Monday, March 01, 2010

More Greenie Idiocy: Fees For Grocery Bags

Encouraging people to bring their own reusable canvas bags to the grocery store is one thing, forcing them to do so, another.

Now, I'm one of those people who recycle paper and plastic bags by finding other uses for them, mainly because doing so saves me from having to purchase the bigger plastic bags such as Hefty or Glad trash bags, too big for some household purposes here anyway. Those purposes include lining small wastebaskets and disposing of food leavings in a household with no under-sink garbage disposal. I even reuse the plastic sleeves in which the Washington Post arrives every day. Those sleeves make excellent gloves with which to clean out the cats' litter boxes. Scoop out the piles, turn the bag inside out and knot it. Voila! Useful and sanitary!

Here in the Virginia suburbs, such household management of paper and plastic bags is, thus far, completely VOLUNTARY.

As of January 1, 2009, however, the city of Washington, D.C., has begun charging a user fee for each paper and plastic grocery bag issued, even at liquor stores. Supposedly, this restriction on paper and plastic bags will help to clean up the Anacostia River:
The District's user fee on plastic and paper bags at stores that sell food and/or alcohol went into effect New Year's Day and is one of the toughest such measures in the country.

Lawmakers hope the tax will make the nation's capital more green-friendly and help the environment, with proceeds going to fund the cleanup of the Anacostia River. They estimate it will produce about $3.6 million in revenue in the first year, an amount that might decline as awareness grows and people get used to bringing reusable bags when they go shopping.


Discarded bags sometimes make their way into the District's storm-water drains and nearby waterways, including the polluted eight-mile stretch of the Anacostia River in Southeast Washington, where they become tangled in trees and roots.
As if the Anacostia area's residents and transients, a sizable portion of whom are involved in the illicit drug trade, are going to change their habits! The user fee on bags from the liquor store is particularly ludicrous and ineffective.

Meanwhile, back here in the Virginia suburbs, not long ago I made a special trip to Whole Foods to pick up a particular supplement carried only at that store. The clerk at the register gave me an excoriating look when I didn't produce or purchase a canvas bag in which to tote the single item I purchased. Indeed, she looked at me as if I were evil personified. So much for "The customer is always right." I admit it: I didn't feel the least ashamed or obligated to explain that I would be recycling the bag she grudgingly produced.

Trying to force people to care about the environment is a non-starter. But utopians, including sanctimonious environmentalists, never give up trying to make non-starters work.

Additional reading: As long as I'm on the topic of greenie idiocy, check out this recent story about the greenie-experimental urinals in Chicago's City Hall (hat tip to Weasel Zippers):
There's been a stench coming from the second floor of City Hall -- and it has nothing to do with the steady stream of Chicago aldermen convicted on corruption charges.

Waterless urinals installed to promote water conservation in the public men's room outside the City Council chambers have turned into a stinky mess. The odor got so bad that the "green" urinals are now being ripped out and replaced with the old-fashioned kind at a cost City Hall has refused to disclose.

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posted by Always On Watch @ 3/01/2010 05:00:00 AM