The Water Cooler – Banning Plastic Bags

October 28, 2013 12:00 pm · 74 comments

The “Water Cooler” is a feature on where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it!

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday in the noon hour.

Many cities around the Bay Area continue to ban plastic bags in grocery stores. Would you support a ban on plastic bags in Claycord?

Talk about it….

plasticman October 28, 2013 at 12:03 PM


Jerk October 28, 2013 at 12:08 PM

What lines the sides of the freeways and are stuck to the BART fence along hwy 4 = Plastic Bags! If they aren’t biodegradable, then they aren’t sustainable.

Cigi October 28, 2013 at 12:08 PM

No . .. a waste of time and city staff resources. Municipalities have bigger issues than this kind of crap.

Walnut Creek is proposing it because it’s the “green” thing to do. How about solving the required funding to provide such high level of services? Walnut Creek residents are spoiled, demanding brats and need to buck up or shutter losers like that Lesher performing arts thing.

Shove it Bob Simmons..

Enfield303 October 28, 2013 at 12:11 PM

NO. I use them for various chores around the house, plus they are easier to carry groceries into the house. It’s good to see there are no more pressing problems in these cities that pass these stupid laws. Reusable bags must be properly sanitized to prevent ecoli and other food born illnesses. More nanny state BS.

Single Use October 28, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Yet one more example of progressive liberals feeling better about themselves because they have gone “green”.
As usual an idea not thought all the way thru.
Those of you that use green bags to save the planet, do you wash them after EVERY use ?

A few articles on reusable bag risks.
Contaminated reusable grocery bag causes gastric illness outbreak
Expert warns that reusable carriers could become contaminated with E.coli
Norovirus Outbreak Traced to Reusable Grocery Bag
Could Reusable Shopping Bags Make You Sick?
Study finds reusable grocery bags can harbor dangerous bacteria

Jim October 28, 2013 at 12:16 PM

So how many people are we putting out of work?…you know like the SierraCclub killed lumber mills, and created some areas of 25% unemployemnt all in the name of saving trees which, by managed cutting , had already been spared….So now the enviromental groups have been tageting plastic bags….do they even know or care what damage they cause an economy?

anonno October 28, 2013 at 12:24 PM

#6 – Flawed Logic. So are you saying just because people are “working”, then anything goes?

Miss Ranchogirl October 28, 2013 at 12:29 PM

I normally am against government telling people what to do. But on this one I am torn……..this plastic bag thing is just out of control….people need a bag for everything.

The Closer October 28, 2013 at 12:30 PM


Maybe if the garbage transfer trucks secured their loads better there wouldn’t be bags stuck all over. You are right about the biodegradable aspect though, they should break down faster.

Anon777 October 28, 2013 at 12:31 PM

My two cents is that they should make plastic bags sturdy enough so that I only need one, instead of the 3 Safeway bags I currently have to use to get my groceries home without the bag splitting. I’d use less if they were stronger. Having said that, as long as the grocery store gives me some kind of bag to carry my groceries home, I could care less what it is. I like plastic because they are easier to carry and I re-use these bags for different purposes around my house. But I’m fine with paper if it comes to that.

Skyscraper October 28, 2013 at 12:33 PM

Talk about not thinking things through…

In case some of you are too young to remember, the reason stores starting using plastic bags in the first place, back in the 1970’s as I recall, was as an “eco-friendly” substitute for PAPER grocery bags. The plastic bag alternative was suppose to SAVE THE TREES and keep them from being needlessly cut down to bag our groceries.

Cigi October 28, 2013 at 12:40 PM

2x with 11…..

AND also in the 70s, the “leading scientists” were claiming we were headed into the next ice age.

ClayDen October 28, 2013 at 12:50 PM

This is stupid. Prosecute those irresponsible people who litter and ensure the bags are disposed of properly. Make paper bags the default; trees are a crop and can be grown and harvested in a responsible manner. These idiot politicians (i.e. liberals) have more pressing things to deal with.

BCuzItzClaycord October 28, 2013 at 12:53 PM

Since people actually do recycle paper I say yes get rid of plastic bags and go back to paper. I agree Anon777 most grocery stores use very flimsy bags and youhave use at least 2 for heavy items and the singles can’t hold many items…….What a person could put in 2 paper bags takes at least 5-6 plastic bags.

