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Alderman wants to ban plastic bags at grocery stores

Alderman wants to ban plastic bags at grocery stores
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  • Alderman wants to ban plastic bags at grocery stores

    Post #1 - November 2nd, 2011, 3:15 pm
    Post #1 - November 2nd, 2011, 3:15 pm Post #1 - November 2nd, 2011, 3:15 pm
    Large stores in Chicago would be banned from putting shoppers' products in plastic bags under a proposal introduced today. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/poli ... wrap-11211
    "At a formal dinner party, the person nearest death should always be seated closest to the bathroom." George Carlin
  • Post #2 - November 2nd, 2011, 6:22 pm
    Post #2 - November 2nd, 2011, 6:22 pm Post #2 - November 2nd, 2011, 6:22 pm
    The article said people find it difficult to recycle plastic bags. How hard is it to stuff them in that container at the store? I think the alderman overlooks the fact that some folks don't care, and no matter what you use, they'll throw it out the window, while others will always be conscientious. I have seen plenty of people bring in bags to stores to be recycled, and no one seems to be struggling. And if someone is having trouble recycling a plastic bag, will they be okay with recycling a paper bag? The argument is just so lame. Legislators should be required to at least have a decent argument before proposing a law. "It's hard for people to recycle the bags" does not make a really compelling case, especially in the face of considerable increase in expense (acknowledged in the article) and inconvenience for both stores and shoppers. Is this a good time to be making things more expensive? Or to drive more stores out of the city?

    Of course, there are also the countless legions who rely on plastic bags for taking out the garbage or cleaning up after Fido while walking around the block. So instead of getting the bags for free, they'll be buying them -- but they'll still be plastic bags.

    Not quite as stupid as the foie gras ban, but it will certainly hurt a lot more people.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #3 - November 2nd, 2011, 6:43 pm
    Post #3 - November 2nd, 2011, 6:43 pm Post #3 - November 2nd, 2011, 6:43 pm
    Hi- I just had to reply. I used to volunteer at North Park Village recycling center in Chicago, and I know a fair amount about recycling. The problem with plastic bag recycling, is that if there is one contraband item in the plastic bag, such as a grocery receipt, the whole batch of new bags that are being made out of the old bags is contaminated, and it is not feasible for somebody to check every bag. The recycled bag programs that seem to be the most successful, are the ones where a bag manufacturer pays a group, such as a school to supply them with bags that have been inspected. I don't know how true it is, but I have been told by a former grocery store employee, that he actually saw the bags in the recycling bin getting tossed in with the rest of the garbage. The best thing would be for everyone to bring their own bag like I usually do. One of the farmers at the Evanston farmer's market, actually charges for bags, and since he has started doing that, he hardly has to buy any bags. I see a lot more people bringing their own bags when they shop. At both Whole Foods and Target they give you money back if you bring your own bag. At Whole Foods it is 10 cents per bag, and at Target it is 5 cents per bag. Trader Joe's might do that too, but I am not sure about that. I don't go in TJ very often. I know Aldi's charges you for every bag of theirs you use. Whole Foods got rid of plastic grocery bags a few years ago. They still have plastic bags for produce and bulk food. Thanks, Nancy
  • Post #4 - November 2nd, 2011, 6:46 pm
    Post #4 - November 2nd, 2011, 6:46 pm Post #4 - November 2nd, 2011, 6:46 pm
    TJ's used you let you fill out an entry for a gift card if you brought your own bag. They stopped that quite a while ago.
    "At a formal dinner party, the person nearest death should always be seated closest to the bathroom." George Carlin
  • Post #5 - November 2nd, 2011, 7:50 pm
    Post #5 - November 2nd, 2011, 7:50 pm Post #5 - November 2nd, 2011, 7:50 pm
    NFriday wrote:Hi- I just had to reply. I used to volunteer at North Park Village recycling center in Chicago, and I know a fair amount about recycling. The problem with plastic bag recycling, is that if there is one contraband item in the plastic bag, such as a grocery receipt, the whole batch of new bags that are being made out of the old bags is contaminated, and it is not feasible for somebody to check every bag.


