Bad Man Wants to Ban Bag Bans

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/albinoflea/381232292/in/photolist-9D3M7z-9heeMw-7JLrzT-31ogP-EPeCv-aomUMi-4wSqXp-4uUe5J-a89854-77s6JN-a1tHG-kdY5J6-E1B66-fg4kii-b1Rfz-55xezB-97JEUc-8RnSYQ-6g4Eat-7RG64F-85bm2v-8j4r8t-4zEP4N-4w6ANB-8M4aXF-52wGRo-2PDEm-4BQjXh-7wQP9e-oVp4it-MjnDU-8qkTPY-cSYs2d-cSYrDJ-cSYrX3-aMH2A-bqpCJN-bDeQ9Z-6HqfT-67rYt8-zFV5y-47wW16-47wYv6-47wZuF-47B5fh-47wYQk-47wZXx-47B51m-47B4CG-47wYB6"> Steve Fernie</a>/Flickr

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Columbia, Mo., is considering a ban on plastic shopping bags. This is good. Plastic bags are wasteful and bad for the environment and generally terrible. They create tons of nasty litter on city streets and can block up recycling facilities. So there’s really no reason why grocery stores and other retail outlets should hand out trillions of them for free. Tons of local, regional, and national governments around the world have already figured this out, and implemented bans.

But Missouri state Representative Dan Shaul, a Republican from the suburbs of St. Louis, disagrees. That’s why he wants to ban bag bans, with a bill going before committee in the state’s legislature this week.

From the St. Louis Riverfront Times:

Shaul, a sixteen-year member of the Missouri Grocers Association, is trying to stop bag bans outright. He says he doesn’t want to burden shoppers with an additional fee at the grocery store.

“If they choose to tax the bag, it’s going to hurt the people who need that the most: the consumer,” especially the poor, Shaul says. “My goal when I go to the grocery store with a $100 bill is to get $100 worth of groceries.”

But a ten-cents-per-bag fee for forgetting your reusable bag? “That adds up pretty quick.”

Here’s the thing, though: Ban bags are actually really good for local economies, because they reduce costs for retailers and cleanup costs for governments. California, which became the first US state to ban bags last fall, previously spent $25 million per year picking them up and landfilling them.

So instead of bag ban bans, a better bill would be a ban on bag ban bans.

More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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