Took a little while to get used to but I think the program was successful in terms of behavior modification.
Without plastic bags, I'll have to buy garbage bags (which are too large). I'll also have to carry around a reusable bag when I go shopping—which prevents me from going shopping on a whim, since I can't keep bags in the trunk of my nonexistent car—or use the paper bags which are still allowed. Ironically, this will cause me to be more wasteful, since I can't reuse paper bags!
They should just charge 10 cents per plastic bag. Heck, charge 20 cents. Lawmakers seem to have rejected this as a "tax on the poor", but is taking away the option from everybody any better?
And in the meantime, the rest of us don't have to deal with the millions of bags that are bought every week just to be thrown away the same day.
I understand why a law was needed, I just wish they'd gone with a surcharge, which would likely have solved the core issue.
You can easily clip them to a belt loop if you don't mind the aesthetics of the result. And if you have any sort of purse, bag, fanny pack, etc, they would probably fit in there, or clip on to it, fine. But actually putting them on a keyring that lives in a pocket doesn't work, at least for me.
These are not quite as durable, but one will fit in my back pocket easily enough.
It may be too much for some people's needs, but it's been worth it for someone that regularly travels & walks to the grocery store in a rainy region.
fold one up and keep it in your wallet when you go out and you always have one ready for impromptu shopping trips.
I stopped using shopping bags as garbage bags long ago 'cause too many of them were leaky, and more than once I left a dripping trail on my way to the garbage chute.
I just keep a folding reusable shopping bag in my laptop bag (that I always have with me when I'm commuting), so when I stop at the store on my way home it's always ready. If I don't have it handy, then I just pay the 25 cent fee for a paper bag.
Newsflash: we fucked up. big time. we're all very comfortable with our wasteful lives. It's going to be uncomfortable to change our behavior. It's worth it.
That's the core issue. Global warming is an urgent problem, and I'm more than okay being inconvenienced to help with that. I don't think this helps, at least not relative to a surcharge.
As an aside, all of this stuff is effectively scribbling in the margins. Same with plastic straws and biodegradable utensils. That doesn't make these moves bad or even unnecessary, but I worry they're distracting from what is most urgently needed: major taxes on carbon emissions.
Listen, refusing to carry a book bag when you know you are a compulsive shopper is not a legitimate problem.
Do you own a car? Have you flown in the last year? Do you eat out or get food delivered to you? How often do you get a new laptop? Do you use air conditioning?
Apparently it's socially acceptable to look down on someone for using plastic bags, but it would be uncouth to suggest that someone use public transport or vacation domestically.
The latter examples would be an actual sacrifice, and we only want to make token gestures to feel good about ourselves and move on with our lives.
It may be minor, but if OP is complaining about things as simple as "I don't know when I go to the store, so I MUST use plastic bags", then imagine what else they are unwilling to budge on. Not to mention, broken windows theory is real, remove plastic waste from the streets like plastic bags and people will modify their behavior.
>Apparently it's socially acceptable to look down on someone for using plastic bags
I am not looking down on someone for using plastic bags, I am looking down on them for making really bad excuses for continuing to use plastic bags. It's literally a lack of effort.
I don't oppose banning plastic bags in a vacuum, but I think spending political capital to do so is insane. The vast majority of the waste comes from the products and packaging that go in to the bag, not the bag itself.
So now the activity of shopping has essentially been greenwashed. I wouldn't be surprised if total consumption actually increased as a result, because it reduces the guilt one feels.
You didn't reply to my list.
lol? so you consider using your own bags instead of plastic bags greenwashing?
and as to that list, i don't think this strawman needs attention. The issue we are talking about here is using plastic bags, if you want to start a different discussion on these things, feel free to dm me.
You are the one strawmanning. You decided that OP is completely unwilling to make sacrifices to benefit the environment merely because he is resisting making an insignificant, feel good change. Based on this you jumped around the thread harassing him or her.