    1) I'm really not trying to be a smart ass but if no one checks each bag how would you know there's a lone reciept in one to reject the batch?
    2) My recycling program has us just dump everything into one container (a large wheeled bin), does this mean they really dont sort out the plastic and recycle it?
  • Post #6 - November 2nd, 2011, 8:32 pm
    Post #6 - November 2nd, 2011, 8:32 pm Post #6 - November 2nd, 2011, 8:32 pm
    Hi- I don't know of any community recycling programs that recycle plastic bags, because of the problems recycling them. As far as I know it is only the chain stores that will collect them. I think it is more of a PR gimmick for the stores. The city of Evanston does not recycle plastic bags, even though in my condo building, I see lots of plastic bags in the recycling bins that are just going to get pitched at the sort out center.

    When I volunteered at North Park Village recycling center operated by the Resource center, the only plastic bottles people were supposed to drop off were #1 and #2, which consists mostly of milk detergent pop and water. The lids are a different type of plastic, and are not recycled. The problem is that the other plastics, #3-#7 can only be used to make plastic lumber, and there is not a huge market for it. Most plastic can not be used for food containers such as milk jugs.

    When I used to volunteer at North Park Village, I spent hours there educating recyclers about what plastic was not recyclable, and pitching the lids and other plastic, that people were not supposed to drop off.

    Ken Dunn, who is in charge of the resource center, has been in the recycling business for probably 30 years, and he knows exactly what the plastic recycling market is like, and that is why he is so selective about what he recycles. If it was practical to recycle plastic bags, he would be doing it. Hope this helps, Nancy
  • Post #7 - November 2nd, 2011, 10:27 pm
    Post #7 - November 2nd, 2011, 10:27 pm Post #7 - November 2nd, 2011, 10:27 pm
    That raises questions about the recycling of anything. I clean out everything before I deposit it in the recycling bin, but I don't think most folks do, at least not where I live. I've seen pizza boxes with leftover pizza in the recycling bin, and glass mayo jars that haven't been rinsed out, and plastic bottles that still have honey or syrup or whatever in them, and a wide range of other recyclable substances with "contaminants" inside. So if one receipt would deep six the processing of plastic bags, how can they recycle anything else? Or do they (as I know has happened in some areas) just take the stuff from our recycling bins to landfill, and just keep the bins around to make us feel better?

    Of course, even this still doesn't address the question of what will keep people from trashing the landscape, regardless of what the stores give you to carry your stuff home in. Some folks are just slobs and don't care about tossing bags and boxes and wrappers about -- and switching from plastic to paper won't help that. In the article, it seems the alderman is more worried about littering than actual ecology, but his solution doesn't address the problem he sees.

    I also think the timing is bad -- let's hit businesses and customers with a significant cost increase in the middle of a recession. Just doesn't sound like it will work.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #8 - November 2nd, 2011, 11:20 pm
    Post #8 - November 2nd, 2011, 11:20 pm Post #8 - November 2nd, 2011, 11:20 pm
    Hi- That is why it all goes to a sorting facility. I am sure the pizza boxes get tossed out at the sorting facility. The glass gets rinsed while it is being processed, and hopefully the lids get removed in the sorting facility. But if bags are easily recyclable, then why do none of the community recycling programs take them? Thanks, Nancy
  • Post #9 - November 2nd, 2011, 11:33 pm
    Post #9 - November 2nd, 2011, 11:33 pm Post #9 - November 2nd, 2011, 11:33 pm
    NFriday wrote:Hi- That is why it all goes to a sorting facility. I am sure the pizza boxes get tossed out at the sorting facility. The glass gets rinsed while it is being processed, and hopefully the lids get removed in the sorting facility. But if bags are easily recyclable, then why do none of the community recycling programs take them? Thanks, Nancy


