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Monday, April 29, 2019

California Lawmakers Take Aim at Single-Use Shampoo Bottles—Amid Poo Epidemic

This bill deserves all the ridicule it will get.

Image Credit: 663highland from Wikipedia commons [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)]

Many hotels provide small plastic bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. These offer convenience to travelers but Ash Kalra, San Jose Democrat, wants to take the bottles away. Kalra’s Assembly Bill 1162 “will take meaningful action to curb single-use plastic consumption in the lodging industry and increase consumer awareness.”

Virtue Signaling

What some consumers are calling “Pure virtue signaling!” recalls the measure to ban plastic straws. As William Shugart and Camille Harmer noted, banning plastic straws could make pollution even worse. If the ban on tiny shampoo does not do likewise, it will likely provide little if any benefit for the environment. And it will certainly do nothing for personal hygiene.

Of course, the measure allows state and local agencies to issue citations and impose fines, so government fundraising is also in the mix.

On that theme, the streets of San Francisco now boast record levels of excrement, which drives away tourists, deters business, and poses serious problems for public health. Yet, legislators prefer to target shampoo bottles in hotels. This provides a lesson for consumers, but not in the way assemblyman Kalra contends.

Assemblyman Kalra wants government to take away a convenience the people want, without giving anything in return and providing little if any benefit for the larger populace. And of course, his measure allows state and local agencies to issue citations and impose fines, so government fundraising is also in the mix. AB 1162 deserves all the ridicule it gets.

This article is republished with permission from the Independent Institute.