California City Imposes 25-Cent Tax on Disposable Cups at Restaurants

Innula Zenovka

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British stores have tried offering two kinds of reusable bags, heavy-duty plastic "bags for life" that are good for multiple uses and more expensive, and better looking and more robust jute ones. We have a compulsory 5p levy on the single-use bags they used to give out for free. It's not a tax -- it's compulsory that the stores (larger stores, anyway) collect it but they are supposed to give it to the charity of their choice, rather than to the government.

It's certainly effective in that I now take some bags with me when I go shopping, but it's had unwanted and unexpected consequences:

Over one billion ‘bags for life’ sold undermine government efforts to reduce plastic waste

There's also the problem that, if you order online and have the supermarket deliver your groceries (which I do most of the time) it's a lot more convenient to have them deliver the goods in single-use plastic bags that I can unpack at my leisure, rather than have them delivered unboxed and have to take out all the loose items before the driver can take the boxes away.

I'm glad to see that some chains are now looking into supplying their groceries in US-style paper bags. Morrisons to trial paper bags for groceries and higher price for plastic bags
 
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Kaimi Kyomoon

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Most people take the grips of the shopping carts at supermarkets in their hands, without second thoughts.
They are one of the most contaminated things you can hold in your hands. And still, people don't die from it or get sick.

The fear for contamination has become a thing during the last generations. I think that the commercials from cleaning tissues and soaps did their job over the years.
We're terrified of germs over here. Our local stores all dispense germ killing wipes just inside the door.
Here in DC we have a 10 cent charge if you use a plastic/recyclable bag. Most do not even notice it and those that do just remember to carry cloth bags with them when they go shopping. Not that I remember it all the time however when I forget it is just another bag I can reuse another time. The profits from it go towards the cleanup of a local river (the Anacostia).

What is frustrating though is enforcement is so random. I do pay attention to that tax and sometimes it gets charged and sometimes not. Sometimes it includes paper bags (which is bizarre since they are compostable) and sometimes not. I have even gotten the bag tax when bringing in my own bag (cloth or from a previous trip) to be used! I used to go to Subway a lot where the pointless bags for their sandwiches are not optional and you can not use them for anything else .... then they would put the bagged sandwich in my cloth bag and proceed to charge me the bag tax for the smaller bag the sandwich was in!
Our local stores take back plastic bags to re-cycle but we usually use our own bags - because it's the right thing to do. We use the jute bags that all the stores sell now.
 
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Eunoli

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The purpose of such legislation can also be to encourage companies to innovate. I am pretty sure that in a year or two we'll be using biodegradable straws and cups or at least compostable ones. Someone is going to make a lot of money being first to market with viable, more ecologically sound alternatives. that the big fast food and other users of such stuff wouldn't even be considering if not for local ordinances. And on the scale that disposable cups get used, that's a pretty big deal as far as a first step.
 

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British stores have tried offering two kinds of reusable bags, heavy-duty plastic "bags for life" that are good for multiple uses and more expensive, and better looking and more robust jute ones. We have a compulsory 5p levy on the single-use bags they used to give out for free. It's not a tax -- it's compulsory that the stores (larger stores, anyway) collect it but they are supposed to give it to the charity of their choice, rather than to the government.

It's certainly effective in that I now take some bags with me when I go shopping, but it's had unwanted and unexpected consequences:

Over one billion ‘bags for life’ sold undermine government efforts to reduce plastic waste

There's also the problem that, if you order online and have the supermarket deliver your groceries (which I do most of the time) it's a lot more convenient to have them deliver the goods in single-use plastic bags that I can unpack at my leisure, rather than have them delivered unboxed and have to take out all the loose items before the driver can take the boxes away.

I'm glad to see that some chains are now looking into supplying their groceries in US-style paper bags. Morrisons to trial paper bags for groceries and higher price for plastic bags
Yes, when I called the 'bag tax' here a tax it probably is not, it is just locally referred to as a tax. Given that it has uneven enforcement and definition it is probably more properly described as a fee or a semi-mandatory charity collection.

I still can not figure out how plastic bags and paper bags rate the same with the 'bag tax' though. Plastic is understandable, given the whole goal of this is to clean up the river. Paper bags are just strange though .... leave them out and they just decompose. I would think the ideal is cloth bags but if that does not happen for one reason or another you would want to encourage paper over plastic.
 
