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Opinion: How Big a Problem are Plastic Bags for Monrovia?

The Monrovia City Council will again consider a ban on plastic carry-out grocery bags this evening (7:30 p.m. if you want to show up and have your say), so I thought I'd make the following point.

One of the core unaddressed questions in the entire plastic bag ban discussion is this:

What percentage of Monrovia's trash volume is made up of plastic grocery store carry-out bags?

I have not seen the answer to this question, and if the city cannot show that plastic grocery store carry-out bags comprise a significant percentage of its trash volume, then a ban is an utterly unwarranted governmental intrusion into the itty-bitty details of people's lives.

- Brad Haugaard


  1. From what I understand, plastic bags are not so much a trash landfill problem as they are environmental issue. They don't decompose well and they are a danger to wild life. For example, in the water they look like jellyfish so turtles will eat them. Not good. I am weighing in the balance convenience verses environmental stweardship.

    1. Would you then be satisfied if you could be assured that Monrovia has adequate filters for storm drain water to prevent any stray plastic bags from being washed out to sea?

    2. If you can also assure us that every city between Monrovia and the landfill Athens uses also have adequate systems, and the landfill has an adequate system, and every city within wind-blown distance of the route between Monrovia and the landfill also have adequate systems, then, maybe.

      However, what about the washes? As far as I can tell the Sawpit and Santa Anita washes drain into the reservoir at peck road uncontrolled. That reservoir drains via the Rio Hondo wash, which connects directly to the LA river, which drains in Long Beach Harbor, otherwise known as the ocean.

      We can spend millions attempting to mitigate the problem, or just eliminate it altogether.

      This is not a simple local issue.

  2. They should have never been invented in the first place. They were a bad idea. Can we just bring our bags into the store, and move on to discuss truly important things? I don't think the problem would have been made an issue just for the heck of it. Nobody's "getting off" on "telling you what to do." It's science and nature and us sloppy humans needing to account for ourselves and our waste. Please: Just bring your bags into the store. I assure you - you will not only survive, but you will potentially have a better place to live (our earth) and to leave our children. Thank you!

  3. Elizabeth, you might be right in certain things, but I also resent the government telling me how to live my life. I reuse those bags in my trash cans around the house. They are good to pick up dog poop and to dispose of the cat's poop and litter box waste. They can also be recycled at the Home Depot.