Jerk October 28, 2013 at 12:53 PM

The Closer #9,
Okay, Who is going to be first to get some Contra Costa Transfer video? I’ve been behind those trucks many times and it’s crazy how much crap comes out from their net covering.

YES! FINALLY ! October 28, 2013 at 12:56 PM

I want the government to control my shopping bags.

Then, they can track everywhere I drive –,0,6090226.story

Then, they can completely disarm me –

Then they can tax all my money from me while re-distributing it to the “under-privelidged”


Then, we can spread justice to all who suffer from injustice –

Then, and only then will we FINALLY live in UTOPIA !

**** Insert, “Then, the Department of Homeland Security will haul me off for writing these sorts of “treasonous” ideas online.” –

Connie Dobbs October 28, 2013 at 12:57 PM

As well as being waterproof, plastic is sanitary and more readily recycled than paper.

Down and Out October 28, 2013 at 12:59 PM

Wow, nothing shocks me more than #6, Jim, with such an insane post. Jobs are irrelevant.

Contra Costa needs to ban plastic bags now, just like SF and San Mateo.

@Cigi October 28, 2013 at 1:00 PM
nytemuvr October 28, 2013 at 1:01 PM

Go back to paper as the harvested trees now were planted back in the 70s and 80s. Paper companies plant and harvest trees, just like a farmer does, it’s only a long growing plant that takes 25 to 30 years to “pick”. Granted the bags we used back in the 70s were from old growth forest(Skyscraper). It’s a crop now and renewable.

comment October 28, 2013 at 1:05 PM

I do support plastic bag ban, however I do not support that retailers must charge paper bags. They should just require retailers to replace plastic bags with paper bags. I do not like reusable bags too much unless they are for dry food. I saw a tv show the other day. They checked germs in those recyclable bags that people use, they are dirty !! I can not possibly wash them every time I use them.

Those who walk need non-paper October 28, 2013 at 1:08 PM

If someone is walking a mile or 2 carrying groceries, paper is not adequate.

Perhaps charging for using plastic bags would work. People would have the option to purchase a plastic bag, or bring their own, while discouraging people from carelessly littering with them, and discouraging those for whom a paper bag would work to use paper.

mutts October 28, 2013 at 1:09 PM

Some people just follow, like lemmings. I agree with Skyscraper and Cigi. The green movement is just a way of controlling what people do. Every so often they change their stance to the opposite of before. Green isn’t so good, taking things too far, as usual.

Strothermartin October 28, 2013 at 1:16 PM

As it was once told to Butch and Sundance…Morons. We have Morons on our team!

Jim October 28, 2013 at 1:16 PM

@anonno…as I said…trees had already been spared…and they continued to push to stop cutting…and in that killed an industry and put thousands out of work…how is tha flawed…so now the “greens” are after plastic bags…what’s wrong with them…I think if you look at the facts…see many thread above…you see it’s just the in thing to do…it really has NO enviromental savings…so yeah it’s OK if it sustainable and sound and keeps people employed

Nuttsie the Nutter October 28, 2013 at 1:21 PM

Go out sailing on the ocean, any ocean, and you will see why we need to ban plastic bags.

Spend the day with a commercial fisherman and you will see why we need to ban plastic bags.

It has nothing to do with Big Brother. It is not another conspiracy by the government to see what you do. It is not about tree huggers. It is not about bleeding heart progressive liberals. It is about doing what is right for the future of the world.

mike mac October 28, 2013 at 1:27 PM

We need to ban everything and everybody. By doing so, we will save the Earth from human encroachment. We need to start with politicians:

If one drowns in a river, it is pollution; if they all drown in the river, it is a solution.

Anon October 28, 2013 at 1:30 PM

No ban please! Let’s not start nickel & diming people for bags. I was just in See’s candy in SF and bought a few pieces of candy and was charged .10 for the bag- really? I think it has gone too far.

Sustainable October 28, 2013 at 1:41 PM

Trees are now farmed, planted and harvested just as we do other crops.
Paper can be recycled or composted, 100% natural.

Reducing Fixed Business Costs October 28, 2013 at 1:44 PM

Ever stop to think who might have been behind elimination of paper bags and now plastic bags? What about businesses that had to buy them and give them at no cost to customers.

Cigi October 28, 2013 at 1:46 PM

@19… That’s self serving propoganda to maintain funding.

Claytard October 28, 2013 at 1:46 PM

What a bunch of paranoid yahoos.

