Posts Tagged With: plastic bag ban


Life has taken some dizzying, and significant changes in my life. I tend to juggle too many projects and responsibilities which keeps me busier than I like. (Self imposed, doncha know.) I’ve been diagnosed with a serious disease and now have to attend more and more doctor’s appointment.

I’m still collecting quotes for those future blogs and enjoy them. They are stacking up, along with unmade quilts and art projects.

I’m a noted Treehugger and this morning, I couldn’t resist re-posting this message that I wish to share with anyone who will pay attention:

It has been one month since Kenya enacted the world’s strictest ban on plastic bags. It took ten years and three attempts to pass the legislation, but as of August 28, people could be punished for carrying, manufacturing and importing plastic bags. Fines range from $19,000 to $38,000, with possible four-year jail terms. All travelers are required to leave their plastic bags at the airport and residents are encouraged to drop off old bags at local grocery stores for collection.

The ban is highly ambitious for a country that used to hand out 100 million plastic bags a year. But as pollution piled up, officials realized something more drastic needed to be done. Plastic bags litter every Kenyan roadway, clog sewers and streams, and damage soil and water sources. Even animals eat them.

“In Nairobi’s slaughterhouses, some cows destined for human consumption had 20 bags removed from their stomachs. ‘This is something we didn’t get 10 years ago but now it’s almost on a daily basis,’ said county vet Mbuthi Kinyanjui as he watched men in bloodied white uniforms scoop sodden plastic bags from the stomachs of cow carcasses.”

There are many reasons to ban plastic bags even though some people hate it. The inability of plastic bags to decompose, affecting soil quality. In some areas, plastic bags block sewers and prevent proper water drainage. They bugger sewage plants.
They damage ecosystems. Many animals and especially sea turtles and other underwater creatures eat them thinking they are jelly fish and die from it.
Plastic bags endanger human health when used for packaging food in particular hot food, baby pouches and cooking pouches.
They release poisonous gas when burned affecting the open air if burned in large numbers as some cities do to get rid of the shear volume of the plastic packaging and disposable bags. Well, I’m done with my rant. Please help enact a stricter ban on plastics. In California, every city and store can choose whether to do it or not. It is voluntary.  Our local SaveMart has given up plastic,  but I still see people buying groceries with shopping carts heaped full with a few items in each bag coming out of Walmart, Kohls,Big Lots, Big 5, Ace Hardware, and just about every other store in the county. Have a heart. Do your part.




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Yesterday’s blog about Brownsville, I neglected to mention that the city does not allow plastic bags. When you shop, you must bring your own bag or carry purchases as they are. What a treat it is to visit an area without plastic bags clinging to every alley, puddle, barbed- wire fence and twiggy bush along the roadsides. Residents are aware of the huge conglomeration  of plastic bags that reaches the ocean and gets caught in a swirling ocean vortex often described as the size of the state of Texas. In windy country like South Texas, that ban is very meaningful. Thank you citizens of Brownsville.

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From Brownsville, we drove North East along the coast. At one point a sign indicates -Sixty Miles To The Next Service Station. We figured we were probably driving across the King Ranch, or part of it. We saw a sign for Yburria Ranch, which is another huge ranch holder like King, Kennedy and others that acquired huge Spanish land grants at three cents an acre.

We parked at the  Kingsville Elks Club #1226, then went to visit the Kings Ranch Museum. On the drive over, we noticed the King Ranch Saddle Shop. The museum doesn’t allow photos, but is beautifully done, and well worth seeing. A family history is shown in a  23 minute video of the family.

One grand-daughter climbed a tower in the 1940’s and took pictures of the cattle milling,  the men working the cattle, and photos of life on the ranch. These photos blown up to one- story size are the centerpiece of the museum, viewable from below and a walkway above.  Other, bigger than life photos and a ranch buggy and car collection take up  most  of the lower story.  In the entrance, a rug  depicting the King Family holdings that once covered a floor in their office buildings, is two stories high.

