The Instigator
luv4china
Pro (for)
Tied
3 Points
The Contender
quickrob
Con (against)
Tied
3 Points

should the district of columbia's government ban the use of plastic bags in retail establishments?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/24/2008 Category: Health
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,336 times Debate No: 2893
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (2)

 

luv4china

Pro

San Francisco has become the first city in North America to ban the use of traditional plastic grocery bags, a step that municipal leaders hope will spread across the country.
quickrob

Con

Banning the use of plastic bags is a form of compulsion which is not merited in this situation. I reject this idea for four reasons:
1) Compulsion requires new laws, and those laws must be backed with the threat of force. Simply put, these new laws will only be effective if the government (via the use of police or monetary fines) enforces the laws. Enforcing these laws will require taxpayer money to be spent to set up monitoring, education, enforcement, and remediation programs, all of which will be staffed by lazy, ineffective government employees. This will create new layers of government regulation and interference and will result in higher taxes for all of us in the long run. Since plastic bags are cheaper, the items going into the paper bag will therefore cost more for the store that sells them (the bags are considered "overhead"), and those costs will be passed on the the consumer (me and you). In addition, the costs that the government must pay to provide salaries and handle the mountain of resulting paperwork will also be passed on to the taxpayer since, after all, all government costs are ultimately the burden of the taxpayer and are paid for by removing money from the paychecks of working US citizens.
2) Government regulation is the opposite mechanism by which most meaningful change comes about. Developments in new technology and business practice evolve via the forces of the market. Supply and demand create vacuums to be filled by products that people desire. When a company sells a product that fills a need, the people will buy it. The financial incentive to provide solutions to consumers makes it profitable to develop better and better technologies and items. Government regulation, though, works on the opposite assumption: that punishment and added cost will bring about positive change.
Any parent will be happy to debate the value of positive vs. negative reinforcement, but that can't be answered here. What is true is the fact that "necessity is the mother of invention", as the old saying goes. Necessity, not compulsion, is the mother of invention. Other than adding new costs and new laws to the equation, a plastic bag ban will do very little in the way of nurturing creative solutions to the pollution problem. The opponents of the Iraq war who decried the notion of forcing democracy at gunpoint should likewise ponder the futility of enforcing environmentalism with the threat of fines and government reprisal.
3) Paper bags can have much more disastrous effects on our environment than plastic bags can, despite the commonly held conviction that plastic is somehow worse than paper. A site that breaks down this pretty well is here (http://www.angelfire.com...)
4) The cost of compliance to the new regulations might have the effect of making it more difficult to small business ("mom and pop" operations) to get themselves established because it further raises the overhead costs, costs which large business (like WalMart) can handle without breaking a sweat. An additional $100/week cost for paper bags instead of plastic might seem small, but if you are just getting started with your independent burrito stand, $100 is big money!

Those four reasons are just a few of the reasons that additional regulation is not needed, and would in fact probably do more harm than good. The real answer, I think, is to encourage alternatives rather than punish plastic bag users and stores which use them. An educated public will ultimately be able to make the right decision. The tragic unintended consequences of government regulation are too many to even list, so it is always safer to err on the side of caution and opt for a non-compulsory solutions first.
Debate Round No. 1
luv4china

Pro

we do not need plastic bags as they only hurt the enviorment. why do we need so many bags when we aren't going to do anything but throw them away which was harmful to our earth and the things on it which is starting to die. we complain about the problems when we are apart of the problem. you could have put the plastic bag into a recycling bin but instead chose to throw it outside.i don't want all plastic bags to be baned,just the non recyleable ones like in san francisco where the law prohibits large grocery stores and drugstores from using non recyclable and non-biodegradeable plastic bags made from petroleum products.
quickrob

Con

I am convinced that you did not read or understand my argument, as you did not address any of the things I said. Do you have anything to say which is backed up by facts or figures?

I already refuted you response before you even made a response. Please respond again, this time with thoughtfulness and factualness.
Debate Round No. 2
luv4china

Pro

luv4china forfeited this round.
quickrob

Con

quickrob forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by RTN1994 4 years ago
RTN1994
I prefer paper anyways. Environmentalism is just to make people feel good, that's all. I am not going to put any energy into such a simpleton argument! People should be able to use any bags they want.
Posted by msjohnson1996 8 years ago
msjohnson1996
luv4china did good yall hatin
Posted by Aewl1963 9 years ago
Aewl1963
Ahhh yes, nutty San Fran... let's take away choice San Fran.
Posted by FunkeeMonk91 9 years ago
FunkeeMonk91
You haven't taken a stance on the issue. All you did was state a fact without saying whether you agreed or not.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by bexy_kelly 8 years ago
bexy_kelly
luv4chinaquickrobTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by msjohnson1996 8 years ago
msjohnson1996
luv4chinaquickrobTied
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Total points awarded:30