Plastic Grocery Bag Ban Obstacles & New Options

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CEO of Command Packaging and Encore Recycling Pete Grande joined Jessica Holmes to discuss obstacles and new options in light of the ban on plastic grocery bags in Los Angeles.

This week, Los Angeles will become the largest city in the country to ban plastic grocery bags. Shoppers will no longer have the option of paper vs. plastic when they check out at the register. Nor will they have the convenience of receiving a free bag, as all bags will come with a 10-cent price tag. Be prepared to pay for grocery bags. They are $0.10 cents a bag. Double bagging will cost $0.20

Know your bag ban options and their environmental friendliness:

  • Bag ban compliant plastic bags. New to the marketplace is a product called smarterbags made from recycled agricultural plastic. It’s reusable, sturdy and can be used in all types of weather. Its production diverts 100 million pounds away from California landfills annually, which makes for reduced carbon dioxide emissions, solid waste and reduces industrial and transportation pollution
  • Single-use paper bags. Production uses more water and energy to turn trees into paper bags than plastic. This process also releases more greenhouse gases and creates more solid waste.
  • Imported bags. More than 90 percent of reusable bags are currently imported from China, and are more likely than domestically produced bags to contain heavy metal toxins like lead and cadmium. These bags are purposely engineered to feel like fabric, and due to their construction, are more likely to harbor bacteria which can grow and be transferred to other foods if the bags are not properly and regularly cleaned and disinfected. These bags are bulky and typically cost $.99 or more.
  • Bundle your bags in a single bag. That way, they are all in one convenient place when you’re ready to shop.
  • Don’t put meat or liquid in reusable woven or sewn bags. The reason, the pores in these bags hold bacteria easily and paper falls apart when wet. Generally, people don’t wash woven bags, which is why they have been proven to spread the flu and other illnesses.

Pete Grande is CEO of Command Packaging and Encore Recycling, a new venture in Salinas, Calif., that will remove 100 million lbs. of Ag plastic from landfills annually to create bag ban compliant plastic bags.

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