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(Minneapolis Star Tribune)   No foam for you. Minneapolis considers banning foam take out containers. Large Cokes, politically incorrect people and Bloomberg terminal next on agenda   (startribune.com) divider line 103
    More: Misc, Minneapolis, polystyrene, Johnson, berg Terminal, Indian restaurant, speed limits  
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1051 clicks; posted to Main » on 13 May 2014 at 1:25 PM (20 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-05-13 02:42:20 PM

AugieDoggyDaddy: The problem with polystyrene isn't so much that it isn't recyclable and doesn't biodegrade in the land fill.  A card board pizza box isn't very recyclable and take  years to boidegrade in a land fill.  The problem happens when it doesn't end up in the land fill.


Huh?  Pizza boxes are VERY recyclable, and biodegrade readily.  And if wildlife eats them, they don't die from gastrointestinal obstruction.  And when they break down in furnaces, they don't drop terrible stuff into the environment. Landfill or not, polystyrene should be pretty limited in its use, and should be heavily recycled.
 
2014-05-13 02:48:54 PM

Rapmaster2000: These kinds of things make me wonder what the outcry was like when leaded gas was phased out.


Costs too much for a business to pull it out, the danger is over-hyped, industry and jobs will suffer.  The typical bought-and-paid-for load.
 
2014-05-13 02:51:42 PM

mongbiohazard: Which are great and all... but not sufficient because you can never be everywhere watching to see if anyone litters anywhere, ever. You really think we're going to catch the schmuck tossing his empty container in the plastic bag out the window of his car at 12:45 am on some highway?


Yes, more so than you can by outlawing one thing.

mongbiohazard: And even if we could be I don't want to live in that kind of country where we're always under surveillance just to keep us from rhetorically shiatting all over our own neighborhoods and waterway


Okay, I'm going to try this out.

Offer a base $1000 reward for clear photographic evidence of some nitwit polluting leading to a conviction. It might be more if it's a serious case of dumping (for example). You can only claim the reward once or twice a year (attempt to stop fakers). If you're caught faking to get a reward, you get a massive fine and real jail time.

Someone convicted of the crime pays at least $2k + work community service in the form of litter pickup for a year.
 
2014-05-13 03:00:18 PM
Maybe I've been told wrong,  but food contaminated cardboard is not very recyclable and doesn't bidegrade in a tightly compacted land fill.  But my not very clear point is more about polystyrene in the litter stream, not about recycling.  Plastic is the nastiest litter because it doesn't go away. Until it ends up in the Pacific Gyre.
I do get plastic bags when grocery shoping.  But those bags go to the land fill full of dog poop.  Re-use.
 
2014-05-13 03:03:54 PM

Khellendros: AugieDoggyDaddy: The problem with polystyrene isn't so much that it isn't recyclable and doesn't biodegrade in the land fill.  A card board pizza box isn't very recyclable and take  years to boidegrade in a land fill.  The problem happens when it doesn't end up in the land fill.

Huh?  Pizza boxes are VERY recyclable, and biodegrade readily.  And if wildlife eats them, they don't die from gastrointestinal obstruction.  And when they break down in furnaces, they don't drop terrible stuff into the environment. Landfill or not, polystyrene should be pretty limited in its use, and should be heavily recycled.


Opps.  Above.
 
2014-05-13 03:08:27 PM

Destructor: Offer a base $1000 reward for clear photographic evidence of some nitwit polluting leading to a conviction. It might be more if it's a serious case of dumping (for example). You can only claim the reward once or twice a year (attempt to stop fakers). If you're caught faking to get a reward, you get a massive fine and real jail time.

Someone convicted of the crime pays at least $2k + work community service in the form of litter pickup for a year


each winter hobo teams could trade off who litters and who takes the pictures then the convicted gets a place to sleep and the photog can rent a hovel for the winter months.
 
2014-05-13 03:09:27 PM

AugieDoggyDaddy: Khellendros: AugieDoggyDaddy: The problem with polystyrene isn't so much that it isn't recyclable and doesn't biodegrade in the land fill.  A card board pizza box isn't very recyclable and take  years to boidegrade in a land fill.  The problem happens when it doesn't end up in the land fill.

Huh?  Pizza boxes are VERY recyclable, and biodegrade readily.  And if wildlife eats them, they don't die from gastrointestinal obstruction.  And when they break down in furnaces, they don't drop terrible stuff into the environment. Landfill or not, polystyrene should be pretty limited in its use, and should be heavily recycled.

