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How Will California’s Plastic Bag Ban Affect Your Product?
By: Cindy Wendland
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At the grocery store, there are people that bring in their own bags — conscious consumers. There are people that use the plastic bags the store offers — most consumers. There are people that ask for paper in plastic — high-maintenance consumers. California is proposing a law banning single-use plastic bags by 2015 that would change shopping habits for a lot of consumers.

Just to be clear, we fall into the high-maintenance category, yet we do have the reusable bags at home and are ashamed we don’t take them to the store. Mental note: must take bags grocery shopping. Most people are complex, as are we. Even though we use a lot of plastic, we are also litter picker-uppers and have been involved in the Adopt-a-Highway program for years. We see and pick up a lot of trash. In our state of Wisconsin, the plastic bags are not as big of an issue as soda cans, plastic bottles, and cigarette butts. In California, plastic bags must be a bigger issue. We believe that any legislation reducing litter is a good thing, especially the kind of litter that can harm animals or takes years to decompose.

In the 1960s, high-density polyethylene was introduced and plastic bottles began to replace glass bottles. This seemed like a good thing at the time. The manufacturing of plastic bags was perfected in the 1980s, and grocery store chains began switching from paper to plastic. It seems like baggers at the grocery store use more bags when bagging with plastic. Using a bag that has some shape — paper or reusable bags — allows for fewer bags to be used.

Trade associations representing plastic are up in arms about this proposed action. As consumers, it is time to accept a slight inconvenience and use an option better for the environment. California has a high population of people, so issues affect them earlier than other states, but they are also more environmentally conscious. Whereas plastic seemed like the greatest option 30 years ago, we now have to recognize the impact it has had and change our ways. We will take our reusable bags to the grocery store. What will you do as a consumer and what will you do as a product manufacturer to reduce your environmental impact?

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About the Author
Cindy Wendland has a background in marketing and finance. She is the creative director for an online men's health magazine, BrainBrawnBody.com, and she gets to write their leisure/travel blog. She is also a web designer helping her clients with online community engagement, websitesbywendland.com. Prior to her web years, she worked in pharmacy consulting.
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