    I'm not saying they are easy to recycle. I was asking how anything is recycled, if "contaminants" are such an issue. I'd see glass and metal as being the only things that could easily be "cleaned up" enough to have no contaminants, if a single receipt makes a plastic bag unrecyclable. Glass and metal can be washed at high temperatures (because it's not just the mayo, but also the labels and the glue) -- though one wonders if the energy needed to heat the water uses an amount of fuel that would make the recycling less cost effective. I do know there was an issue at one point with recycling paper, because washing the toner off the paper created serious issues.

    Still, it doesn't address the key issue the alderman brought up, which is littering.

    I just get the feeling this creates more problems than it solves and fails to address the issue the alderman seems concerned about, which is bags being thrown all over the sidewalks and streets.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #10 - November 3rd, 2011, 9:00 am
    Post #10 - November 3rd, 2011, 9:00 am Post #10 - November 3rd, 2011, 9:00 am
    Not one post as to why the 1st Ward Alderman is spending time and effort on a grocery bag ordinance in November 2011? Seems like strange timing with what appears to be a city at the brink of financial collapse and a new city budget that needs attending to.
  • Post #11 - November 3rd, 2011, 9:16 am
    Post #11 - November 3rd, 2011, 9:16 am Post #11 - November 3rd, 2011, 9:16 am
    I hope this time-wasting idiot's proposed ordinance includes something about him buying bathroom trash bags for all Chicago residents, and hanging out in my kitchen so we can stuff dirty diapers in his pockets when our current means of dirty diaper collection & disposal, Jewel & Home Depot bags, is outlawed.

    I would also like him to release a list of these alleged plastic-bag-filled parks and streets, so I can go see them for myself. I passed by/through a number of parks on my way to work this morning, and specifically kept an eye out for discarded plastic bags - I saw two.
  • Post #12 - November 3rd, 2011, 9:27 am
    Post #12 - November 3rd, 2011, 9:27 am Post #12 - November 3rd, 2011, 9:27 am
    I haven't checked, but I bet if you look at a list of the Alderman's campaign donors you'll see the CEO of that company that sells $7-a-package yuppie do-gooder poop bags.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #13 - November 3rd, 2011, 9:38 am
    Post #13 - November 3rd, 2011, 9:38 am Post #13 - November 3rd, 2011, 9:38 am
    My 1st thought when I read this was bag-hoarding / rationing plan to be implemented immediately (I have 4 dogs). My 2nd thought was WHY is this anyone's priority right now. I will gladly collect bags from anyone wishing to ensure that their bag "waste" is properly utilized :evil:
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #14 - November 3rd, 2011, 1:50 pm
    Post #14 - November 3rd, 2011, 1:50 pm Post #14 - November 3rd, 2011, 1:50 pm
    I mostly use grocery bags for trash can liners. They have too many holes for me to use them reliably for poop bags. We buy the poop bags at around $10 for 1000 from the dog walking service we use. When I grocery shop I generally bring my own bags, and only get bags from the store if I need trash bags :) I actively dislike the paper bags from TJ and the plastic shopping bags from TI. Those I find much less of a use for.
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #15 - November 3rd, 2011, 5:13 pm
    Post #15 - November 3rd, 2011, 5:13 pm Post #15 - November 3rd, 2011, 5:13 pm
    Alderman Moreno is my alderman (1st ward) and believe it or not, as far as Alderman go, he's a pretty darn good one, and far from an "idiot" (but I reserve my right to change my opinion on him, depending on how various issues in my neighborhood are resolved in the near future). Personally, I think the idea of reusing plastic bags is only slightly more realistic than a pipe dream because (1) most people don't give enough of a sh!t to do so; and (2) your hopes of reuse will eventually be eclipsed by the copious distribution of plastic bags, as anyone who has ever optimistically collected them under their sink knows, as before long, all of these excess bags are protruding out of the cabinet. Reuse means you reuse the bag repeatedly, preferably to do with it what you initially needed to consume it for -- in other words, you bring the same bag to the store repeatedly and forego taking any new plastic bags until this bag is worn out. Reuse is meant to cut down on consumption; using the bag the next day to pick up dog poop or to throw a dirty diaper in is a handy repurposing of the plastic bags, but if you only throw those repurposed bags in the trash, and go to the store the next day to consume more plastic bags, it doesn't really resolve the issue that non-biodegradable plastic bags are consumed like food at an AYCE buffet attended by the Fat Boys, and those bags will end up living forever in landfills. Also, all you need to do is walk down the street and see these bags blown against curbs to know what a littering issue they are. Besides, I've never understood why having your groceries bagged in 20 plastic bags that can't stand upright when you're fishing for your car keys was better than 2 upright paper bags.

