Letter: Plastic bag ban positive for California communities
I believe that in regards to the issue of whether or not Proposition 67 should be upheld, there is a simple answer — yes. Proposition 67 is intended to uphold previous California legislation enacted that effectively bans single-use plastic bags from grocers and select retailers. Voting “yes” ensures that the referendum is upheld, effectively ridding California grocery stores of single-use plastic bags. I believe the environmental reasons for a plastic-bag ban are well understood in South Lake Tahoe, considering the city outlawed their use over two years ago. While many people have at least some knowledge of the environmental threats plastic bags pose, the economic benefits a bag ban provides for proactive communities like ours are often understated. Despite being plastic-free in South Lake Tahoe’s grocery stores for over two years, I have not seen or heard of a decrease in business that can be linked directly to the bag ban.
South Lake Tahoe is relatively isolated, however; considering the vast majority of Californians are urban dwelling, I completely understand why local economies are affected by a bag ban. While South Lake Tahoe isn’t the first city to enact a ban, it is one of the lucky few in California without competition from nearby cities without plastic bans. Many proactive cities in California (such as Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Francisco) have reported a decrease in grocery sales since banning plastic bags. This change can be attributed to consumers leaving local businesses and instead shopping in cities without plastic bag legislation. This is one of the reasons I believe California as a whole would benefit from a statewide ban of plastic bags. Proposition 67 protects proactive California communities from economic strain by ensuring all cities adhere to the ban — those who previously left their cities are likely to return to their local grocers since there will no longer be an incentive to shop elsewhere. A return to local spending is exactly what California needs: local spending supports both neighborhood businesses as well as local government through taxes. Local spending is crucial for the success of any community.
I’m confident that most Californians agree with me. By supporting Proposition 67, you will help bring local dollars back into cities that already support a bag ban, along with the numerous environmental and health benefits that limiting our plastic consumption provides. Banning plastic bags will eliminate only a small percentage of from our total plastic consumption; however, I believe that such action is imperative to our progression as a more sustainable, global minded society.
I invite those in favor of supporting our local and statewide economies to vote “yes” on Proposition 67 in the November ballot.
South Lake Tahoe, Calif.