California lawmakers rejected a bill to ban all plastic shopping bags, a decision that has been hailed by regional industry spokespeople.
A majority of legislators opposed the bill, stating that plastic bags are not a major source of pollution and the bill would have added an extra financial burden on consumers and businesses already facing tough times.
Mr. Keith Christman of the American Chemistry Council said, "More than 500 organizations and companies were against the ban. Groups were concerned about the cost the ban on plastic bags would put on working families, specifically $1 billion per year to buy paper bags Nationwide since 2005."
It is important to mention that the state of California is the strictest of all 50 states when it comes to environmental regulations, to the point where the state of California has six Boards, Departments and Offices that make-up the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA). Cal/EPA has legislative authority to protect public health and safety, to restore and enhance our environment thus ensuring that California enjoys a clean, safe and healthy environment.
Closer to home this news has been hailed as greatly significant by the Dubai-based Gulf Petrochemicals & Chemicals Association (GPCA).
According to Dr. Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, secretary general, GPCA, "This position supports and reiterates the argument made repeatedly by the GPCA, in response to a regional and local campaign targeting the ban of plastic bags. In fact this very subject was extensively debated at the recent GPCA Plastic Summit held in Dubai and attended by top Plastics producers and environmental officials from all over the world."
The summit highlighted the fact that recycling plastic bags is economically more viable and environmentally-friendlier than using paper bags, taking into consideration the number of trees that are chopped down to make the paper bags, adding to the burning desertification issue.
"The anti-plastic bag issue is continually taken up by regional newspapers and websites without original citations and sadly many people have now come to assume that these are facts. The fact is that plastic bags take up only 1/7 the space in landfills, and consume less renewable and non-renewable resources during their life cycle. The fact is plastic grocery bags are an extremely resource-efficient disposable bag choice. Plastic grocery bags require 70% less energy to manufacture than paper bags, and produce half the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the process. We strongly believe that plastic bags should be re-used in the Gulf region as much as possible and should be turned into energy after their useful life and not be left in the environment. he added.
According to a study by Moore Recycling Associates Inc, the recycling of plastic bags and plastic wraps in the United States has grown by 28 percent over the past 5 years. It is also estimated that the plastic bag manufacturing and recycling industries directly employ between 8,000 and 15,000 people in the United States, and this figure is expected to grow rapidly in the near future, adding to the pro-plastic bag argument.