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Campbell Needs Your Input on Plastic Bag Ban

Should Campbell join San Jose in banning plastic shopping bags? Now is the time to be heard!

The West Valley Solid Waste Authority (which includes Campbell, Saratoga, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno) is considering whether to join San Jose in banning plastic carryout bags and our Vice-Mayor, Evan Low, has requested that we gather your input.

This is the first step to enacting a ban on plastic shopping bags in Campbell and now is the time to be heard on this issue.

Please register your YES or NO vote by noon on Feb. 1 at: www.campbellworkingtogether.org/bags

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Rachael Ustorf January 28, 2012 at 04:09 AM
I think it's stupid. I mean, I recycle my plastic bags anyway (what am I going to put my used cat litter in now??)... plus, it just seems like another way for stores / manufacturers to make money. I mean, grocery stores *used* to ask, "Paper or plastic" and you didn't get charged $.10 for each bag... screams "racket" to me. Meanwhile, I really don't see that it's going to make that much difference over all... it's not like the plastic bags themselves aren't recyclable in the first place, so what's the point, really??
Carol January 28, 2012 at 03:48 PM
I shop more in Campbell now because of the plastic recycle ban. When there is the paper option of bags, I request them. I reuse plastic bags for used cat litter, like another poster stated. It's also getting use to this whole change. I still forget to put the bags back into the car. Then I kick myself for forgetting them. My husband and I went to a clothing store in San Jose and they use to use plastic bags. Was surprised when we were told sorry and here is your receipt with your clothes. Didn't even get an option there to buy a bag. If Campbell wants to join San Jose, why not just have paper bag options? Just a suggestion. :)
David and Darlene Steele January 28, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Hey, Campbell, so far early survey returns show 29% against the ban and 71% for. Be sure to register your vote!
David and Darlene Steele January 28, 2012 at 08:08 PM
I hear you Louis... not a lot of data from a YES/NO poll, however, we were asked for this input, which means the powers that be want to gauge the temperature before jumping into the water. It's a first step.
Mayra Flores de Marcotte January 29, 2012 at 03:57 AM
Good point, David and Darlene! Campbell Patch ran a similar poll recently, not a yes or no, but a similar question was asked to do just the same: gauge the temperature! Check it out: http://patch.com/A-pWh1
Sharon January 29, 2012 at 04:49 PM
I am boycotting SJ and shopping in Campbell and LG for the convenience of getting bags. After 62 years of getting bags, I constantly forget my own at home or in the trunk. I'm already tired of trying to estimate the number of bags I'll need, bag my own stuff, put the stuff on the counter, monitor the check out screen and pay simultaneously. I've considered grabbing the store's hand basket when I forget my bags and just leaving it in the parking lot when done, where it will get squashed or stolen. And I'm tired of waiting in line while someone ahead of me has paid, and realizes they forgot theirs, so goes to their car while we wait (happened yesterday and took 5 minutes). I recycle my bags as I'm sure many others do as well. SJ needs to give patrons a bigger break in price for bringing our own bags or offer free paper bags, or I'll continue to shop in LG, Campbell, MS, etc. And if these cities join in the insanity of banning, I'll shop in Saratoga where I work.
M. Alexx January 29, 2012 at 05:07 PM
I live in SJ but now make it a point to shop in Campbell & Santa Clara whenever feasible, in order to get free bags to use for garbage, diapers, cat litter, etc. In my case, the SJ ban helps the merchants in neighboring cities at the expense of those in SJ.
David and Darlene Steele January 29, 2012 at 06:10 PM
This is more exciting than the Republican primaries- in a stunning reversal NOs have pulled ahead 53% to 47%. Your vote makes a difference! And thanks for your comments, we'll pass those along as well. Interesting that all the comments are from the NO camp. Any YESes care to add their perspective?
The-sandman January 30, 2012 at 11:20 PM
There needs to be a solution and a yes or no answer, is not really it. In regards to the plastic shopping bags, there are a couple of solutions: • Make the bag with an oxo biodegradable additive, then in 12 to 24 months the bag will degrade in the landfill site. This will give you 2 uses from it, carrying your groceries home and lining your kitchen trash can. (or kitty liter or…) Now you have recycled it and it will degrade. • Use a Degradable non-woven bag that will degrade in approximately 200 uses or 2 years. Be careful not to use a conventional non-woven bag as they are made of plastic and will not degrade for hundreds of years or more. The problem with the conventional non-woven bag is they will last forever the way they are manufactured, but people will not use them for that long so they will end up in a landfill site. Producing a Paper bag is 3 times worse for the environment then the conventional plastic bag, cotton is 10 time more harmful to produce. Recycling plastic bags is just not economically feasible as it takes approximately 125,000 bags to make 1 ton. The recycling and processing cost $4000per/ton, Resulting value of the recycled material is $32 /ton Now what about you’re Garbage Bags, should they be 100% degradable as well? For more information on this subject, please refer to our website @ www.OxoGreen.com
