Happy “Dependence Day” Seattle – Your City Just Banned Plastic Bags

Nothing says freedom like telling your citizens or local businesses what to do.  But Seattle is not exactly a bastion of Freedom and liberty.  And today is no different.

The Seattle City Council has voted to ban plastic grocery bags.

This is another win by so-called environmental groups that claim the bags fill up landfills or in the case of Seattle, also end up in the water and threaten wildlife.  There is no concrete evidence that if the plastic gets in the water it does any actual harm, but nothing else about being an environmentalist is based on concrete anything (including concrete) so why let that deter the assumptions.  It’s for everyone’s good, right?


Take electric cars.  The process of making the batteries is such a strain on the environment that the average electric car would need to run well beyond its life expectancy for any perceived benefit to outweigh the environmental costs associated with its manufacture.  Wind and Solar farms likewise have costs (and this was before Democrats wasted trillions on failing companies that failed anyway) that seriously challenge the so-called benefits.  So is it any surprise that plastic shopping bag bans are no different?

From start to finish plastic grocery bags use less energy to make and dispose of, create more US jobs, produce less end waste, and are more easily recycled than any alternatives.  And they do not pose the public health risk that re-usable bags do.

Want another cost?  Reusable bags add to the cost of the markets and grocery stores forced to handle them for each customer.  Don’t believe me?  Ever had to stand in line behind some well meaning rube who has purchased a few hundred dollars worth of groceries and carries around the commensurate number of bags needed to transport said load?

True Story. It took easily two to three times as long for the cashier and the bagger (if your grocer does not have a bagger at each register multiply that time) to bag the groceries of the customer in front of me.  What is typically less than three-to five minutes in line turned into ten.  Now multiply that by every customer at every register every day.  If, as a business, you plan to handle the same volume of customers with the same level of service, you will now need more cashiers and baggers to offset these mandated labor costs because of the plastic bag ban.

And having observed this practice for a while now, there is no conceivable way for the average business I frequent to accept piles of folded up re-usable (see also un-recyclable) bags, unfold them, and fill them with the efficiency of plastic grocery bags.  This legislates added costs to every transaction.

And where does that cost show up?  Not down at the town council meeting.  It announces itself in your grocery bill.

If your store of preference is not equipped or leveraged to add more cashiers or baggers to handle the exact same amount of business (including but not limited to mom and pops, small chains, boutique type or specialty stores) , then you’ll not just pay more you’ll also have to wait in line longer, or watch that grocery store lose business to the giant chains who have or can add more checkout equipment and personnel.  You didn’t have anywhere else to be right?

And what does that do?  It forces costs on smaller businesses, again by government mandate, that could ultimately reduce competition and put small business owners out of business.

And for what?  Greater health risks (bacteria build up in the bags), less recyclable bags that will take up more landfill space (more waste), more demands on water and energy (not just to manufacture new bags in China but to clean and maintain your own reusable bags locally), more laundry waste water and demand on the municipal water and power system (and that laundry water never gets near the wildlife does it?), and a goal that no one in municipal government could prove to justify the change, and that no one in municipal government will likely follow up on after the mandate had been implemented.

So congratulations Seattle (and LA, another recent victim of the bag ban scam).  Higher grocery bills, slower service, greater health risks, fewer choices, more laundry soap in the municipal stream, extra energy expended at every point in the process…all because some fool said it was good of the environment.

See also, LA Bag Ban – What could go wrong; City Council Bans Bags 13-1; Norovirus Source – Reusable Bags