A few more communities made headlines today for considering plastic grocery bag bans. The Los Angeles Board of Supervisors is considering a ban on polyethylene bags, similar to San Francisco's, at a meeting today. Here's a link to the motion that's being considered. The Los Angeles Times has a interesting story on its Web site about how San Francisco's law would not make sense in LA because the city doesn't have a composting infrastructure for handling degradable bags. But don't think that means plastic bags are off the hook. One environmentalist suggests that the solution should be to ban all plastic bags -- both the polyethylene and degradable varieties.
"We're all for any community that wants to pursue a ban on plastic bags," said Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste, a nonprofit group based in Sacramento. "But if I was going to Los Angeles or any other communities that are thinking they might take this approach, we would propose they look at a straight-out ban on plastic bags" — including compostable plastic bags, he said.Meantime, a small community on the opposite coast also is making noise about banning plastic bags. Isle of Wight, Va., a small county on the James River near Smithfield, blames plastic bags for, among other things, contaminating the local cotton crop.
Tom Ivy, chairman of the Isle of Wight board, said he's not sure Isle of Wight has the power to ban the bags because Virginia is a Dillon Rule state. That means cities and counties can only exercise powers granted by the state. But it's worth looking into, Ivy said, if the bags damage farmers' crops. Cotton is a major crop in Isle of Wight, where farmers grew 19,600 acres of it in 2005 - the second-highest producer of cotton in the state. Bags can go through cotton gins, which shred them into pieces that can damage the cotton's quality, Parker said.Plastic bag makers are going to have a tough time fighting to keep their products legal in cities and towns as geographically and demographically diverse as Los Angeles and Isle of Wight.