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Restaurant bag ban starts Friday

Original post made on Oct 30, 2013

Plastic to-go bags at Palo Alto restaurants are going to go as of Friday, Nov. 1, when the third phase of Palo Alto's ordinance banning plastic bags takes effect.


Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, October 30, 2013, 9:49 AM

Comments (25)

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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 30, 2013 at 10:50 am

> Nearly 60 percent fewer plastic checkout bags than last year were
> found during a September Coast Clean-up day at Adobe Creek,
> according to the city.

Without providing the public the actual number of bags found, offering a percentage by itself is meaningless. This kind of behaviour on the part of the City demonstrates a lack of transparency, and even goes far enough to support a charge of dishonesty on the part of those promoting this ban.

This bag ban is bogus.


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Posted by Milton
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 30, 2013 at 11:03 am

Thank goodness the scourge of plastic bags is finally being addressed. Thank you city leaders! Indeed, your impressive percentage decreases make my heart soar.

Next up - take-out coffee cups! Thank goodness we have our priorities straight out here.


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Posted by Casey
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 30, 2013 at 11:04 am

I don't get the plastic bag ban. Is it to eliminate plastic waste or prevent bags from ending up in the waterways? Since supermarkets have stopped providing plastic bags, we now have to buy them to use as trashcan liners. As for the second reason, the only time I've had a plastic bag fly away on me was when I started saving plastic bags in the truck of my car. One time, I popped upon the trunk and a gust of wind sent my plastic bag flying away.


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Posted by chandler
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 30, 2013 at 11:23 am

If Joe is so interested in the numbers rather than %, he could call the phone number in the article and get the info. Too many people seem only interested in criticizing rather than illuminating.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 30, 2013 at 11:37 am

> If Joe is so interested in the numbers rather than %

What good is the media, if all they do is post telephone numbers for people to get information. Clearly having thousands of people call the City, or other news sources, for information that should have been in any articles about something that is supposed to be newsworthy makes no sense.

All it would take is for the Weekly to ask: "so, how many bags did you find this time?" How hard could that be? One question asked by the reporter, and then everyone would know. If the City refused to give that number--then it would not be hard to ask: "why not?"

As it turns out, the City did provide the basic information on its web-site--
Web Link

Approximately 350 plastic bags were found in Palo Alto's lower watershed in 2012 from two creek clean up events and a one-month bag sighting tally
*********

The idea that the City could only find 350 bags in its monitoring area during all of 2012 makes this whole restriction on our basic freedoms outrageous. 60% of a zero is zero. 60% of 350 is also basically zero.

The article does not provide the basic information, and the Council failed to ask even basic questions of the staff who promoted this silliness.


This article did not provide the basic information needed to understand that this whole effort by the City was unneeded, and incredibly dishonest!


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 30, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Why do I get the feeling that any number of bags reported would have Joe feeling outraged! ;-)

Now when I go shopping in the produce aisle I give thanks that there are still plastic bags to put my vegetables in. There are times when a plastic bag works, and works well. Knowing how filthy and germy most of our supermarkets are and the people who go to them, their kids, and occasionally their dogs, I don't want anything I buy to touch the baskets (that never seemed to get cleaned) or the belts - best is as little as possible.

Plastic bags are appropriate at some times. I don't mind paying for them or paper bags if necessary to do what must be done to clean them up or pay to avoid problems they cause, but let's not go crazy. I'm not sure a paper to-go bag is going to perform the same as a plastic bag when I go to get Chinese take out, particularly if there is liquid involved.

What's next, a paper bag when your kid goes to buy a goldfish, or carrying it home in your cupped hands?


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Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Oct 30, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Because of stupid laws like this, I have to BUY MORE PLASTIC bags to put my trash in.

Stupid politicians with feel good laws.


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Posted by coooper
a resident of another community
on Oct 30, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Us bicyclists and hikers don't need the printed numbers to know that these tallies are bogus. Spotting plastic shopping bags along roadside gullies, creeks, and trails is rare now and was rare before the ban. This article could have cut to the chase and noted how these bans are driven by a state zero-waste initiative.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 30, 2013 at 4:20 pm

I was driving on highway 85 a week or so ago and followed a trash truck (not a Palo Alto one), there was a steady stream of bags and other small waste coming out of the back. I suspect this is where a lot of the litter comes from that ends in the Bay and creeks.


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Posted by j99
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 30, 2013 at 4:42 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by j99
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 30, 2013 at 4:47 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by AdamH
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 30, 2013 at 7:27 pm

I find this to be unfortunate. Especially with prepared food, there are times when you need a plastic bag to transport items adequately. May the soup carry-out spill all over the back seat of every council member who voted for this bill and may it quickly soak through their paper bag leaving a lasting smell in their car. Perhaps then they will learn there are practical uses to plastics.