Opps.  Above.


I saw a horse eat a pizza box. Very amusing.
 
2014-05-13 03:14:15 PM

Headso: each winter hobo teams could trade off who litters and who takes the pictures then the convicted gets a place to sleep and the photog can rent a hovel for the winter months.


This is exactly the sort of thing that you need to worry about. So, is there a way to write a law so that this sort of thing doesn't happen? I took a stab at it by limiting how often you can win.

Maybe if you can't pay the fine, you do triple the time? (has a sort of ring to it...)
 
2014-05-13 03:20:11 PM

mongbiohazard: jjorsett: ZAZ: In my area they're going after plastic bags because that's the progressive thing to do. The supermarkets already recycle bags (Shaws) or use paper (Trader Joe's). Little stores would be exempt. Sometimes even a part time legislative body has too much time on its hands.

Remember when plastic bags were the answer because they saved trees? Why DOES TRADER JOE'S HATE TREES?


No, but then again I'm only 40.

And if we did try and save trees with the us of plastic was it old growth trees? The kind that can't really be replaced? Are you saying it was a wise strategy?

Trees in general are a renewable resource if you're smart about them. Planting relatively fast growing trees and then making a circuit around various areas you have planted before as the trees mature. Keep cutting down the oldest trees you planted and re-planting as you go. That's a sustainable practice. Cutting down redwoods to make popsicle sticks or clothes hangars or something is NOT.

So maybe you're talking about some ill-conceived campaign. OK.... it was ill conceived. Nothing wrong with trying to replace disposable plastic bags with something that won't be our civilization taking a massive shiat all over our biosphere like a bunch of dickheads. There's a patch of plastic garbage in the middle of the Pacific Ocean the size of farking Texas for Christ's sake...


I remember the paper vs plastic wars. Nobody on the plastic side ever said what kind of trees were being killed, just words to the effect that "paper is murder". Now plastic is the killer (of choking wildlife, of our littered streets, etc.), but the answer isn't paper, it's reusable bags. Pick something people like, and I'll find somebody who has a problem with it, and a way to fix the situation so that they can't have it, however much of an inconvenience it might be for them. For The Children , of course.
 
2014-05-13 03:20:49 PM

Bob Robert: You people are so crazy you will support trashing the environment only because libs support it. You all have major mental issues


And when will "you guys" (sorry, painting with an overly sized brush, for comedy) learn that sometimes you can do more harm than good by passing goof-ball, feel-good laws?
 
2014-05-13 03:56:01 PM

jjorsett: mongbiohazard: jjorsett: ZAZ: In my area they're going after plastic bags because that's the progressive thing to do. The supermarkets already recycle bags (Shaws) or use paper (Trader Joe's). Little stores would be exempt. Sometimes even a part time legislative body has too much time on its hands.

Remember when plastic bags were the answer because they saved trees? Why DOES TRADER JOE'S HATE TREES?


No, but then again I'm only 40.

And if we did try and save trees with the us of plastic was it old growth trees? The kind that can't really be replaced? Are you saying it was a wise strategy?

Trees in general are a renewable resource if you're smart about them. Planting relatively fast growing trees and then making a circuit around various areas you have planted before as the trees mature. Keep cutting down the oldest trees you planted and re-planting as you go. That's a sustainable practice. Cutting down redwoods to make popsicle sticks or clothes hangars or something is NOT.

So maybe you're talking about some ill-conceived campaign. OK.... it was ill conceived. Nothing wrong with trying to replace disposable plastic bags with something that won't be our civilization taking a massive shiat all over our biosphere like a bunch of dickheads. There's a patch of plastic garbage in the middle of the Pacific Ocean the size of farking Texas for Christ's sake...

I remember the paper vs plastic wars. Nobody on the plastic side ever said what kind of trees were being killed, just words to the effect that "paper is murder". Now plastic is the killer (of choking wildlife, of our littered streets, etc.), but the answer isn't paper, it's reusable bags. Pick something people like, and I'll find somebody who has a problem with it, and a way to fix the situation so that they can't have it, however much of an inconvenience it might be for them. For The Children™ , of course.


Oh noes! Someone in the past was wrong about something which means even though we've learned more since then I can pretend anyone is wrong about anything I like "because reasons".

