In Corvallis, the Sierra Club is trying to push through a ban on plastic bags combined with a fee on paper bags to “encourage use of reusable bags.” It makes a certain sort of sense on the outside. We all love the environment and want to live in a clean city. But we also want an equitable community and the only way to create an equitable community is to carefully consider the implications of our policies on every part of that community.
This means that as much as a bag ban might make environmentalists and street cleanup crews happy and as much as it might make business owners and many consumers unhappy, it could also have very tangible effects on the people in our community who live in poverty. In all of the hullaboo around this controversial policy recommendation, this is the one population that hasn’t even been mentioned.