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Posted by born in America
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 30, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Egad, Americans can be such a bunch of [portion removed] whiners.

Most of the world gets by without single use plastic bags. Deal with it.

And besides any zero waste initiative is the fact that these bags contribute to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.


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Posted by Justin
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 31, 2013 at 9:54 am

But paper is worse from a life cycle perspective than plastic. Why not charge for all bags (preferably more for paper) instead of banning them.


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Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 31, 2013 at 10:06 am

@ Justin - it is obvious these aren't rational decisions. It is just feel good nonsense..


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Posted by Midtown Neighbors & Friends
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 31, 2013 at 10:40 am

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 31, 2013 at 10:44 am

What really annoys me is that plastic bags are not just single use bags. I have several around my home which are from stores long gone and are in use for various purposes of storage. I need plastic bags for kids to bring home wet swim things from school pe to protect whatever else is in their backpacks. We use plastic bags to keep the saddle dry when bikes have to be parked outside in the rain. We use plastic bags for returning borrowed items so that the bag doesn't have to be returned to us. The Palo Alto Weekly and other newspapers need to be in plastic bags to keep them dry in wet weather. Dry Cleaning needs to be covered in plastic bags. I use plastic bags in the car for when hiking and we end up with muddy shoes that need to be removed and put in a bag to keep the car clean. I like to be able to put my wet umbrella in a plastic bag when carrying it around or returning to the car. Plastic bags are extremely useful when camping or for a day at the beach. They are also very useful for packing when traveling to keep shoes and similar things which may be dirty from dirtying the clean things.

All these things need plastic bags and now we need to buy plastic bags for these uses. One time a trash bag was used for stuff that needed to be returned to someone and it ended up in the trashcan because that is what it looked like - fortunately it was spotted before the trash can was taken away!

I begrudge these bans, modest charges to make us think if we really need one is not too bad, but banning them makes no sense to me.


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Posted by Must have missed something
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 31, 2013 at 1:03 pm

I was out of town most of the summer and was surprised when I returned to find that along with the plastic bag ban having gone into affect, paper bags were no longer available unless I was willing to pay $.10 per bag for them. I'm all for eliminating plastic bags, but why the charge for paper bags and who gets this money? I'm happy to get into the habit of bringing in my own cloth bags for groceries. I can plan for that since I know I will indeed be buying something at the store. But it's a different story downtown. I never know when I might stop into a retail shop or drugstore to make a purchase and, because I resent being charged for a bag to place that unexpected purchase into, I end juggling jars and tissue wrapped goods out the door and down the street. That certainly doesn't make me want to spend additional time downtown. Have I missed something? Why the new charge for paper bags? I must have missed the small print when the discussion to eliminate plastic bags was going on.


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Posted by long time resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 31, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Whaa! Whaa! What a bunch of babies! I am shocked that, in this day and age, in this supposedly well-educated city, so many people are upset about environmental progress.


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Posted by blatt
a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 31, 2013 at 2:36 pm

This is what happens when a bunch of book-smart individuals with little common sense create laws.


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Posted by maditalian_1492
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 31, 2013 at 11:59 pm

I bought take-out Chinese food this evening. Luckily the food was in a plastic bag, because the containers leaked into the bag and not all over me or my car seat. If it had been paper, my car seat would have been a mess. What are these restaurants supposed to use now? Will they end up losing business?

In the past, I reused the plastic bags from any restaurant, grocery store, merchant, etc...Most people I know do the same.




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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 1, 2013 at 12:13 am

>> because the containers leaked into the bag and not all over me or my car seat. If it had been paper, my car seat would have been a mess. What are these restaurants supposed to use now?


That was what I was ready to get all upset about ... but I read this which seems to say for liquids plastic bags can still be used.


>> Implementation of the ordinance began in 2009 in grocery stores and was expanded to all retail establishments in July. It still allows plastic bags without handles to be used to hold individual containers of soups or stews if the container itself isn't enough to prevent spilling.


Is it true that restaurants can still use plastic bags for food that might leak?


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Posted by Keanan
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 1, 2013 at 11:24 am

[Post removed.]


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 1, 2013 at 11:28 am

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


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Posted by Jon
a resident of another community
on Nov 1, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Hey all! Not a fan of these bans certainly...creeping environmentalism that only leads to more unnecessary laws and restrictions on more and more freedoms is all they really are...but just wanted to let those of you who still want/need these bags that they can be had for pretty cheap prices on Amazon. Just do a search for plastic bags, and many options will appear. Cases run from as little as $15 for 500 or so.

Get yourself a case that will last you for a long time, and fly it in the face of these self-righteous politicians and their supporters!

:)


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