Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Plastic Bags in Philly to go the way of trans fats; city’s awesome factor to reach unprecedented levels

fuck plastic bagsCity Council… we gotta say it… just when we thought you couldn’t possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this… and totally redeem yourself!

Because, let’s face it, plastic bags are god-awful.

We’ve talked about this previously (and we’d like to think we had some influence on the Dicicco brain trust, but lets not get carried away…), and we are even more sure of the rationale of a plastic bag ban now than we were before.

The idea, as with any ban, is that a simple tax on the banned object is not enough to obtain the desired change in public behavior. And that’s what this comes down — changing public behavior for the better.

San Fran has led the way, and we should definitely be following their lead.
Paper or plastic? It is a question that has long dogged grocery shoppers. But the debate may soon be settled for [Anapolis], where a bill aimed at protecting marine life would ban plastic bags from all retail stores.

San Francisco enacted a ban in April, but it applies just to larger groceries and drugstores. Similar measures are being considered in Boston; Baltimore; Oakland, Calif.; Portland, Ore.; Santa Monica, Calif.; and Steamboat Springs, Colo.
Add Philadelphia to that list.

But what’s even more awesome about this ban is that it gives Philadelphia a great opportunity to get a head start on the about-to-begin, radly progressive, uber-industrious Nutter era, in which Philadelphia makes the leap from the international perception of “whatever” to one of “holy shit, Philadelphia is the new San Francisco, a totally legit and authentic city, with all the best traits of Chicago, New York, Paris et al.” We kid you not.

We are feeling really, really good about Philadelphia these days. Tom Ferrick’s column this week was dead on. Philadelphia is at a crossroads and just needs a few good men (and women) to lead us to the promised land.

Baby steps have already been made (read PhillyCarShare, the in-the-works PhillyBikeShare, RecycleBank — which we hope to god Nutter contracts to serve the entire city and replace the Streets Department operation, Food Trust, Green Plan Philadelphia, PlanPhilly, etc.), which is good, but now it is definitely time to raise the stakes and go all out.

We’re talking about making it illegal for delivery trucks to let their engines idle in Center City (a completely archaic practice that needlessly ruins air quality locally not to mention environmental warming globally); blanket Center City and the burgeoning neighborhoods surrounding it with recycling bins next to every trash can; convert the city’s entire fleet of taxis to hybrids; devote unprecedented funds to greening public spaces and streets (e.g. as part of Mayor Bloomberg’s amazing PLANYC, New York plans to plant a tree in "every single place where it is possible to plant a street tree" by 2017, totaling more than 1 million trees); revive the potentially unbelievable reading viaduct dream; completely overhaul SEPTA, getting it the expanded dedicated funding it needs and converting its entire fleet of buses to hybrids; … and everything else on the Next Great City’s acutely intelligent 10-Action Plan.

we heart reusable bagsSo yea, plastic bags… they suck. We don’t need them. Philadelphia already kicks ass in regards to one BYOB trend (what up Melograno, Zento, Clementine’s — we fucking love you all); let’s rock out another: Bring Your Own Bag.

(Reusable bags are so fucking hip, they’re infinitely cool almost in spite of themselves.)

Because Philadelphians are that smart. Because Philadelphians do care that much. And because Philadelphians are finally prepared to expect the absolute best from their city and to do whatever it takes to ensure its leaders deliver exactly that.


(Meanwhile, who knew Frank Dicicco was such a detractor of Kevin Spacey films / American Beauty?

Frank, we hear ya.)

Dump the Plastic [Philadelphia Daily News]
Greening Up By Cutting Down on Plastic Bags [New York Times]
Pressure Builds to Ban Plastic Bags in Stores [New York Times]
Move Philly Forward Via Optimism [Philadelphia Inquirer]
US Retailers push reusable bags to save money and the environment [International Herald Tribune]
PLANYC 2030 [Official Site]


Anonymous said...

As someone who has to pick up dog shit several times a day, I'm grateful for the plastic bags at retail stores, as are other dog owners and sanitation workers, I'm sure. If the ban goes through, I'd watch my step if I were you. Just sayin'.

admin said...

Nice post. We recently made the jump from Philly to the burbs (nothing personal), and it's funny how many quizzical looks I get when I throw down my cloth bags on the conveyor belt at the grocery store. They're pretty standard in the city, since alot of shoppers have to haul lots of groceries home, but up here, people are content with the one tube of toothpaste per plastic bag option, since everything just gets thrown in the back of their SUVs. One poor cashier was at a loss as to how to pack items in a cloth bag. When I offered to help bag the items, I think I sort of blew her mind.

Nice to see Philly becoming increasingly progressive. Maybe one of these days it will trickle down to the burbs.

ills said...

Don't worry about dog poop — the city will provide BioBags in little distributing boxes at all local parks so your fido’s excrement is not mummified for all eternity but instead composted in a few days. Negligible cost to be covered by some new tax — nbd.

Anonymous said...

My Fido doesn't always hold it until he gets to the park. Thanks, ills, for the BioBags link! I'll order some of those enviro-friendly bags right now.