I then followed your line of argument and asked you if you personally had actually made a sacrifice for the sake of the environment, or are we just condemning OP based on a theoretical here.
Frankly, if conservation is important to you, you're being a poor ambassador for the cause.
There are things I can control and there are things I can't. I can't control how much fossil fuels are used when flying a commercial airline. But if everyone makes daily changes in their lives, we can force the capitalists to make larger impact changes by sheer lifestyle.
THIS IS A TEAM EFFORT and you're on the team that loses the earth.
If you want to make a littering argument, that has legs to stand on. If you think it helps with co2, you’re in the same camp patting themselves on the back for saving water by banning automatic water at sit down restaurants.
No, no, yes, not in more than ten years, no.
Not really that hard.
Also, compulsive shopper was probably not what you wanted to say.
The latter tend to have a backpack or other general-purpose bag with them at all times containing wallet, keys, bottle of water, waterproof jacket, reusable grocery sack etc. After a while it feels naked to go out without it.
Whereas Car People leave that stuff in the car or shove it into bulging pockets.
It's not that you might go to the store either. OP explicitly said they do not know when they are going to shop. It is random, therefore either change your behavior to be more predictable or prepare yourself for your known unknown. Excuses like these are childish unless you have accessibility issues.
I reuse my grocery-store plastic bags whenever I need to transport a bunch of small objects somewhere.
Let's say I have some snacks at home, and I want to bring them to the office. What to do? Grab a Kroger bag and put my snacks in there!
(edit: also, since I check my mail infrequently, they come in really handy when I go to the mailbox, especially if I'm doing so on the way to work)
Either way, I don't generate nearly enough by trash to keep up with the stream of grocery bags I bring home.
This is one of those areas where I think it makes a big difference whether you live in a proper house or a tiny apartment.
In a small studio, a large trash bag can take a week or more to fill up, but can start to smell up the small space after only a couple days. So I—and a lot of people I know—use smaller bags and take them out once every couple days.
Use produce bags for trash instead. I don't even bag all of my produce - just delicate leafy greens and things like green beans that's hard to keep together - and even then I have enough bags for my trash.
> since I can't reuse paper bags!
Why not? Is it because they fall apart or something?
2. Why can't you use one of the paper bags provided by the retailers to support your whimsical impromptu shopping trips? Or are you really a very regular whimsical shopper?
All the time, yeah. I don't usually plan to go shopping, I just walk into the grocery store when I pass by.
I probably will use paper bags—but, ironically, I feel crappy about the environmental impact, since I can't reuse them as garbage bags.
Disclaimer: I live in a city where composting / recycling / trash is done in separate containers. Even if one doesn't life in such an area it shouldn't stop one from pre-separating anyway even if it gets merged.
(Also feels kind of gross? The point of a small bag is so the trash won't stink up my tiny apartment.)
I also don't think using plastic bags as garbage bags is all that unusual for people in small NYC apartments. A coworker was voicing the same complaint on Friday, for instance.
Source: I do the same thing and I live in New York
For other things (kids/pets/etc.), purchase biodegradeable bags. There was a recent article on this subject: https://theconversation.com/plastic-bag-bans-can-backfire-if...
"Who were the people who reused plastic carryout bags pre-ban, and presumably bore the burden of buying trash bags post-ban? I found that bag reuse was higher for people who purchased pet items and baby items – in other words, who needed to collect and dispose of excrement. In 2017, nearly 6 percent of U.S. households had a child under 5 years old, 44 percent owned a dog, and 35 percent owned a cat." My take on this is that if you express the interest in having a child or a pet, you can afford the burden of buying biodegradable bags to handle waste. Perhaps there could be some assistance program for some low-income affected segment (i.e. adding biodegradable bags to a WIC-friendly item list).
> My take on this is that if you express the interest in having a child or a pet, you can afford the burden of buying biodegradable bags to handle waste.