Hey, you want to be on the side of "Team Dickhead" and keep making excuses for us to not make modest changes to how we do things at minimal cost and in this case cost savings, then that's your right. Just don't expect most of the rest of us not to know you're on Team Dickhead.
 
2014-05-13 04:03:41 PM

menschenfresser: Smeggy Smurf: QUIT TRUTHING UP MY SNARK

Love ya, Smegs!


Hush now weirdo
 
2014-05-13 04:04:15 PM

ZAZ: In my area they're going after plastic bags because that's the progressive thing to do. The supermarkets already recycle bags (Shaws) or use paper (Trader Joe's). Little stores would be exempt. Sometimes even a part time legislative body has too much time on its hands.


Typically those bags don't end up recycled. they either end up in land fills or floating down the street.
 
2014-05-13 04:07:53 PM

Bob Robert: Recycling and using less harmful products is just feel good and not doing any good?


Did you read the article? They can recycle polystyrene, 95% of which is air.

Some restaurants can switch easily, some can't (or it would drastically affect prices). My problem is there is never any middle ground, never any attempt to find the best solution. But it's dramatic and exciting to see: "polystyrene bad, new law good". Even though that has yet to be seen or proven. But hey, lets just pass it anyway and force everyone to live with it.

Bob Robert: Are you high right now?


Is that important? No.
 
2014-05-13 04:12:49 PM

jjorsett: Would you like fries with that? Here, hold out your hands.


Funny, might as well hold out your hands if they serve fresh hot fries in foam containers. Here in America we tend to get our fries in either Paper cups like containers or bags.
 
2014-05-13 04:20:57 PM

All2morrowsparTs: Typically those bags don't end up recycled. they either end up in land fills

[sic] or floating down the street.

Wait, so putting carbon (i.e., plastic) into a fixed form and burying it underground is bad?  I thought carbon sequestration was a Good Thing?

Basically, carbon has two possible fates: either it ends up buried in the ground in one form or another or it gets burned (or metabolized -- the effect is the same) and mixed with the atmosphere as CO2.

/ oil: it wasn't biodegradable to begin with, or it wouldn't still be here after millions of years
 
2014-05-13 04:21:14 PM

Destructor: Headso: each winter hobo teams could trade off who litters and who takes the pictures then the convicted gets a place to sleep and the photog can rent a hovel for the winter months.

This is exactly the sort of thing that you need to worry about. So, is there a way to write a law so that this sort of thing doesn't happen? I took a stab at it by limiting how often you can win.

Maybe if you can't pay the fine, you do triple the time? (has a sort of ring to it...)


So isn't it ironic that you had to make a very complicated law (at great on going expense for both rewards and punishment) when you could simply have created a law to eliminate a problem item that has many better substitutes.
 
2014-05-13 04:25:48 PM

jshine: All2morrowsparTs: Typically those bags don't end up recycled. they either end up in land fills [sic] or floating down the street.

Wait, so putting carbon (i.e., plastic) into a fixed form and burying it underground is bad?  I thought carbon sequestration was a Good Thing?

Basically, carbon has two possible fates: either it ends up buried in the ground in one form or another or it gets burned (or metabolized -- the effect is the same) and mixed with the atmosphere as CO2.

/ oil: it wasn't biodegradable to begin with, or it wouldn't still be here after millions of years


img.fark.net
WTF? You do realize the polymer is not going to breakdown into it's component hydrocarbons. i.e. this aint going to turn back into oil or even plant food.
 
2014-05-13 04:26:54 PM

All2morrowsparTs: So isn't it ironic that you had to make a very complicated law (at great on going expense for both rewards and punishment) when you could simply have created a law to eliminate a problem item that has many better substitutes.


I'm just toying with the idea.

But, not really, no. Because it solves a much harder problem in terms of definition and scope. The article, by comparison, is about doing away with one specialty plastic.
 
2014-05-13 04:39:48 PM

All2morrowsparTs: jshine: All2morrowsparTs: Typically those bags don't end up recycled. they either end up in land fills [sic] or floating down the street.

Wait, so putting carbon (i.e., plastic) into a fixed form and burying it underground is bad?  I thought carbon sequestration was a Good Thing?

Basically, carbon has two possible fates: either it ends up buried in the ground in one form or another or it gets burned (or metabolized -- the effect is the same) and mixed with the atmosphere as CO2.

