Bag Ban: Culture. . . Fail? Win? You Decide

The recent ban of plastic bags by the city council has polarized our town. Some are applauding the ban of single-use plastic bags, while others are frustrated and annoyed. No one can really ignore the negative impact plastic bags have on the environment. It’s clear something needs to change, andCorvallisis just the environmentally savvy sort of town to make such changes. However, people are finding that the ban isn’t just affecting them at the grocery store.


Most people reuse plastic bags in their homes, and they have become a staple of modern convenience. For instance, dog lovers reuse plastic bags to pick up after their pets, the same goes for cat litter, moms use them for dirty diapers, and still others use them to separate out stinky products in the garbage. There are a 101 other uses for plastic bags, and if you look under anyCorvallissink, you’ll likely find a stash of them. So how do we solve these problems now? Paper bags, although biodegradable, still contribute to problems with clear cutting. Not to mention the use of paper bags in a state where it rains 8 months out of the year is going to become problematic- fast.


So it looks like the best option is reusable fabric bags. But then of course there’s a question of locality: where were these bags manufactured? If you’re buying the bags provided by the grocery store there’s a good chance they’re made overseas, where standards of working conditions are questionable at best. Winco’s reusable green bags in particular don’t even offer any information on where they are made. Then, of course, those bags need to be shipped over in vessels that pour hundreds of gallons of oil into the oceans. So it seems the issue is not as black and white as the supporters of the bag ban have made it look.


The bottom line for me is this- I am not a child. I’m a grown adult who can make my own decisions. And I would happily pay a little more for an eco-friendly biodegradable plastic bag given the option. I resent the option being taken away from me completely by those who suggest I am too stupid to help myself. Making changes and working together to limit the egregious environmental impact we have on the Earth is a very noble cause. But banning plastic bags outright, especially without a vote from the people ofCorvallis, is not the answer.


By Magdalen O’Reilly




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2 thoughts on “Bag Ban: Culture. . . Fail? Win? You Decide

  1. I’m torn on this issue. On the one hand I like having plastic bags around the house to use for the bathroom garbage, etc.; but on the other hand sometimes it seems like the cashiers at Safeway have a quota for how many bags they need to give out each day. I’ve seriously bought four items there and walked out with three bags. I think rather than having the Corvallis City Council decide what is best for me, a better approach would be to not ban plastic bags and instead train cashiers and grocery baggers to pack more efficiently. The bag of chips does not need to go into its own bag, and six packs come with a handle for a reason. By not putting these items in their own plastic bags the amount of waste is reduced. I guess my answer after all that is… Culture Fail.

    But if banning the bag is Culture Fail, the mandated $0.05 charge on paper bags is Culture Mega Fail. I know the Coop has been doing this for some time now, and I support their choice (or any other business’s choice) to slap a surcharge on bags. But this is not something the City Council should decide. You can be sure we are paying the cost for bags already in our grocery prices, so this additional 5-cent charge is unnecessary. Let the voters decide this one, we can make choices for ourselves after all.

  2. I think The Sierra Club needs to keep their noses out of this issue….mainly because our garbage does NOT end up in the ocean and do any harm. If we were a town, on the ocean’s edge, then I could understand.
    Forcing the citizens of Corvallis to do this is just NOT RIGHT! Why should we be forced to pay for paper bags that we already recieve for nothing…well not exactly because I’m sure both the current plastic and paper bags are include in the COG of each product sold. I’m also sure the effected merchants will NOT lower the cost of their products just so we can buy a paper bag from them to hold their merchandise.
    Anyway, if the citizens of Corvallis want this STUPID ‘bag ban’ – then it MUST be put up to a vote….NOT shoved down our throats when our garbage does NOT enter any water streams.
    Get a grip….Corvallis City Council – do the right thing. Stop listening to The Sierra Club and think of the Corvallis citizens. Unemployed people just can NOT afford this stupid ban.

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