Yes! October 28, 2013 at 1:48 PM

Just look along Hwy 4 and you can see them all floating around. They are bad for the environment and a visual blight!

:-( October 28, 2013 at 1:48 PM

To all the lazy people that are afraid of getting sick from a reusable bag: you buy a canvas bag and throw it in the wash with your weekly laundry after your weekly grocery shopping.

Ban the Bag October 28, 2013 at 1:49 PM

You would be surprised at how easy it is to live without plastic bags. As someone who lives in San Mateo County but works over here, it wasn’t that hard to change my habit and I see less of them blowing around the streets.

Oh, and I haven’t gotten e-coli or whatever yet. If your worried about the bags how about worrying about the shopping carts where kids in diapers sit, stand and who knows what. Wash your food when you get home.

Don October 28, 2013 at 2:02 PM


Anon2you October 28, 2013 at 2:17 PM

No, I reuse mine for various things and when they no longer serve a purpose I recycle them. I am for using more paper bags however as they are also recyclable and can but used for multiple purposes…Trash, covering school books, storage and even gardening to keep weeds down (use them under ground cover like bark). So it is up to the consumer to make sure either product is used and disposed of responsibly, not the government to dictate to us…

lucy October 28, 2013 at 2:21 PM

or how about we all just grow and raise our own food so we dont have to go to the grocery store.

ChampagneKitty October 28, 2013 at 2:29 PM

Skyscraper is right. I do remember the transition from paper to plastic to save trees. I understand the argument of banning plastic bags for environmental reasons, but I would be against seeing such a ban here. I remember one time when I was present at a city council meeting and a young woman came up during public comments and urged the council to ban plastic bags. I was sitting there emphatically shaking my head no. My position is heavily influenced by being physically disabled. The plastic bags make it much easier to carry things and I do re-use them. When I get too many Safeway bags, I can bring them back to Safeway for recycling. I would not be happy if I couldn’t get plastic bags.

JW October 28, 2013 at 2:33 PM

I use them for garbage around the house and in the car. I don’t have any problem with trying to save the planet but I do have a problem with being told how I need to shop. So, I go to a Chinese place in the city to get some take out for my uncle. It is a good place and all but I forgot about the bag ban. Still, I have to get an arm full of Chinese food home. I am also not going to pay a dime for a bag so that I can get this food out of the restaurant. I tell the guy to hold on and I run to the car to get a bag. I found one. I bring it back and there was a stupid hole in in it. Aww crap! So I run back and I find another and that one is shot when I get it back also. The guy felt bad and gave me a bag but still it held the people up in line.

KJ October 28, 2013 at 2:34 PM

It takes no effort to carry your own reusable bags to a store.

I realize there are lots of lazy, immature, selfish people who seem to believe the Earth is theirs to abuse and trash; they are the ones that require laws — the rest of us have seen the giant mess of plastic in the oceans, creeks and rivers, and have already taken action to minimize the problem.

recycle? October 28, 2013 at 3:15 PM

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the much older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.
>> The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this ‘green thing’ back in my earlier days.”
>> The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your Generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”
>> She was right — our generation didn’t have the ‘green thing’ in its day.
>> Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.
>> But we didn’t have the “green thing” back in our day.
>> Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribbling’s. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.
>> But too bad we didn’t do the “green thing” back then.
>> We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.
>> But she was right. We didn’t have the “green thing” in our day.
>> Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.
>> But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing”
>> back in our day.
>> Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.
>> But she’s right; we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.
>> We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.
>> But we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.
>> Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service in the family’s $45,000 SUV or van, which cost what a whole house did before the “green thing.” We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from
>> Satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.
>> But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the “green thing” back then?
>> Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smartass young person…
>> We don’t like being old in the first place, so it doesn’t take
>> much to set us off…especially from a dummy who can’t make change without the cash register.

Cassandra October 28, 2013 at 3:17 PM

Well, I’m not physically disabled, and I find plastic bags easier to carry. They’re also useful around the house.

Paper bags are harder to carry, and even the ones with handles, the bags are usually to heavy, and the handle will rip.

Plastic bags are easier-PERIOD!

Anon October 28, 2013 at 3:19 PM

I usually carry the reusable bags to the grocery store however I do sometimes request plastic. I use them as garbage bags and take those that are unusable back to the store and put in the recycling bin. I’m all for reducing the plastic mess however I don’t like the idea of a ban. People just need to be more respectful and responsible.