/ oil: it wasn't biodegradable to begin with, or it wouldn't still be here after millions of years

[img.fark.net image 498x640]
WTF? You do realize the polymer is not going to breakdown into it's component hydrocarbons. i.e. this aint going to turn back into oil or even plant food.



The polymer molecules will just sit there, for a very, very long time -- much like the oil it came from.  Though, being at a shallower geologic level (i.e., in a landfill), the plastic will get metabolized eventually.  Actually, on a geological timescale, the plastic will probably be metabolized much faster than the original oil, but on a human timescale nobody would probably notice the difference, and both could probably be considered "fixed" carbon.
 
2014-05-13 04:42:12 PM

Destructor: All2morrowsparTs: So isn't it ironic that you had to make a very complicated law (at great on going expense for both rewards and punishment) when you could simply have created a law to eliminate a problem item that has many better substitutes.

I'm just toying with the idea.

But, not really, no. Because it solves a much harder problem in terms of definition and scope. The article, by comparison, is about doing away with one specialty plastic.


Doing away with one specialty plastic is MUCH simpler and narrower in scope than trying to struggle against human nature across a society of individuals.

I know you said you're not high, but are you sure?
 
2014-05-13 05:12:14 PM

jshine: All2morrowsparTs: jshine: All2morrowsparTs: Typically those bags don't end up recycled. they either end up in land fills [sic] or floating down the street.

Wait, so putting carbon (i.e., plastic) into a fixed form and burying it underground is bad?  I thought carbon sequestration was a Good Thing?

Basically, carbon has two possible fates: either it ends up buried in the ground in one form or another or it gets burned (or metabolized -- the effect is the same) and mixed with the atmosphere as CO2.

/ oil: it wasn't biodegradable to begin with, or it wouldn't still be here after millions of years

[img.fark.net image 498x640]
WTF? You do realize the polymer is not going to breakdown into it's component hydrocarbons. i.e. this aint going to turn back into oil or even plant food.


The polymer molecules will just sit there, for a very, very long time -- much like the oil it came from.  Though, being at a shallower geologic level (i.e., in a landfill), the plastic will get metabolized eventually.  Actually, on a geological timescale, the plastic will probably be metabolized much faster than the original oil, but on a human timescale nobody would probably notice the difference, and both could probably be considered "fixed" carbon.


You are trying very hard and using big words and concepts to sound stupid. I give an "E" for effort. I mean for a minute there I thought you were serious.
 
2014-05-13 05:15:11 PM

mongbiohazard: Doing away with one specialty plastic is MUCH simpler and narrower in scope than trying to struggle against human nature across a society of individuals.


You know, you're right. You want to pass a law to get rid of a single plastic, why should I stop you? So, it'll cause a few businesses to raise prices by 30%. Big deal. Go for it, get rid of that 'nasty' stuff and replace it with a substance yet-to-be-determined which will have to be better because reasons.

mongbiohazard: I know you said you're not high, but are you sure?


That might be my ideal solution. :-)
 
2014-05-13 05:19:48 PM

mongbiohazard: I fail to see this as a "progressive thing to do" - it's just a "not wanting humans to be dickheads who unthinkingly fling their bullshiat everywhere like some kind of moronic animal 'thing'." I mean, if you want to cede the "not being dickheads" ground to progressives, then by all means. But personally, even though I'm not a progressive myself I'd rather we not all act like mentally handicapped dickheads, polluting everything around us "because reasons". Doesn't seem like a progressive or conservative thing, just a non-dickhead thing.


Modern American conservatism is increasingly about preserving the freedom to be unapologetic about being a dickhead. So yes, not being a dickhead is a solidly progressive position.
 
2014-05-13 05:21:27 PM

mrshowrules: Banning drink sizes was the dumbest farking thing ever but banning materials that end up in landfills may have merit.


Styrofoam doesnt have to end up in landfills.  It burns fairly readily.
 
2014-05-13 05:21:36 PM

jshine: The polymer molecules will just sit there, for a very, very long time -- much like the oil it came from. Though, being at a shallower geologic level (i.e., in a landfill), the plastic will get metabolized eventually. Actually, on a geological timescale, the plastic will probably be metabolized much faster than the original oil, but on a human timescale nobody would probably notice the difference, and both could probably be considered "fixed" carbon


To play devil's advocate for a moment; isn't that what we want? To sequester carbon. And if it is a stable & bound carbon form--problem solved. Instead, by recycling or re-purposing it by using a different plastic, you run the risk of that carbon winding up in the atmosphere.