If the law said that stores were allowed to give out biodegradable plastic bags (maybe at some small surcharge?) I'd be fine with that. Doubly so if the law actually suggested or incentivized switching to these types of bags. As far as I'm aware this isn't what's happening.
The numbers in that article were pretty striking to me, btw:
> A shopper would need to reuse a cotton carryout bag 131 times to reduce its global warming potential [...] below that of plastic carryout bags.
> To have less impact on the climate than plastic carryout bags also reused as trash bags, consumers would need to use the cotton bag 327 times.
Even if composting isn't offered, you could still 'fake' compost (i.e. use a composting bin anyway to reduce the need for plastig bags, but toss the food scraps in the main trash bin outside) I live in a small apartment and cook most my meals and haven't noticed much smell. You may need to double check your local rules, but last I checked mine there was no requirement by the waste-handling authority for apartment tenants to put their waste into separate bags.
>The numbers in that article were pretty striking to me, btw
Yes, wish the article did a better job of measuring it in years or months though it gets very subjective. Assuming you grab groceries weekly, the par is reached within a bit over two years. That doesn't seem too bad.
The comparison of trash bags to reuising a cotton bag 327 times doesn't make sense as that's not generally something one would do. I interpret that as saying that you can retire a cotton shopping bag, assuming shopping weekly with it, after a bit over ~6 years.
They're saying: "Compared to plastic shopping bags which are also reused as trash bags, you'd have to reuse a shopping bag (just for shopping) 327 times before there's any carbon reduction."
I'm all for getting rid of plastic bags, but paper bags are not at all viable for grocery shopping on foot. You can't walk three city blocks with arms full of paper bags. Your groceries will explode all over the street.
None of this is a problem if you plan your shopping and keep a stock of reusable bags, but the original complaint about spontaneous shopping is a valid concern.
I end up buying new reusable bags very often, and while that may feel like it's beneficial to the environment, it's not as good as it seems. Each reusable bag has as much plastic as dozens of single-use ones, and eventually they end up getting thrown out too. People don't reuse them as often as they should. I think it's better, since they end up in landfills instead of blowing around the environment and landing in water, and overall it's helping change attitudes.
Yes, and you're exaggerating. You need to considerably overload a paper bag to cause it to tear, and even when I load up a bag with beer and milk cartons and everything I haven't had this happen. Maybe your supermarket doesn't know how to make a good paper bag?
We also use them for our recycling- in my opinion they’re much better than plastic bags in because they stand up on their own.
It’s dissapointing that you take this as an attack.
If anything, who do you think has to deal more with the problem of plastic bag litter, folks in Tarrytown or those in East Austin? Poor people want a clean environment too you know.
I've had them since I was poor.
I don't think I've ever had a disposable plastic bag handle break on me, and I used to walk about a mile to get groceries for a number of years.
The simple logic here is it would force everyone to use plastics only where they are absolutely necessary and avoid the unforeseen problems that usually accompany complete bans.
There are pretty simple ways around this, though. For instance, tax based on number of plastics handed out, not the number purchased.
But then the appeal of the likes of Green New Deals are stealing away the attention.
Many European cities have done fine without single-use plastic bags for years. The cost of a reusable bag is still negligible and should have no impact on purchasing power.
Finally, there is a ton of data on the impact of plastic pollution in local rivers, sea life and other ecosystems. What other data are you looking for?
I wish anti-littering laws could effectively be enforced, but I realize it's tough to do.
There was a discussion about sources of ocean plastic pollution and good amount of source-digging done by fellow HN user here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18731171
There does not seem to be definitive data on the source of plastic pollution in the oceans, so I would really like to see the sources for "80% ocean plastic is from the landfills".
To figure it out and then properly enforce you'd need spend resources that could be better used elsewhere.
It seems to me that you, in this case, intuitively think that cost-benefit analysis sways entirely one way even though you don't know the specifics. But the bar for banning stuff should be higher than that.