Strad October 28, 2013 at 3:25 PM

No. I have too many uses for those bags.

See Jane October 28, 2013 at 3:27 PM

I use reusable bags and no one in my household has gotten food poisoning yet. Do you know how much bacteria lives on almost every surface of your house? It frankly isn’t an issue if one washes one’s fruits and vegetables and cooks meat properly.

Trucker Bug October 28, 2013 at 3:29 PM

Lookout. Next they will be charging you for each bag at the store. They already do it in Monterey and various other areas.

Bring your own bags or pay 10cents per bag.

Silva October 28, 2013 at 3:29 PM

Emeryville charges $0.10 per bag, plastic or paper. I have many at home. I find them very useful. Can I remember to carry them in the car? Not usually. We feel rediculously silly when shopping there, NOT buying the bags, & putting all the loose stuff in the car seat! Once or twice we’ve had fun making our purchases, then placing them in used bags from competing stores. Simple pleasures!

B October 28, 2013 at 3:31 PM

If the stores used plastic bags that actually held stuff then we wouldn’t need to use so many. I try to reuse them elsewhere, but half have to go to recycle immediately because they are torn before I get my groceries put away.

Incognito October 28, 2013 at 3:44 PM

I use reusable bags on a regular basis and I am noticing more and more people doing the same. I also use cloth napkins rather than paper napkins daily and rarely use a paper plate or plastic ware.

KAD October 28, 2013 at 3:46 PM

Plastic bags need to be banned. There are too many people that do not care to dispose of them properly so they need to be banned.

Howard K Mullins III October 28, 2013 at 4:25 PM

I have to agree with “recycle?”

Its not the plastic that’s the problem, it’s the people.

It’s all about being responsible and accountable, lost values for far to many people in today’s society.

We the people can change all of that if enough of us wanted to.

In the meantime, I cannot condone a ban on plastic bags. People need to become involved and solve these issues. Relying of government is not an answer, its only an excuse.

Dee October 28, 2013 at 4:46 PM

No I do not. I reuse ours to line small trash cans and as poop bags if I don’t have a regular one handy. If people would quit being so lazy and yes that is what it is…lazy and throw them in a recycle bin that would be a big plus. How about all the crap that blows around and ends up in yards and stuff like chip bags, candy wrappers, juice pouches and the list just goes on and on because people are just too damn lazy to find a trash can. How about we just ban laziness

concord resident October 28, 2013 at 4:53 PM


@32 Claytard October 28, 2013 at 5:32 PM

You’re the problem. We’re being incrementally regulated because people like you allow it. Inch by inch until you wake up one day and the government is confiscating your property and giving it to someone else.

Oh wait. That day has come. Can you say Obamacare ?

Force people to separate with their property (money) in exchange for the healthcare the government chooses, which subsidizes (gives to) others for a different price.

You are a tard. A RETARD !


marinemom October 28, 2013 at 5:46 PM

Take a few beach towels and sew up both sides add a handle you have a bag toss it in the washer from time to time keep it clean.

ptpauly October 28, 2013 at 6:13 PM

recycle, awesome post, my kids don’t get it either

Subterfuge October 28, 2013 at 6:26 PM

Yes. Time to return to paper. A renewable resource, and end user friendly where it comes to the environment.

nothing October 28, 2013 at 6:40 PM

Yes on ban of plastic bags , but washing reusable bags often
is questionable. It will flush detergent to the bay,it is like the argument over cloth diapers VS disposable diapers.

Teacher Wannabe October 28, 2013 at 7:30 PM
Always Right October 28, 2013 at 9:00 PM

No. We don’t need to ban the bags. We need to fine the litterers who are too lazy and careless to dispose of things appropriately.

Liberal democrats just can’t get with the idea of holding people accountable for their actions. Here is a clue: littering already carries a significant fine. Just ENFORCE THE EXISTING LAW !

Concordanon18 October 29, 2013 at 7:06 AM

No! It’s like punishing everyone fore a couple of idiots mistakes! I have thousands of plastic bags and I use them for everything, dog poop, keeping dirty clothes seperated from clean ones in my suitcase, wrapping up my lunch! All kinds of things! SAVE THE BAGS!

Pyrrhus October 29, 2013 at 9:06 AM

@59 No, the waste water from a home goes to a treatment plant.

