“Darn it, I Forgot My Bags!”
By Nicole Ransick
In November 2016 California voted on Proposition 67, to ban the utilization of single-use plastic bags; and it passed.
A few days later in many stores, shoppers no longer had the luxury of having a free bag to carry their groceries.
I have worked at a chain grocery store in Bakersfield for about two years now, and I have experienced how the ban has affected people.
“Darn it, I forgot my bags in the car,” is a common statement I hear every day at work. Each plastic bag at stores costs 10 cents. Some people would rather pay this fee to have the convenience of carrying one bag versus all of their items separately while others say something similar to ” just throw it in the cart, I already have bags.”
“I wheel the groceries out to my car in the shopping cart,” said Kent Miller of Taft. “I have plastic bags in the trunk of the car but I keep forgetting to take them into the store.”
Whether or not a customer voted “yes” or “no” to ban plastic bags does not matter to me. When I have gone shopping, I have been both the customer who would rather carry their stuff without paying for a bag and the customer who paid for a bag.
Parts of the Central Coast had previously banned plastic bag usage prior to the November election.
Individuals in favor of Proposition 67 argue that the ban will help protect the environment by producing less plastic waste. However, this will only work if Californians participate in reusing their plastic bags, which is the intention of the proposition.
If we reuse plastic bags, then the purpose of the ban will be successful. If we do not, we are only fueling the profit of grocery stores as those in opposition to the ban argue.
Although grocery stores will profit from selling plastic bags, the ban could also benefit the environment by reducing our waste if we effectively reuse bags. This would reduce litter produced and save wildlife who have been negatively affected by either eating or getting caught in plastic bags.