A community news source for residents of the HarriOak neighborhood in Oakland, CA.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Good Read: The Plastic Bag Ordinance

A Better Oakland has a good post up about the ordinance banning plastic bags that is being pushed by City Council Woman Nancy Nadel. This sounds like a great idea, but opponents who are suing the city argue:

* Paper bags are worse for the environment than plastic bags. The require nearly five times as much energy to produce as plastic bags, generate 70% more air pollutants and 50% more water pollutants than plastic bags, and require 84 times as much energy to recycle than plastic bags.
* Compostable plastic bags, which are allowed under the ordinance, require no less energy to produce than regular plastic bags, contaminate batches of regular plastic bags if combined with them so as to make them unrecyclable, and photodegrade, rather than biodegrade, breaking down into tiny pieces that contaminate soil and water.

I'm not sure whether or not these arguments are true. What is a fact is that the penniless city of Oakland will be spending $100,000 on an environmental impact report in an attempt to get this ordinance passed.

This is the point where banning plastic bags stops sounding like a good idea. Can't we concentrate on fixing the broken police department and the broken schools and calming the breakneck traffic that is speeding down Oakland's crumbling streets?

Also, maybe its time to tackle the bloated city payroll. We are payingmore than 1000 city employees more than $100,000 a year.

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