California nanny-staters are at it again. Sometime later this month, the Los Angeles City Council is expected to pass a ban on plastic carryout bags. Not surprisingly, San Francisco was the first U.S. city to impose a plastic bag ban and California accounts for almost two-thirds of the 74 plastic-related bans in the U.S.
The merits of the bans are, at best, questionable. Recent studies have shown that the unintended consequences of the bans often outweigh their benefits. For instance, an audit found that bag litter has accounted for a higher percentage of San Francisco’s litter in the years since the city banned plastic bags than it did in the years before. But that won’t stop Los Angeles from imposing a similar prohibition, just as it didn’t stop Watsonville from becoming the first city in California’s Santa Cruz County to ban single-use plastic bags. After all, it is about saving the planet.
In California, it is always about saving the planet. Or saving the children. Or saving the animals. Or saving ________. You get the picture.