Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Locals say nix the plastic, carry cloth


Clerk Lars Cederquist helps shopper Sunny Shine bag her groceries in reusable cloth bags at the Davis Food Co-op. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise Photo

February 26, 2011 |

Paper or plastic? When it comes down to it, a group of Davis locals hope those options will soon be a thing of the past, as more and more people make a habit of using cloth bags.

To start, however, the city’s Natural Resources Commission on Monday will consider a city ordinance banning the distribution of single-use plastic bags for shopping. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Chambers, City Hall, 23 Russell Blvd.

Markets and retailers would no longer stock plastic bags beginning Jan. 1, 2012, under the ordinance, which needs City Council approval to go into effect. They would be required to offer free or for-sale reusable bags, or charge customers 25 cents a pop for paper bags.

There are exceptions to the rule. Restaurants are exempt, paper bag fees would be waived for those who cannot afford to buy cloth bags, and plastic bags may still be used for purposes other than bagging groceries and retail goods.

The Davis Enterprise, for example, would be able to bag newspapers on rainy days as usual, said Michael Siminitus, who helped draft the ordinance.

Siminitus is a member of the Natural Resources Commission’s Zero-Waste Committee, which

identified the elimination of plastic bags as one of its five goals for 2011.

He said the idea is to “empower” people to bring their own reusable totes for packing up their goods when they shop.

It’s good for the environment and it’s good for business, too, he said.

Disposable bags are part of a business’ expenses and the consumers pay for it in the price of goods, said Elaine Fingerett, one of the organizers of the plastic bag ban campaign.

By eliminating that cost, businesses could make higher profits, lower their prices and even find creative ways to brand themselves in the design of their reusable totes, Fingerett said.

Fingerett has been using cloth bags for the past decade or so to do her part in reducing the environmental impact of plastic bags. As the second most common piece of litter in the ocean (the first is cigarette butts), plastic bags are responsible for the deaths of marine animals and birds who eat them or get entangled in them.

There are huge, documented masses of trash in the ocean made up primarily of plastic shopping bags, she said.

“Plastic breaks down into little pieces of plastic; it doesn’t degrade,” she said, and it is a huge problem with a simple solution. “It takes a consciousness of the problem and a willingness to take a small step to change our own behavior.”

Eric Stromberg, general manager of the Davis Food Co-op, said his store has never offered plastic bags as an option. Most customers bring their own bags and paper bags are available, he said.

On average, customers use 650 paper bags a day — equivalent to a tree a day, he said.

Independent of the plastic bag ban effort, the Co-op will begin charging 5 cents for each paper bag starting on Earth Day, April 22, he said. The goal is reduce waste by following Oregon’s Ashland Food Co-op’s example of charging for paper bags, which led to an 85 percent decline in that store’s distribution of paper bags, he said.

Many small businesses downtown also have already eliminated plastic bags from their stores.

Barbara Silver, co-owner of Sweet Potato Pie, a consignment store for children’s clothes, said she likes the idea of getting rid of paper bags, too, although she is uncomfortable with charging customers for them.

Speaking as a consumer, however, Silver said, getting rung up for 25 cents a bag “would certainly encourage me to bring my own bags to do grocery shopping.”

Davis Downtown Business Association co-president Michael Bisch said he personally favors reducing, if not banning, plastic bag use. While Bisch said he has not researched the topic nor can he speak on behalf of the DDBA, his “gut response” is the ordinance would be positive for the community.

“Sustainability is something that I believe very strongly about in all aspects and I just don’t see how it’s sustainable to continue to pollute the environment with plastic bags, especially when there’s readily available alternatives,” Bisch said.

Fingerett agrees that the reasons to ditch plastic bags stack up powerfully.

She encourages supporters to write letters to The Davis Enterprise and City Council, speak during public comment at city meetings, talk about it with friends and family, use cloth bags when shopping and give them as gifts, and join the Facebook group, “Ban the Plastic Bag —Davis.”

She also recommends a visit to UC Davis’ Walker Hall, across from the Shields Library, to see “Bags Across the Globe,” an exhibit by UCD Associate Professor of Design Ann Savageau. The exhibit, which ends March 11, includes a tornado installation made of more than 1,000 plastic bags, the estimated number used by Californians each year.

Fingerett said she hopes ground-up efforts to ban plastic bags in cities eventually will lead to a statewide ban.

San Francisco was the first California city to ban plastic bags in March 2007, followed by Manhattan Beach, Malibu, Oakland, Fairfax, Palo Alto, San Jose, Calabasas and Santa Monica. Los Angeles County also passed a ban in 2010 and Marin County in 2011.

— Reach Crystal Lee at [email protected] or (530) 747-8057. Comment on this story at www.davisenterprisecom



  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    County supervisors receive positive report on Laura’s Law

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

    Fix it yourself, with a little help, at Bike Forth

    By Bob Schultz | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    New chemistry building in the works at UCD

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1

    Bob Dunning: Squeezed by the math on conservation

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Big Day of Giving surpasses $5 million goal

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    California regulators approve unprecedented water cutbacks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Kids get a peek at the great outdoors

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    BeerFest expands to include cider

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Heidrick Ag History Center rebranded as California Agriculture Museum

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    May 11 talk focuses on clean water

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    ‘From Age-ing to Sage-ing’ guides library group

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Crossing lines, on ‘Davisville’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    ’12 Angry Men’ will screen Friday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Pet Food Express organizes Save a Kitten fundraiser

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Round up at the registers for Davis schools

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6Comments are off for this post

    Retirees to hear about Woodland’s shade tree campaign

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    Origami lovers will meet at library

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    Breast cancer treatment update offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    Earth-centered author comes to Avid Reader

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    MIND Institute lecture will focus on prenatal exposure to insecticide

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Pence Gallery: We’re overflowing with gratitude

    By Natalie Nelson | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Health care documentary will screen at meeting

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Who is Ralph Hexter? Chancellor’s No. 2 fills us in

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A10 | Gallery



    Injection wells endanger our aquifers

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    New book flows with good news about water

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4 | Gallery

    Living with this for 30 years

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5



    Aggies go flat in 7-1 Sacramento State win at Raley

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devils crush Edison to earn McClatchy rematch

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Blue Devils grind out a victory over Oak Ridge

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Davis boys dominate first playoff match

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Alliance/Legacy roundup: Local squads fare well over the weekend

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    AYSO roundup: Davis teams capture Fog Classic crowns

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Pro baseball roundup: Giants blank Pads, win fifth straight

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10





    Sac Ballet presents Modern Masters on May 8-9

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7

    High school artists exhibited at Pence Gallery

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    See Christian Quintin’s paintings at Hattie Weber Museum

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble returns

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    Davis Youth Flute Choir tunes up for China tour

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8







    Comics: Wednesday, May 6, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B5