Pam Ledesma January 31, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Recycling hasn't been working. It's the classic alternative the plastic bag industry keeps pushing. In 15 years of really trying, San Jose has only been able to recycle 4% of the bags distributed in San Jose. The city had asked residents to only give them clean bags (food contaminates the bag) and bundle and tie them in a clear plastic bag so they could be easily pulled off of the recycling company's sorting line. The result was dirty bags, loose bags that jammed up the sorting equipment and caused expensive damage, only a small amount the company could try to market, and a few low price if they could even find someone to buy the bale! And this is after trying for 15 years. San Jose no longer even tells it's residents to recycle the bags at the curb. The stores that supposedly accept your bags at the front door aren't giving out any detail on what their getting and what happens to it. It's likely tossed as trash. Recycling this difficult product is not an option!
Pam Ledesma January 31, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Rachael: You're already paying for the "free" bags you get at the store. The cost of the bags are included in the price of what you're buying. The bags are very, very difficult to recycle.
Pam Ledesma January 31, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Carol: It's very likely that any ordinance banning plastic bags in the West Valley cities will include an option for retailers to distribute paper bags (with a 10 cent fee) as a fall-back for a shopper who didn't bring in a bag. I've paid the fee myself in a San Jose store when I let my bags at home. I use plastic bags for kitty litter too. I'm thinking through how I'm going to change my system. Maybe a paper bag as a liner in a plastic lidded bucket, and then line the inside of the paper bag with some newspaper to absorb. And then remember to get the paper bag out to the trash bin the night before trash day. I'm going to start trying this to see how it'll be weaning myself from plastic bag liners...It's a change.
Pam Ledesma January 31, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Louis: I use my plastic bags a lot of different ways too. But we're trying not to be wasteful. Apparently there are a bunch of people out there who aren't trying and can't be trusted with disposing of a plastic bag carefully. How else to explain all of the plastic bags out in the world causing lots of grief and being plain ugly. Here's a stat: Cal Trans has measured that 15% of the litter (measured by volume) that they find coming out of the storm drain system, dumping directly in the creek, is plastic bags. How are they getting out there? That isn't OK for civilized people to do.
Pam Ledesma January 31, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Sharon: If you keep forgetting to bring your bags it (like a whole bunch of us trying to get used to the change) pay the small fee for the paper bag. The store was already charging you for the bags by raising the price of everything in the store just a little bit to cover the free bags. No one should ever be so rude as to make people wait in line so they can run out to their car to get their bags. Outrageous behavior! The reason for the fee for the paper bags is to get to the real answer--we need to get used to using re-usable bags.
Pam Ledesma January 31, 2012 at 07:55 PM
David & Darlene: There are some Yes arguments. There are lots of reasons for a civilized city to make this change and not be pushed around by the plastics industry. We taxpayers, and nature, end up paying for the trouble this packaging is causing. The industry is laughing all the way to the bank--and we're the chumps. We're not that stupid are we?
JJosselyn January 31, 2012 at 10:31 PM
I don't really think it's that big of a deal to bring my own bags. I have many of them in the trunk of my car and my purse. If I forget, I guess I'll pay for a bag or just cart my stuff out to my car and place all the items in a box that's in the trunk of my car (what I use for Costco shopping). No biggie.
Just Dandy February 01, 2012 at 04:08 AM
More bans? Hmmm, more restrictions & fees. Less choice. No, I do not want a bag ban in Campbell. The problem we have is with littering, not bags, and there will always be litter and idiots who do it. If you don't like plastic bags, don't use them, but don't try to take my choices away. My shopping habits are none of my neighbors' business: not what's in the bag, nor the bag itself. I'm quite fed up with people trying to dictate how their neighbors should live (down to the last lightbulb, toilet, bag, etc.) using burdensome regulation. This sanctimonious judgementalism towards people who like & choose plastic bags is divisive & destructive to our community. It's supposed to be a free country, remember? Please respect that we are a diverse community.....it's not your job to tell your neighbors how to live. It's not our government's job either. Please, enough with banning everything you don't agree with!