Also, Yes to the plastic ban. I’ve moved to the City and it really isn’t a big deal. Stuff a couple reusable bags in the car or stick one in your bag. Worried about contamination? Wash your canvas bag and wash your produce. Stop being lazy and selfish. Also, those thinking we are going to destroy tree upon tree for paper bags, we grow trees as a crop. Also, once hemp becomes more wildly used (one the federal ban is gone) cutting down trees for paper will no longer be an issue.

This is the reason why we need to reduce our use of plastics,

The Mamba October 29, 2013 at 10:51 AM

No, I wouldn’t support the ban.

Zam October 29, 2013 at 12:17 PM

@Jim #6
Drug busts put people out of work too: a lot of people depend on drug money to survive. Are you suggesting that we leave drug dealers alone too?

Anderson October 29, 2013 at 12:21 PM

No. Not only are these creeping bans ridiculous abuses of power (do we get to vote on any such bans?), but the carbon and resource footprint of paper bags, even when recycled, is orders of magnitude higher than plastic bags.

Enforce the litter laws and encourage recycling (even of plastic bags). Banning plastic bags is just plain stupid.

A more effective control might be for shops and stores to charge a nominal fee for a bag, thereby encouraging reuseable alternatives. This method would do more to encourage ‘good’ behavior and leave the choices, and empowerment, in the hands of the people.

Shuley October 29, 2013 at 12:38 PM

Yes, absolutely. If they are not bio-degradeable they should be banned as they are hazardous to the environment. Period.

As per single use #5 – wash them. Problem solved

another idiot like you October 29, 2013 at 1:41 PM

@jerk, try this simple kindergarten test my friend. take a simple plastic grocery bag and a paper bag. leave them outside for a few weeks and see which one breaks down first. if the paper never gets wet the plastic will always degrade first because of that plastics weakness to UV radiation. the paper bag will take forever to degrade without assistance in the form of moisture. try it before you say stupid things on the internet for others to read. also look into what plastic breaks down into as it half lifes

nytemuvr October 29, 2013 at 2:07 PM

I’ve drove the same car for 43 years, it’s been recycled many times with a lot of parts from the salvage yards and always use paper bags.

RanchgirlCA October 29, 2013 at 3:16 PM

I have no problem if they ban the plastic bags. I bring my own or reuse paper bags from Trader Joe or Whole Food, until they aren’t usable any more. Either way won’t change how I do things. What I would like is for the clerks to learn how to bag groceries.

bricejenn October 29, 2013 at 4:21 PM

No, there are other things that the City of Concord should be concerned about besides plastic bags.

Frank L October 29, 2013 at 4:41 PM

Banning plastic bags would be stupid. Not only are they easier to carry (especially for the elderly, etc.), they’re useful around the house. They’re great for lining small trash cans.

Tango Hotel October 29, 2013 at 9:44 PM

I personally say NO to banning plastic bags if it means the store is required to charge people for a paper bag. I work in San Francisco and I REFUSE to shop in any store that charges me to purchase a paper bag for my products and I now a lot of people who feel the same. In my opinion, I think it is the responsibility of the stores to provide bags to customers without charging them for them. I personally don’t care if they ban plastic bags, just don’t charge me for bag stores should provide to customers as a convenience, not an additional expense. It is starting to be like airlines, charging their customers for absolutely EVERYTHING from checking your luggage, choosing a seat, getting a pillow or blanket or headphones and even for food. To the stores as a customer please stop charging customers for things that were at one time were provided at no cost. I am also very much against the proposed “soda” tax San Francisco wants to start charging $0.02/oz for purchasing a sugary drink. Enough is enough.

You don't know me and don't know what's best for me. November 6, 2013 at 1:00 PM

1. Banning bags creates more problems than it solves:

2. 0.6% of litter is plastic bags, but 0% of litter is MY plastic bags. Bags don’t litter by themselves, people do it.

3. Plastic bags are 100% recyclable.

4. How about instead of banning bags, we focus on capturing and cleaning up all the litter? This way instead of removing 0.6% of litter we get the other 99.4% of litter that is not plastic bags?

5. If a ban was implemented, I would go to Sam’s Club and pick up 1000 plastic bags for $14 and bring those to the store. I would hope that someone says something just so I could rip them a new one.

6. Once again, “they” assume we are all as children, who can’t be trusted to make our own decisions about the right way or best way to live. We all can’t be trusted with bags because 1 in 1000 people might just throw them in the street. Therefore no one can have bags. Makes me sick to have to let such idiots make decisions about how I should live.

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