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Fast Company reports on the proposal in California proposal that would have shoppers paying five cents for single-use bags. The receptivity of the state’s population to such a law, Fast Company suggests, may be seen in how Walmart has been doing in its own bag test.

As the story notes, “This past October, Walmart launched an experiment: three stores in Sacramento and Ukiah stopped selling single-use bags. Instead, the Walmart stores started offering small, lightweight polypropylene bags for 15 cents along with larger bags for 50 cents. The bags aren't all that durable, but Walmart claims that each reusable bag offsets the use of 75 plastic bags--not bad for the price.”

And, the magazine writes, “Consider this: the average California resident goes through 600 plastic bags each year. That's a whole lot of plastic that could potentially be kept from littering both the streets and the ocean.”
KC's View:
Fast Company suggests that the reality is that if California were to adopt a similar approach to single-use bags, there would be extreme reactions from both sides of the issue. For me, it is all about salesmanship.

I’ve not been in the Walmart stores involved in the test, but I’d guess that they’re selling the idea - not just the bags - pretty hard. In the end, this is a battle of ideas, not just bags. The shame is that it all becomes partisan and political, and we seem to avoid a comprehensive and strategic approach to such issues. It’d be nice if we could just cut down on the trash - through aggressive recycling, through the availability of multi-use bags, and through educations (as opposed to legislation) that sells the notion of why this is important.

Of course, this assumes that most people would agree that a strategic and intelligent approach to such issues is both important and necessary,. There may be some that don’t. But the vitriol with which some on both sides approach the issue - and each other - makes it difficult to get anything done.