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Kara Spengler

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Our local stores take back plastic bags to re-cycle but we usually use our own bags - because it's the right thing to do. We use the jute bags that all the stores sell now.
Yes, my spouse and I had usually been using our own bags for years before this happened. Which meant the only change for us was a fee if we happened to forget a bag and my taking single use bags less often if I do not have a recyclable bag on me.
 
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Sid

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I still can not figure out how plastic bags and paper bags rate the same with the 'bag tax' though. Plastic is understandable, given the whole goal of this is to clean up the river. Paper bags are just strange though .... leave them out and they just decompose. I would think the ideal is cloth bags but if that does not happen for one reason or another you would want to encourage paper over plastic.
To produce paper a lot of energy is needed, and water and wood.
Recycling paper costs money too: transportation, storage, producing new paper again.
Paper bags are better than one way plastic, but multiple used bags (even the plastic ones) are environmentally better than one use paper bags.
 

Kara Spengler

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To produce paper a lot of energy is needed, and water and wood.
Recycling paper costs money too: transportation, storage, producing new paper again.
Paper bags are better than one way plastic, but multiple used bags (even the plastic ones) are environmentally better than one use paper bags.
Paper is a renewable resource though .... plastic is not. Anyway, yes, paper has some downsides too but if you were not using cloth which would be the better option? Also factor in the whole point of this is to clean up an area where single use plastics present a problem.
 

Sid

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In principle everything you do to help to make this planet an environmental better place is an improvement, and worth to give it a try, but when big companies like supermarket chains start to change, they can better think out what is best to do, and not what is good enough to satisfy the customer.
So far most decisions are more cosmetics and marketing trics than anything else.
 
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Eunoli

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Paper does use a lot of wood - now. But, again, innovation will likely change that over time. There are already paper plants using 60% agriculture straw waste for their pulp. Obviously, that's less expensive for them than other sources and you'd guess they'd be trying to up that mix more and more over time. Mind you, the article doesn't say what they're making, but they are already in existence: Turning Wheat into Paper .

Companies will continue to innovate towards sustainability - if it is profitable for them to do so (I'm not lauding this attitude, just being pragmatic). Though, right now we all have to look to local and state governments in the US to provide that incentive since the federal government would prefer we all drink out of tiny oil cans.

I now know a lot more about paper than I wanted to.
 
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Kara Spengler

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Paper does use a lot of wood - now. But, again, innovation will likely change that over time. There are already paper plants using 60% agriculture straw waste for their pulp. Obviously, that's less expensive for them than other sources and you'd guess they'd be trying to up that mix more and more over time. Mind you, the article doesn't say what they're making, but they are already in existence: Turning Wheat into Paper .

Companies will continue to innovate towards sustainability - if it is profitable for them to do so (I'm not lauding this attitude, just being pragmatic). Though, right now we all have to look to local and state governments in the US to provide that incentive since the federal government would prefer we all drink out of tiny oil cans.

I now know a lot more about paper than I wanted to.
Actually I use tree-free toilet paper (it uses sugarcane and i-forget-what-else). It is better than toilet paper as 0 wood pulp is used. Plus, recycled paper is not good for you, particularly in a place where your skin is that sensitive (look up cash register receipts sometime .... you will never want to handle one again).
 

Sid

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During the fabrication of paper it gets really hot for the materials used. There are no living germs or bacteria left right after the production.
There is no difference between the diferent sorts of paper as far as that is concerned.
In quality paper they even use a percentage of old textile.
Using unbleached (= whitened) paper helps a lot. The bleaching process requires lots of extra water.

Bacteria and stuff are great to give people the creeps and let them buy all kind of sanitizing stuff. (We need them yes, but not all of what they are trying to sell).
There are around 10 times as much bacteria, viruses and fungi inside your body than you have human cells.
Chew on that :)
 
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Kara Spengler

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During the fabrication of paper it gets really hot for the materials used. There are no living germs or bacteria left right after the production.
There is no difference between the diferent sorts of paper as far as that is concerned.
In quality paper they even use a percentage of old textile.
Using unbleached (= whitened) paper helps a lot. The bleaching process requires lots of extra water.

Bacteria and stuff are great to give people the creeps and let them buy all kind of sanitizing stuff. (We need them yes, but not all of what they are trying to sell).
There are around 10 times as much bacteria, viruses and fungi inside your body than you have human cells.
Chew on that :)
I was not referring to dirt and bacteria with recycled paper. I meant that recycled paper winds up with nasty stuff like thermal paper .... chemicals that make you go 'eww!!!'.
 