It's not just about this particular policy. Every time a restrictive policy is introduced by hand-wavy feel-good arguments (even with best of intentions) it becomes more acceptable to introduce other future policies in a similar way. And if it doesn't actually produce results it's actively harmful - we feel like we're doing something but we're not. Maybe we should just forget about plastic bags and invest in putting more garbage cans around the city or ramp-up inspections on landfill management (thus potentially solving the problem with plastic bags, straws, bottles, utensils etc. with one stroke). How could we even tell? By knowing the specifics.
And we have not even started to discuss alternative, less heavy-handed measures, like levying a tax on each plastic bag or compulsory minimum prices for them at the store (seems to work great, according to some commenters. It was introduced where I live some time ago but I didn't notice any change because there wasn't much litter even before the change).
However we probably should stop using them. Merely banning will just be met with confusion, since they're an integral part of the waste disposal system. But in my experience, and the experience of others in this thread, a good food waste + recycling system virtually eliminates all solid waste, and therefore the need for garbage bags. All solid waste, that is, apart from plastic packaging. Probably we should get rid of that too.
Sadly, yes. I have seen people in NYC literally drop plastic bags on the ground.
I was doubtful before my local area banned them, now most people love trading a slight inconvenience for a lot less litter.
And then the next area to propose a ban has a similar debate, usually without considering the results of the previous experiment.
I would agree that the efficiency benefit to society of single use plastic bags is probably difficult to measure, perhaps because the benefit compared to reusable bags is very small, and maybe even goes away completely after there’s a public behavior change and widespread expectation that free bags aren’t available?
There are some known and large and already quantified downsides to single use plastic bags, plastic production is a health hazard for the workers and nearby communities, and consumes non-renewable resources both in production and transportation. Litter on the streets and in the oceans are causing problems. Plastic in landfills leaching into groundwater is an ongoing issue. All for the “benefit” of being able to carry something 100 feet once and then throw away? It seems so incredibly costly and wasteful in return for an immeasurable convenience... how much proof do we really need?
From what I understand in New York, that dynamic may be reversed though.
I have some bags that are made of a very thin nylon fabric that fold up into a built-in pocket. They take up very little space. I just keep one or two in my regular "going out of the house" bag, so they're always handy. They're sturdy enough that filling both of them with groceries would be more bulk than I actually want to carry home from the bus, so, AFAIC, the problem is handled.
I guess losing plastic grocery bags as garbage bags might be minorly annoying if they were the only source of plastic waste in my life, but, realistically, there are so very many other single-use plastic bags that aren't covered by any of these bans: Chip bags, bread bags, produce bags, etc. My "bin liners for very small bins" needs are still well covered.
Long story short, I have a hard time believing this will actually hurt less wealthy people in urban areas all that much. It's going to be much more annoying to people who drive to the grocery store and now have to remember to keep enough bags to contain $250 worth of groceries at one time in their car.
First job, living in town within walking distance of shops and work, didn't want to carry a bag of bags, especially in summer without big winter coat pockets, so trips to the shop after work had to be pre planned.
Now have a car with a bag with 20 bags permanently in the boot, easy, no planning required.
What are you talking about?
It never occurred to people that those premises could all be true, but it’s actually all about what you call efficient, or what the meaning of long time is, or basically any sufficiently arcane detail that would require like, actual knowledge or reading a book.
Maybe monetary cost isn't the most important thing to factor in.
How about an ecological analysis?
If you'd please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and stick to the rules when posting to HN, we'd be grateful.
"Some health officials speculate that one trigger of the outbreak might have been the state’s plastic bag ban, which went into effect in November. What had once been a practice of last resort — defecating in a plastic bag and tossing it in the trash — is no longer an option"
Maybe people living in abject conditions in the street and defecating in the open? Just a hunch.
New York doesn't have a public bathroom system per se, but government offices like libraries are extremely prevalent, and those will have public bathrooms. Some stores also have bathrooms that are more or less open to the public.