Richard King ran away from home at age 11 as a stowaway and ended up eventually in South Texas. A hard worker, he lived frugally.  He met Robert E. Lee and Lee advised him to buy land and don’t ever sell. And, that is what he did. He bought the Santa Gertrudis land grant situated on a river. He went into Mexico just over the border from Brownsville and invited a whole village of people to move to his ranch and help him build it. They did.

I was impressed with King. He treated his help like family. They were family. They lived remotely and his children grew up side by side with his vaquero’s families. They ate the same food; he built a chapel and school for the children. And, some of the descendants of the vaqueros still work the King Ranch today. He dug wells and opened up the vast dry lands to productive pasture. He brought the first Brahma bull in to mix with his herd and began the Texas Long Horn tradition and better beef. There is much about this family you will like.

King died at age 60 of cancer and his wife and one son-in-law continued to build up the ranch.   She lived to age 92, basically unchanged by wealth. Down to earth, hard-working, kind and helpful. Her  daughter who succeeded her as matriarch of the family was the same. Subsequent generations have played with money, race horses, planes and politics. And, other  businesses, like a dairy that produced 1000 pounds of butter a day. Saddles,a Hardware Store; they became growers with orchards of citrus and pecans. They employ a lot of people and own ranches in Australia, South America and one in Africa.  They have become preservationists for wildlife on the ranch.

I especially enjoyed a beautiful saddle collection.  One car in the collection had built in holsters in the metal to carry hunting rifles. There are several very original cars in this collection if you are a car collection addict.

From the King Museum, we learned we had passed by the Kennedy Ranch Museum at Sarita, in that wide expanse of “no services”.

Kingsville Elks Club

Jim and I repaired to the Elks Club bar for a drink before dinner.



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I celebrate every gift I get. This one is a biggie. I believe  Berkeley, CA was the first city to ban plastic bags in grocery stores. San Francisco followed.  Coastal North Carolina did the same. Now, Seattle follows Bellingham, WA  but their ban does more.

The Seattle City Council passed a broad ban on plastic bags Monday, outlawing them not just in grocery stores, but in department stores, clothing stores, convenience stores, home-improvement stores, food trucks and farmers markets.

The bill goes further than bans in other cities, which have largely banished plastic only groceries and sometimes drug stores. Customers in Seattle will still be able to get paper bags from retailers, but for a 5-cent fee.

Monday’s bill exempts customers on food assistance and other government benefits from the bag fee. The city will also make free or reduced-cost reusable bags available to poor people.

The ordinance applies only to single-use, checkout bags, and not to produce, bulk-ban and dry-cleaning bags. Plastic bags for take-out restaurant food are also still allowed, because they help protect health and safety while transporting hot food and liquid.

Read more:

I shop with my own bags and my little grocery store, Sierra Hills Market,  will reward you with a $25 gift certificate, for using your own shopping bag. People who use their own bags are allowed to mark their name and phone number on a small paper by the checkstand and put it in the draw box. I’ve won the certificate, once. I regularly see about four others using their own bags.

A chain grocer in nearby Angels Camp tried the “recycle” your plastic bags idea. The container was always stuffed full of plastic bags and was emptied regularly in the dumpster. The bags are cheaply made, tear easily, don’t hold much and the only person I ever saw taking recycled bags on their way into the grocery store was-ME.  It just doesn’t change habits.

“A study a few years ago “found that the inks and colorants used on some bags contain lead, a toxin. Every year, Americans throw away some 100 billion plastic bags after they’ve been used to transport a prescription home from the drugstore or a quart of milk from the grocery store. It’s equivalent to dumping nearly 12 million barrels of oil.”

So, I celebrate it as a gift to our common environment. I’ve seen pictures of animals entrapped and dying from plastic bags drifting into their environment. And, just a reminder, there is a huge glob of plastic bags the size of the state of Texas in the ocean vortex where water circulates and keeps  miles of  plastic  afloat.  Other countries have banned bags in some cities.  Mexico City, twelve towns in Australia, Rangoon, Burma, Five major cities in India, London, Rawanda, the whole country is bag free.

It seems to me this is an opportunity for college students across the country to collectively  push for plastic bag bans in their communities. Hey, they know how to solve the deficit.  Over and again, they have proved to be smarter, and more effective than our do nothing government.

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