    I'll out myself as one of those "yuppie" doggie poop bag buyers. I feel like it's worth the money to buy the biodegradable poop bags, because as much as I love my dog, I don't think his steamy pile of poop should live on infinitely inside a grocery plastic bag that would undoubtedly outlast nuclear armageddon. (NB. I realizing that I'm consuming when I buy these biodegradable poop bags, but I also repurpose the biodegradable bags I'm given at places like Green Grocer.)
    Last edited by aschie30 on November 3rd, 2011, 6:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #16 - November 3rd, 2011, 6:19 pm
    Post #16 - November 3rd, 2011, 6:19 pm Post #16 - November 3rd, 2011, 6:19 pm
    I'm going to admit that I had no idea the dog bags were biodegradeable. I'm on it. Thanks!

    While I appreciate the discussion because I learned something today, how is this food related :D ?
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #17 - November 3rd, 2011, 6:58 pm
    Post #17 - November 3rd, 2011, 6:58 pm Post #17 - November 3rd, 2011, 6:58 pm
    boudreaulicious wrote:I'm going to admit that I had no idea the dog bags were biodegradeable.


    Not all are, but probably most. Choose wisely!
  • Post #18 - November 7th, 2011, 12:52 pm
    Post #18 - November 7th, 2011, 12:52 pm Post #18 - November 7th, 2011, 12:52 pm
    The plastic grocery bags are the best thing I have come across for cat litter disposal purposes. They are the perfect size for what I scoop out of two litter boxes, and they have the helpful handles to make the whole process easier. I would be sad if I had to start buying garbage bags for cat litter.
  • Post #19 - November 7th, 2011, 1:08 pm
    Post #19 - November 7th, 2011, 1:08 pm Post #19 - November 7th, 2011, 1:08 pm
    It turns out you can buy plastic grocery bags without having to buy groceries first. They are about 2.5 cents each, which is about a half-cent cheaper than the Bags on Board dog bags that I buy. I'm conflicted because I'd like to help the environment, not create litter, and get bags for free. It seems that the best solution (from my perspective) would be to have groceries packed in biodegradable dog bags, though I realize this may mean that people who use the current grocery bags for things larger than dog poop will have to shell out 2.5 cents a bag.
  • Post #20 - November 7th, 2011, 1:27 pm
    Post #20 - November 7th, 2011, 1:27 pm Post #20 - November 7th, 2011, 1:27 pm
    I'm still keeping an eye out for streets & parks choked with plastic grocery bags. I thought I saw one yesterday, but on closer inspection I found that it was one of those produce bags that one gets off the roll in the produce section of any grocery store. Perhaps some "environmentally conscious" (a.k.a. either being paid off by someone or trying to put a feather in his cap for a re-election effort) alderman will try to have those banned next?
  • Post #21 - November 7th, 2011, 3:13 pm
    Post #21 - November 7th, 2011, 3:13 pm Post #21 - November 7th, 2011, 3:13 pm
    Khaopaat wrote:I'm still keeping an eye out for streets & parks choked with plastic grocery bags. I thought I saw one yesterday, but on closer inspection I found that it was one of those produce bags that one gets off the roll in the produce section of any grocery store.

