Thursday, August 07, 2008

Rant: Plastic bags; oh the Humanity

The Seattle City Council, in a wondrous decision that is sure to be reversed within a few months, have slapped a 20cent charge on plastic shopping bags (effective 1 January 2009). Why? Well they want to encourage the use of reusable bags, reduce landfill oh, and generate some revenue for the city (I suspect the latter reason is the real driver behind this decision). I have a pretty big problem with nanny-state politics. I employ reusable bags for the majority of my grocery shopping, however I do revert to plastic (or paper) shopping bags when I'm caught short. After the initial use of the plastic bags they get recycle via GreenScapes (for which I pay a tidy sum). So as far as I'm concerned, I pay for the recycling of the plastic bags that I use. Charging me 20cents per bag is charging me twice for recycling. No thanks. Oh, and the bags hitherto have been "free" - their cost has been baked into the cost of groceries. Will the cost of the groceries be reduced now that the stores are no longer giving out "free" bags. I can say with almost 100% confidence: Ha!

It's not the 20 cents. It's the principle. I'm sure I'll forget about this until early in January when I'm in my local Safeway and will be facing a charge of a couple of dollars for plastic bags ("no - you can squeeze one more item in that bag - I don't need another 20cent bag to carry a 50cent newspaper..."). Sorry Safeway, but I'm going to be walking away from the stack of filled bags. I don't pay for plastic bags just to line the pockets of the city council. I know you didn't pass the law - but you didn't lobby sufficiently strongly against it. And perhaps if enough folks get pissed off you'll get the message and pass it on to the city council. Or I'll just buy from Amazon Fresh...;-)