The root cause was mentioned in the linked article:
"At the same time, the city was locking and removing bathrooms to help control the rampant drug and prostitution trade they’d spawned"
As was a more humane solution:
"Today, the tents are gone. There are clusters of newly installed portable toilets open and guarded 24 hours a day. More than 60 new hand-washing stations dot the city."
If removing plastic causes this sort of thing, then something critical has been ignored. It's probably best if the society faces that problem and deals with it.
If formal schooling is needed to educate children, something critical has been ignored. It's probably best if society faces that problem and deals with it.
If medication is needed to keep people healthy, something critical has been ignored. It's probably best if society faces that problem and deals with it.
There are no silver bullets, only bullets. Ignore them at your peril.
Platitudes are cheap.
Examine a statement to see if it's logic bears out before saying that it's impossible to approach safely.
Formal education is helpful in treating the root cause of the problem it's addressing, that of knowledge and skill.
Complaining disposable plastic bags are necessary for sanitation because of a large homeless society doesn't treat the root: Why are so many people homeless? (And yes, that problem is difficult and requires a multi-faceted approach... But plastic bags to pick up human shit isn't the solution.)
b) Restricting internal migration or treating people from certain places preferentially also violates most voters' intuitions about fairness.
If American democracy is to end homelessness, anyone must be able to move to New York/San Francisco and immediately obtain a home there that neither they nor anyone else pays for.
Holding out for this doesn't seem like a good plan.
You think that unborn children should be required to legally own property before they are allowed to be delivered?
I've heard of "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps" but this is a new level of absurdity.
Then no one will ever be homeless.
That's the only non-state solution that guarantees this outcome (well, barring major catastrophes that destroy the home and cause the insurance to not be effective at replacing it).
"Sorry, we can't get rid of plastic problem because that's actually how we address our public sanitation and homelessness problems."
Somehow the ones in Ann Arbor and Chicago don't seem to get such harsh treatment. I'm not sure why; maybe those cities just budget a lot more for maintenance.
Are people really asking themselves “what am I supposed to shit in now?”
I haven’t noticed any difference. SF still has tons of litter. Less of it is plastic bags, but that wasn’t much of the volume of litter anyway.
If we’re going to tax things based on their negative externalities, how about starting with hypodermic needles? The SF DPW picks up over 13,000 used needles per month. They’re often left in parks where dogs and children investigate them and risk contracting hepatitis or HIV.
If a plastic bag ban is worth it for the visual improvement, then restrictions or taxes on needles should be a slam dunk.
Sounds like you have noticed a difference?
Unless you are suggesting that there is some "conservation of litter" principle that ensure that the total amount of litter is fixed, so reducing one kind of litter causes other kinds to increase?
As for your needles argument, would a tax on needles really reduce the total externalities? Sure, it would result in less needles being bought, but that may result in move people sharing needles and transmitting diseases resulting in a much more significant cost. Something should be done about the needles, but it is not clear (a) that taxing them is a good idea, and (b) what this has to do with plastic bags.
I moved from CA to Pittsburgh, and people look at me like an alien when I take out reusable bags at the local grocery store. It’s pretty bizzare.
By the way, does anyone know why a lot of shops on the east coast will bag single items? I went to a CVS to buy some sunscreen and they put it in a plastic bag without even asking if I needed one.
Anyway, something like 90% of people would ask where the little cardboard sleeves were in his shop or through the drive through, even if he explained he got good cups that don't require it. It just wasn't a concept for people - they needed their sleeves or they'd burn their fingers, of course!
As for their effect on plastic pollution in the biosphere, developed countries already contribute very little, simply because they have sanitation services that collect trash and use landfills. And plastic in a landfill isn't hurting anything. The major source of plastic pollution in the environment comes from rivers that pass through countries that have minimal to no garbage collection. That's the pressing issue to solve. Plastic bans in single-use bags in cities is, IMO, minimally to not effective in terms of plastic pollution per se, although the quality of the bags in use has now gone up, which is nice.
