The city of San Mateo has survived the great plastic bag ban of 2013. Months in progress, the ban had a sliding start date — first it was Earth Day, then there were rumors it would be later in the summer. But the solid drop-dead date for those plastic bags arrived June 6, 2013. RIP plastic bags.
And today, the day after, all is still well in the city of San Mateo, which came late to the party after nearly all the other cities in the county adopted the ban on April 22. Redwood City, East Palo Alto and San Carlos still have theirs on the horizon in October for the first two and July for the City of Good Living.
What will life be like in San Mateo without all those plastic bags? For my friend, we shall call him Pierre, it will be a terrible place. You see, Pierre hates the plastic bag ban, and the wood-burning bans in the winter and the carpool lanes for Priuses, government tax credits for electric cars and everything else related to government regulations for the environment. Pierre, in his penny-pinching way he has perfected, uses plastic bags for a variety of uses around his house and can’t foresee how he will get along without them. For the past few months, Pierre has not-so-quietly hoarded plastic bags (much to his wife’s consternation) in the back porch area of his home. What started as a stuffed cabinet has led to a few full bags piling up about the recycling bins. You never know when you might need them, he claims as he scratches his well-trimmed beard, and he wants to have as many as possible when the apocalypse arrives. You may need them for garbage, for produce, for carrying your survival gear, for poop.
And so Pierre has his collection of bags at the ready. He even has a smaller stash in the extended cab area of his well-maintained but never waxed two-tone brown 1987 Ford F-150. And no, he doesn’t have a gun rack, so don’t ask. But he keeps his bags with his other supplies because Pierre says you never know when you’ll have to just go.
And he will be ready. In his 26-year-old Ford, which he contends is good for the environment since he has saved it from the junk yard. Besides, he says he only uses it for quick trips around town and fills it up about once a month. So that’s 19 gallons a month, better than most others, he says. But he still regrets not buying the truck with dual tanks so he would only have to go the gas station every other month. Can’t stand the lines.
Pierre has no tolerance for talk about global warming, climate change or this, that and the other. You know the type. He remembers when there was talk of global cooling in the early 1970s and thinks Al Gore conjured up the idea of global warming to sell movie tickets and create business for his confreres. He understands the concept of greenhouse gases and thinks we should all probably just drive less, use less and recycle more. Really. He says recycling makes sense because he doesn’t have to pay for as big of a garbage can. But he thinks people who buy new cars all the time — especially ones that still run on electricity largely produced by burning coal or use lithium batteries that require strip mining (or something like that) — are holier-than-thou jerks who just seem to feel it’s OK to cut you off in traffic all time. He calls ‘em Pious drivers.
It’s hard to argue with him because, well, it’s just hard to argue with him. But do I dare say he has some good points? No way!
Jon Mays is the editor in chief of the Daily Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Jon on Twitter @jonmays.