Sid

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When toilet paper would be made from 100% recycled thermal paper, I think you would have a point. But that is not how it works. The batches they use in paper mills are so huge and diverse, that the pulp they use to press new paper with, is as safe or unsafe as any other.
You can't tell for sure what the farmers sprayed or didn't spray on their sugar canes either to protect their crops.
 
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It's certainly effective in that I now take some bags with me when I go shopping, but it's had unwanted and unexpected consequences:

Over one billion ‘bags for life’ sold undermine government efforts to reduce plastic waste
Ugh, "bags for life" sounds like a bad idea. Here in Portland (not nearly as common in NJ) many people use reusable bags that cost around $1.00. They have to be much better quality bags than the 5 or 10 p (15 cent) bags for life bag. There are no surcharges involved. Many people just prefer using them.
 
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Katheryne Helendale

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It's funny: When California first announced its new law banning single-use plastic bags in grocery stores, I thought it was going to be horribly inconvenient. But I've found that we rarely even use bags at all now. We have jute bags in the trunk, but most of the time, we just go to the store, load up the cart with our stuff, check out, throw the stuff back in the cart loose, go out to the car, then toss everything in the trunk, still loose. Then we get home and march everything into the house like a small colony of ants. I find that we really don't miss the single-use bags at all.

I bag the hell out of meat, though, because - well, meat juices. Plus, it's less prone to freezer burn if put in bags first.
 

Rose Karuna

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During the fabrication of paper it gets really hot for the materials used. There are no living germs or bacteria left right after the production.
There is no difference between the diferent sorts of paper as far as that is concerned.
In quality paper they even use a percentage of old textile.
Using unbleached (= whitened) paper helps a lot. The bleaching process requires lots of extra water.

Bacteria and stuff are great to give people the creeps and let them buy all kind of sanitizing stuff. (We need them yes, but not all of what they are trying to sell).
There are around 10 times as much bacteria, viruses and fungi inside your body than you have human cells.
Chew on that :)
You meant I could grow my own magic mushrooms? o_O:love:

About bags for groceries. My husband and I spend a lot of time in Europe and because of that we started carrying these little folding bags with us. Kind of like this: https://www.amazon.com/Reusable-Grocery-Bags-Pack-Environmentally/dp/B07F66S8VS/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1549030051&sr=8-4&keywords=portable+grocery+bags+lightweight+and+waterproof They are washable, super convenient and strong.

One day we went grocery shopping at our local grocery store here in the US and were carrying stuff into the house using their thin plastic bags and the bag broke. Broken eggs and stuff were scattered everywhere. So my husband ordered a couple dozen of the reusable bags and we keep them in both cars. When we go into the store we just grab a bunch of them and this is what we use for our groceries all the time. I can't count the number of times I've been in line and people have asked where I've gotten them and lately we are seeing a lot of people (like 25%) bringing their own bag or using Publix cloth reusable bags. There is no mandate to do that in Florida so I'm encouraged that people are doing it regardless.

I have also collected a lot of the cloth reusable bags from conferences. Companies love to give them away. They are not only awesome for groceries, but they are great if you're moving and when they get old and stinky you can fill them with dirt and plant stuff in them. Seriously, that's how I grow my sweet potatoes now because I don't want them spreading all over the yard.
 

Sid

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I have the luck to live opposite of two supermarkets, so I don't really do big grocery shopping most of the time. I just hop in every day and fetch what I need. I use a plastic reusable shopping bag to carry that stuff home (That bag is more than 10 years old by now). A few times a year I go a few kilometers into Germany to shop at a real (for Germans: that one) huge supermarket from a chain we don't have in The Netherlands.
For that purpose I always have a few of those reusable plastic shopping bags in my car trunk as well.
 

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Target used to sell these washable red bags and I bought a lot of them and use them as laundry bags. They still have them, but they're now painted with a red and white target pattern that is rather loud. I use those too. They wash in the washing machine just fine. I need to start taking them to the grocery store again. They're very convenient.
 

Kaimi Kyomoon

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Actually I use tree-free toilet paper (it uses sugarcane and i-forget-what-else). It is better than toilet paper as 0 wood pulp is used. Plus, recycled paper is not good for you, particularly in a place where your skin is that sensitive (look up cash register receipts sometime .... you will never want to handle one again).
We have been getting tree-free toilet paper and paper towels made of sugar cance and bamboo.
Car? In the Netherlands? Unorthodox!
I'm sure he rides his bike on every journey less than 160km.
 
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