They get clogged in the conveyor belts, and China has stopped accepting them in single-stream recycling. There was a time, just a few years ago, when cities would gain money from the plastic bags that were recycled. That time has gone, it now costs cities money to separate plastic bags from recycling streams and put it into landfills instead.
Its basic economics: its no longer cost efficient to recycle, so it won't be recycled. And now its a net-negative to recycling programs.
CVS and 7/11 replaced their bags with "reusable" plastic bags that were thicker and sturdier than the usual bags. They made a huge stink in the press about how instead of providing single-use bags for the fee, they were getting rid of them entirely, but it was just a smokescreen.
This at least was a better solution than what everyone else did. Walmart brought their self-checkout lines to a screeching halt, because you had to go up to an attendant and tell them exactly how many plastic bags you wanted before you could bag anything. I came close to just getting rolls of quarters and saying "as many as this can buy". Other supermarkets, such as Tom Thumb (owned by Safeway and later Albertsons) would've been seamless if not for the cashiers insisting on overstuffing the bags to the point stuff falling out and the bags ripping because they "just want to save you money". I had to keep asking them "please split that into two bags, because it's going to rip open on the way home", and the cashier would shout at me "But I'm trying to save you money!". Again, I fantasized about handing them whole rolls of quarters and saying "this many bags, please", just to shut them up.
 Yeah, that was a disaster. It was massively unpopular, and less than a year later, we had city council elections, and the new council voted to repeal the fee. Not terribly long after that, there was a court ruling that determined that cities in Texas couldn't put any kind of restrictions on plastic bags because Texas has a really ambiguously-worded law about reserving waste-management decisions to the state government only (the legal challenge had actually begun before the Dallas bag fee even began, and there are still a lot of arguments over that ruling because that law is so poorly-written that it can be interpreted in so many ways).
Yet self-service works fine in the UK despite a ban on free bags. Shoppers are incentivised to bring their own by peer-pressure of people waiting for the checkout to clear.
However, I find the "bring your reusable bag" system unworkable for the following reason: I don't always know I'm going to go to the supermarket in advance, and don't always go straight from home. Sometimes I'd like to go on the way home from work, but I can't, because my bags are at home.
Can anyone explain why we don't simply have a system where you borrow reusable bags for a refundable deposit, then bring them back all at once when you're ready? I want to just pay 50c for each bag I borrow, let them pile up at home until I have 10 or 20, then bring them all back and get my money back - maybe minus 10 cents to run the system. This was we reuse bags, but I don't have to bring them with me, which is just impractical sometimes. This seems obvious to me, but I haven't seen it anywhere. Obviously, people would be free to still bring their own bags if they prefer.
> More than 7bn bags were handed out by seven main supermarkets in the year before the charge, but this figure plummeted to slightly more than 500m in the first six months after the charge was introduced, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.
That's a reduction of roughly 6 billion plastic bags.
Is it even worth researching those two? Plastic shopping bags is so far down the list of landfill use and CO2 emissions that I feel there's better things to spend our time on.
Which I wish governments would get. Rather than ban plastic shopping bags, maybe work on funding MTA?
And 80% of it originates from the land.
> Extrapolating with the help of estimates from the 2017 National Geographic report that 79% of plastic in landfills ends as free floating waste worldwide (6.3 billion tons), it can be estimated that the U.S. is responsible for 327 billion bags that goes into the seas. And the global contribution to ocean debris is 3.95 trillion bags each year
I don't have a family. I work non-regular hours and in non-regular locations. I live in New York City.
I can't plan when I go grocery shopping. It's always when I'm coming home from... somewhere... and I have a free half-hour, and I'm lucky enough for it to be before all the grocery stores have closed... but I simply don't have a way to carry reusable bags with me all the time. And when I get a chance to shop it's usually ~3 bags' worth.
What exactly are people like me with non-predictable schedules and no car to keep reusable bags in supposed to do? This is a genuinely serious question.