David and Darlene Steele February 01, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Polls are closed and results are in! We received 219 votes, 47.5% YES and 52.5% NO. Thanks so much for registering your votes and opinions. We're certainly going to give the powers that be something to think about! Download PDF of full report at http://www.campbellworkingtogether.org/bags/
Mayra Flores de Marcotte February 01, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Thank you David and Darlene for taking the time to do this and for getting the conversation going! Good luck.
Alan Zisser February 03, 2012 at 07:58 AM
David and Darlene, I'd be suspicious of your final results. Considering it was running 3 to 1 initially for the ban, and then it ended up that anti-ban edged out; makes me wonder if someone "stuffed" the ballot box, so to speak. Online surveys are incredibly unreliable and unscientific anyway.
Alan Zisser February 03, 2012 at 08:06 AM
Actually, you didn't choose plastic bags, the industry did. They foisted plastic bags on us to save a few cents, while burdening us with billions of bags that are not biodegradable. I suppose you would be happy to let industry dump toxic waste in our streams, like they used to 50 years ago, rather than have those environmental regulations which have saved our waterways and kept our groundwater from being polluted. It is more than litter. It gets into the Bay and the ocean, kills animals, and never goes away. And it is made from fossil fuels. Being free in our country is not absolute. Our freedoms and rights are relative and only go so far as they don't harm others, and the constitution includes consideration for the greater good. And what does plastic bag issue have to do with diversity?
David and Darlene Steele February 03, 2012 at 06:16 PM
HI Alan, Survey Monkey prevents more than one vote from the same computer or IP address, which we tested ourselves. Again, we all know it's not scientific, Evan just wanted input from the community prior to last night's meeting- when the committee unanimously voted YES to proceed with the plastic ban ban.
Just Dandy February 03, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Please don't accuse the other side of cheating because your side lost. Good grief, we're not in kindergarten.
Alan Zisser February 03, 2012 at 10:21 PM
How is using plastic bags for putting used kitty litter in considered recycling? That is not recycling. Recycling is turning the item back in so it can be used for making something new from it again. I assume you put your bag with kitty litter in the trash. The trash goes to the land fill or gets carted away to some other place to be buried. We end up with more landfills (garbage dumps), or spending money to cart it off to some other place. Meanwhile, that plastic bag doesn't break down, and billions more bags keep getting made. It is not a reasonable justification to continue using plastic bags, simply because it is convenient for using for animal waste.
Alan Zisser February 03, 2012 at 10:27 PM
And when Saratoga bans the bags too? Where next? So you will spend an extra dollar or two driving somewhere farther away (while using more fossil fuels and polluting), because you refuse to bring your own bags or pay 20 cents for a couple of paper bags? Hmm. Meanwhile, you will be paying more to shop in Saratoga, than the 10 cent bag charges you will get while shopping in Campbell.
Alan Zisser February 04, 2012 at 11:26 PM
I didn't know the survey was a contest to win or lose. But apparently the plastic bag ban is going to be the winner anyway. Ah, the beauty of representative government and the American way.
Alan Zisser February 04, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Oh, one more thing. At least I use my name, and don't put out my opinion anonymously. Too easy to rant and rave under a pseudonym.
Just Dandy February 05, 2012 at 12:02 AM
Really? You didn't understand that basic concept of a poll? That is sad. And no, I do not want my name on these posts. My family & my property have suffered enough threats, violent behavior & damage from 'progressives' who claim to be tolerant, but who are abusively intolerant of people who disagree with them ideologically. It must be nice not having to be fearful because of your opinions, but that is not the reality for me & those who share my point of view in this area. I don't want to be quiet anymore, but I don't want to put my family at risk either.
Alan Zisser February 06, 2012 at 01:04 AM
Basic concept of a poll is to get a sense of where a group of people stand on an issue. That is all. The information can be used for various means, whether trying to sell a product or see where people are on an issue. It is a tool, not a contest. I am sorry that you and your family have been abused. I consider myself a progressive, and those I know who are the same, would never threaten people. A true progressive believes in non-violence and peaceful solutions, so I don't know who these people are that you have had to deal with. I doubt if they are true progressives. The far left (beyond progressive) which puts one in the area of anarchy is just as bad as the far right, who think they need to take to arms to protect themselves (think militiamen). Neither should be part of the solution. Civil discourse should be the basis for dealing with our differences. In this case, we are talking about plastic bags. This is not a Bill of Rights issue.
Marcia Parker February 09, 2012 at 07:17 AM
Some waste companies do collect plastic bags for recycling. San Ramon just started.

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