    I get that your point is that the plastic grocery bags aren't an actual blight, but I'll give you a common example of one way in which they are. Just look up--especially once the leaves are off the trees. Chicago updrafts blow the bags into the limbs and branches of the trees, where they get stuck, potentially forever. (Or until the exact right kind of downdraft frees them from their captivity.) It's ugly, the equivalent of graffiti on nature, and if a proposed ban on plastic bags results in this happening less often, I'll be pleased.
  • Post #22 - November 7th, 2011, 7:32 pm
    Post #22 - November 7th, 2011, 7:32 pm Post #22 - November 7th, 2011, 7:32 pm
    Hi- I was living in Michigan when they instituted the 10 cent deposit on pop and beer cans and bottles in the 70's, and once they did that, you saw a lot less cans and bottles littering the road.

    I see plastic bags hanging off of trees in the Chicago area all the time. I rent a garden from the city of Evanston across from the ecology center on McCormick, and I find all kinds of trash in my garden, including bottles, cans and candy wrappers, and a few plastic bags on occasion. Thanks, Nancy
  • Post #23 - November 8th, 2011, 7:20 pm
    Post #23 - November 8th, 2011, 7:20 pm Post #23 - November 8th, 2011, 7:20 pm
    NFriday wrote:Hi- I was living in Michigan when they instituted the 10 cent deposit on pop and beer cans and bottles in the 70's, and once they did that, you saw a lot less cans and bottles littering the road.

    I see plastic bags hanging off of trees in the Chicago area all the time. I rent a garden from the city of Evanston across from the ecology center on McCormick, and I find all kinds of trash in my garden, including bottles, cans and candy wrappers, and a few plastic bags on occasion. Thanks, Nancy



    I will go along with the plastic ban.

    But if we are going to do that, let's go all the way.

    How about a deposit on ALL beverage containers, including milk?

    How about REUSABLE containers? (e.g. Oberweis milk)

    I loved that Michigan law. At the time, I was running a large vending operation. You increase the price of a can by 15 cents to account for the deposit. Then you put out a bunch of boxes for the can and recover over 60% of the cans WITHOUT actually refunding the cans.
  • Post #24 - November 8th, 2011, 7:37 pm
    Post #24 - November 8th, 2011, 7:37 pm Post #24 - November 8th, 2011, 7:37 pm
    Hi- You see very few pop cans in the landfill in Michigan. Right now in the area I come from though, most of the grocery stores have these machines that keep count of the number of cans, and then crushes them. It makes it easier for the store, but it takes forever if you have a lot of cans to return. My BIL is a really big pepsi fan, and as a favor to my sister who does not have time in the summer to go to the store and feed the cans in the machine, I have volunteered to go for her. I walk in the store with a whole shopping cart full of pepsi cans, and it takes me 30 minutes sometimes to feed them all into the machine. You used to just be able to go to customer service, and hand them the cans, and tell them how many you had. I do give my sister all the money back, which is usually at least $25.00. Thanks, Nancy
  • Post #25 - November 9th, 2011, 7:35 am
    Post #25 - November 9th, 2011, 7:35 am Post #25 - November 9th, 2011, 7:35 am
    I would love a deposit on bottles and cans along with the ban on plastic bags.

    I have to say that my own primary environmental focus is reducing visual pollution in our present-day environment as opposed to reducing landfill pollution in our grandchildrens' environment, although of course that is important to me as well. As concerns the visual pollution we are forced to live amongst now, I can see the deposit helping in two ways.

    One, some people will return their cans to the store so that they are less likely to end up "on the streets."

