Berkeley Can't Get Rid of Toxic Plastic Bags

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Plastic Bag Monster.

    Berkeley managed to ban toxic weapons, but plastic bags have proved a bit more challenging.

    Plastic bags have a significant negative impact on the environment. Because they don't degrade, they wind up blowing around, getting caught in everything from gardens to forests to lakes.

    Berkeley's been trying for years to ban the hazard, but a variety of complications have popped up.

    Some environmentalists aren't pleased with the exact terms of the ban, pointing out that paper bags can have a negative impact as well, since they require the cutting of trees and transportation on carbon-spewing trucks. It's unclear what these people would propose as an alternative, aside from carrying all of your groceries home in a precarious stack in your arms.

    And then there are the people who got rich in the plastic bag industry. The American Chemistry Council doesn't want to lose their cash cow, and claim that the plastic bags can be recycled. Although that's technically true, the cost of recycling flexible plastic film is so high that almost nobody does it.

    According to the plastic bag industry, there are better ways to reduce litter. Okay, so what are those ways? It's unclear.

    Berkeley must now complete an Environmental Impact Report to determine the best course of action, according to the Daily Cal.

    Plastic bag bans are expanding around the state, from San Francisco to Manhattan Beach to San Jose to Marin, as municipalities discover that life really is better without flecks of plastic billowing around like tumbleweeds.