastics only accounted for only six-tenths of one percent of all litter in San Francisco is a testament to the worthlessness of a plastic-bag ban, if the goal is to do something that actually protects the environment in reality. Further, the fact that Los Angeles is following its northern neighbor in this supposed litter-reduction policy when actual experience suggests it will do nothing to protect the environment from litter, and will likely kill jobs in the process, only reinforces its worthlessness.
Of course, if the real goal is to appear eco-friendly by attacking “unclean” economic activity and lifestyle choices in order to appease the demands of those driven by the misguided and radical environmental thinking of the left, regardless of environmental and economic realities, then the policy is an amazing success.