The website I found (eHow), however, said that when its used in landfills, because its 95% air, it tends to get blown around like crazy, and winds up in the environment. However, it breaks down in the presence of sunlight eventually. (The polystyrene industry--unsurprisingly--is much more bullish on its prospect; I'll spare you a link to that... )
 
2014-05-13 05:25:03 PM
I like to be the anti-litter bug. If I see you litter, I give your trash back to you. Just the other day some douche threw 2 paper bags full of crap out his truck window, spilling all over our apartment building's parking lot. So, I saw who it was and the next day I gave it back to him. I picked up every last piece of trash and threw it all in the back of his pickup truck. I also left a note that thanked him for being trashy. It's a good thing.
 
2014-05-13 05:28:12 PM

Saiga410: Styrofoam doesnt have to end up in landfills.  It burns fairly readily.


True, but without appropriate emission controls, burning styrofoam releases large amounts of oily soot and toxic gases.
 
2014-05-13 05:32:37 PM

Bob Robert: You repeat the talking point from an industry shill and think that means anything?


A pizza producer is an industry shill?
_____
...But Carol Lynn Miller complained that Red's Savoy Pizza would see a 30 percent increase in prices from switching to different packaging...
_____  -TFA

It sort of "means" something. I mean, there's one guy "hurt" by this Utopian one-size-fits-all law. How many more might there be?

Bob Robert: What does 95% air mean when the 5% causes landfills to be overrun by products that do not biodegrade?


Fun thought/conspiracy (I know you guys like 'em): If I were a landfill operator (Big Garbage), I would certainly find ways to reduce my fill by volume. One way for that would be to tap the ever eager ecology movement...  and hint that this is a great idea for a real workable law.

Of course, another way might be for me to easily separate this sort of plastic (95% air using blowers?) from the rest of the garbage and recycle it. But that sounds costly. Nope, willing ecology clubs are the cheap way to go here.
 
2014-05-13 05:34:43 PM

Destructor: jshine: The polymer molecules will just sit there, for a very, very long time -- much like the oil it came from. Though, being at a shallower geologic level (i.e., in a landfill), the plastic will get metabolized eventually. Actually, on a geological timescale, the plastic will probably be metabolized much faster than the original oil, but on a human timescale nobody would probably notice the difference, and both could probably be considered "fixed" carbon

To play devil's advocate for a moment; isn't that what we want? To sequester carbon. And if it is a stable & bound carbon form--problem solved. Instead, by recycling or re-purposing it by using a different plastic, you run the risk of that carbon winding up in the atmosphere.

The website I found (eHow), however, said that when its used in landfills, because its 95% air, it tends to get blown around like crazy, and winds up in the environment. However, it breaks down in the presence of sunlight eventually. (The polystyrene industry--unsurprisingly--is much more bullish on its prospect; I'll spare you a link to that... )


You make the assumption that they will replace plastic with another plastic. No, they will typically replace it with paper products. It hasn't been a problem here in San Francisco and it hasn't raised prices.

Yes sequestering carbon is good, but I think you are stretching the bounds of logic (understanding the chemistry involved) to assume plastics are a good form of sequestration.

That is saying I have to cut off my hand to remove a wart on my finger.

Also carbon sequestration is also a treatment of the symptom not fixing the problem. The best form of carbon sequestration is don't overburden the environment with excessive carbon and let photosynthesis take care of it.
 
2014-05-13 05:47:25 PM

All2morrowsparTs: You make the assumption that they will replace plastic with another plastic. No, they will typically replace it with paper products. It hasn't been a problem here in San Francisco and it hasn't raised prices.

Yes sequestering carbon is good, but I think you are stretching the bounds of logic (understanding the chemistry involved) to assume plastics are a good form of sequestration.


You're probably right--this kind of plastic isn't the best for storing carbon. And honestly, I wouldn't mind seeing a reduction in the use of the stuff.

But to just kill all of it is just asking for trouble.
 
2014-05-13 06:28:03 PM

Destructor: mongbiohazard: Doing away with one specialty plastic is MUCH simpler and narrower in scope than trying to struggle against human nature across a society of individuals.