    Two, all the cans that don't get returned to the store by the people who bought them will get returned to the store by the trashpickers. These folks, who go through our alleys on a regular basis filling up their shopping carts, are a very beneficial part of the city's ecology. They essentially are doing the recycling that other individuals and municipal institutions aren't. If it became even more profitable for them to collect cans than it already is, we'd see fewer of these containers in our streets and gutters.
  • Post #26 - November 9th, 2011, 10:19 am
    Post #26 - November 9th, 2011, 10:19 am Post #26 - November 9th, 2011, 10:19 am

    If this ban goes through, I will strongly consider buying a few thousand bags, setting up in front of grocery stores, and handing them out to all who would care to partake. This will be my own personal form of protest.

    I look forward to the ban on shoes because we hate how they look when they're thrown over power lines.
  • Post #27 - November 9th, 2011, 11:33 am
    Post #27 - November 9th, 2011, 11:33 am Post #27 - November 9th, 2011, 11:33 am
    Hi- So you never buy anything at Aldi's or WF? Whole Foods quit using plastic bags a few years ago, and Aldi's charges for every plastic bag you use there. I never see anybody buying a plastic bag at Aldi's.
  • Post #28 - November 9th, 2011, 12:22 pm
    Post #28 - November 9th, 2011, 12:22 pm Post #28 - November 9th, 2011, 12:22 pm
    NFriday wrote:Hi- So you never buy anything at Aldi's or WF? Whole Foods quit using plastic bags a few years ago, and Aldi's charges for every plastic bag you use there. I never see anybody buying a plastic bag at Aldi's.

    I haven't shopped at an Aldi in almost 20 years, but they've been charging for plastic bags for as long as I can remember (at least the ones in Germany did) - however, I don't care, because I don't currently shop at Aldi. I almost always take reusable bags to Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, which are the two stores where I do a majority of my grocery shopping. However, I get as many plastic bags as I can from Jewel, CVS, and Home Depot to use as lunch bags, bathroom trashcan liners, and dirty diaper bags.

    Note that my list of uses does not include tossing them on the street, where they can fly around and ugly up the landscape. I refuse to care about or support something that will inconvenience me or cost me money, simply because we're forced to share the world with inconsiderate, idiot douchebags. It's bad enough that I have to drive out to the burbs on the rare occasion that I want to buy spray paint, which was also banned in Chicago because of idiot douchebags.
  • Post #29 - November 9th, 2011, 1:21 pm
    Post #29 - November 9th, 2011, 1:21 pm Post #29 - November 9th, 2011, 1:21 pm
    I do EXACTLY what khaopaat does (except for shopping at TJ's and diaper disposal :D ) and I admit, I do feel a twinge of guilt about the fact that even though I'm putting these resources to good use, I know that they aren't the answer, environmentally speaking.

    So WHY hasn't some genius figured out a way to create an environmentally safe, cheap, plastic grocery bag????? If they can develop the damn thing (see Aschie30's note re: the doggie bags), they should be able to figure out a way to make them cheap--isn't that the American way??????????
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #30 - November 9th, 2011, 1:46 pm
    Post #30 - November 9th, 2011, 1:46 pm Post #30 - November 9th, 2011, 1:46 pm
    The problem with using any alternative to plastic is that it doesn't solve the stated problem, which is littering. Even bio-degradable stuff takes a long time to bio-degrade -- so if you throw it on the sidewalk, it's still going to bend of in the trees, no matter what it's made of.

    If keeping bags out of the trees is the goal, having people bring their own bag makes is the only thing that will help. Switching to a different type of bag just creates a different type of litter. Of course, as noted, people will then buy bags, so only part of the problem is solved. The bags will still be in landfill (and if you fill a bio-degradable bag with Huggies, it's pretty much just the bag that will bio-degrade), but they won't be in the trees in downtown Chicago.

    However, one might ask whether it would be cheaper and more effective for companies to pitch in to either hire someone to pull bags out of the trees or start an anti-litter campaign.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com

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