Reusable bags are great for people with cars. I don't get how it fits NYC though.
Plus, I re-use every single bag for trash anyways. So now I'll have to buy trash bags, which are always much thicker than grocery bags, i.e. far more plastic. :( This will be inconvenient AND much worse for the environment in terms of plastic used. Literally lose-lose.
For most of the country with cars, I get it. But here in NYC, I'm not getting it. Especially since pollution/littering from plastic bags doesn't seem to be a problem here locally.
I'm really not trying to be difficult here. And I already do my best to live environmentally responsibly -- public transport and shared bicycles (Citibike), small apartment, responsible consumption, I recycle everything I can. But this just isn't thought-out.
Things like this are usually just feel good measures all around, in the western world most of these bags will end up at rubbish sites and there are a million other sources of plastic waste that get left unaddressed. When they introduced laws against single use plastics here the number of bags used dropped 80%, but the 10c "reusable" ones have a lot more plastic, making it a net wash. And even then when you buy fresh veggies like potatoes and carrots they'll be bundled into a single use bag, either by the shop themselves or the customer.
They're are tonnes of ways to cut down plastic and other waste but everyone is preoccupied with this one convenient and hard to avoid use.
Simple - don't bag produce like potatoes or carrots if you're buying them loose. You can put them directly in your shopping cart/basket and transfer to your grocery bag after checking out. The only produce I bag is leafy greens and stuffy like green beans/okra (many small units hard to keep together).
I re-use produce bags for trash. And I don't even bag all of my produce.
They just don't hold enough volume to be useful as even small trash bags, on top of which they don't have handles so you have to use the top 1/3 of the bag to tie off, which makes them even smaller.
So they're too small to line even a small trash can with, or to hang from inside a cabinet door.
There are full-size reusable bags that fold into the approximate size of a pocket square; three of them can probably be carried easily in a typical pants pocket.
> So now I'll have to buy trash bags, which are always much thicker than grocery bags, i.e. far more plastic.
The trash bags that are roughly the same capacity as grocery bags are much thinner, and less plastic; large kitchen bags are thicker, but also hold several times the volume and mass that a grocery bag would handle.
I mean, seriously, I couldn't even wad a single existing super-thin grocery bag into my pocket without it bulging uncomfortably and no room for anything else, let alone three.
And I have never in my life seen trash bags sold that are thinner that grocery bags. Grocery bags are the thinnest plastic I've ever seen, which makes sense for economic reasons. (I'm not talking about some gourmet thick grocery bags, I'm talking about your cheap-supermarket ones, which is where I shop.)
You know what else is really missing - much harder than a plastic bag ban - enforcing a litter tossing ban. There's a --yes, I will say it-- culture in NYC of people tossing litter on the ground. A lot of this litter is plastic - bottles and then you have the disgusting candy and chip/junk food wrappers.
Unfortunately that is much harder, because there's no political appetitite in NYC now for punishing anyone for any crime that isn't a major violent crime. Almost all other crimes are to be ignored, because we're told, criminal justice reform of not enforcing "quality of life crimes" (and this is always said in quotation marks) is a path forward to redressing unequal and unfair enforcement. [edit: grammar]
So where do we stand, NYC, with our litter all over the street and sidewalk in both rich and poor neighborhoods, on subway platforms, inside subway cars and on the tracks (where they're responsible for a certain percentage of fires)?
I'll be glad to not see those damned plastic bags flying around in a spiral in the air and getting stuck in branches, but what about all the rest?
I'd love to hear more if anyone comes from that era, or knows stories about those times.
and if you're worried about the germs it gets when put on the belt or when the cashier handles it or in your cart...well trigger warning: your food travels from a farm to the grocery store and is handled by at least 10 people before it gets put on the shelf.
I'ts way easier bringing a backpack plus two bags in from the car.
So maybe in a year NY'll be back somehow to some kind of plastic bag and that'll be it.