You know, you're right. You want to pass a law to get rid of a single plastic, why should I stop you? So, it'll cause a few businesses to raise prices by 30%. Big deal. Go for it, get rid of that 'nasty' stuff and replace it with a substance yet-to-be-determined which will have to be better because reasons.

mongbiohazard: I know you said you're not high, but are you sure?

That might be my ideal solution. :-)


Businesses here in DC haven't raised prices any % due to our bag tax, and we didn't replace one plastic with another... We just stopped using the shiatty bags so much. Instead we use a lot of reusable bags, which is the smarter solution. To stop assuming every trivial thing in our lives needs to be disposable instant waste.
 
2014-05-13 06:32:18 PM

mongbiohazard: Businesses here in DC haven't raised prices any % due to our bag tax, and we didn't replace one plastic with another... We just stopped using the shiatty bags so much. Instead we use a lot of reusable bags, which is the smarter solution. To stop assuming every trivial thing in our lives needs to be disposable instant waste.


Serious question: Suppose you decide you want to be spontaneous one day. You go shopping and see a bunch of things you want to get. But, you don't have reusable bags with you. What do you do, just buy more reusable bags? What happens if you accumulate too many reusable bags, and how long do they last?
 
2014-05-13 06:43:48 PM

mongbiohazard: ZAZ: In my area they're going after plastic bags because that's the progressive thing to do. The supermarkets already recycle bags (Shaws) or use paper (Trader Joe's). Little stores would be exempt. Sometimes even a part time legislative body has too much time on its hands.


Here in DC we instituted a small tax on plastic bags (the disposable type) because they were everywhere, garbaging up our waterways. $0.05 per bag, which is really not even something you'd even notice on your grocery bill (especially in the sity where you're not bringing home 3.2 metric tons of food from Costco - the apartments are small in the city!).

Even though the tax was insignificant it had a profound effect psychologically - people utterly HATE being charged for something they think of as "free" even if those things really aren't free (nothing is) no matter how small the new price is. It had a major impact in short order, and we don't see near as many of those bags farking up our waterways. Visibly less pollution, still have the option of the bags when you really need them and the bag cost at $0.05 is completely negligable when you do need one - everyone wins.


I fail to see this as a "progressive thing to do" - it's just a "not wanting humans to be dickheads who unthinkingly fling their bullshiat everywhere like some kind of moronic animal 'thing'." I mean, if you want to cede the "not being dickheads" ground to progressives, then by all means. But personally, even though I'm not a progressive myself I'd rather we not all act like mentally handicapped dickheads, polluting everything around us "because reasons". Doesn't seem like a progressive or conservative thing, just a non-dickhead thing.


Same here in the SF Bay Area.  People quickly started buying reusable bags and it's been fine.  If you need a bag at the register you can pay a few cents for a paper bag or buy one of the $.99 reusables and increase your collection.  It really has been painless.  These are the simple "green" things we can do where there is no down side except for industries which manufacture the insta-garbage.
 
2014-05-13 06:53:06 PM
This will in no way disproportionately impact minority-owned and small businesses.  Not at all.
 
2014-05-13 07:01:06 PM

FLMountainMan: This will in no way disproportionately impact minority-owned and small businesses.  Not at all.


Only ones owned by morons who don't know how to shop for alternatives.  Around here the small businesses have adapted just fine and the paper and plastic alternatives work just fine.
 
2014-05-13 07:29:16 PM
Well, that does it...freedom is dead in America
 
2014-05-13 07:57:52 PM

Destructor: mongbiohazard: Businesses here in DC haven't raised prices any % due to our bag tax, and we didn't replace one plastic with another... We just stopped using the shiatty bags so much. Instead we use a lot of reusable bags, which is the smarter solution. To stop assuming every trivial thing in our lives needs to be disposable instant waste.

Serious question: Suppose you decide you want to be spontaneous one day. You go shopping and see a bunch of things you want to get. But, you don't have reusable bags with you. What do you do, just buy more reusable bags? What happens if you accumulate too many reusable bags, and how long do they last?



I'll give you a serious answer. There's two ways this is handled here in DC - really it's not anywhere close to as big a deal as you might be thinking.

The first way is prior preparation - actually having one or two because you are used to using them. There are places that give reusable bags away for free if you want them (with their logo on the side for some free advertising, of course), and for us out here in the burbs typically you keep at least one or two in your car for just such an occasion. My wife has a number stashed in her trunk for grocery day. Many folks downtown will keep one stashed away in their purse, backpack or man-purse (they make ones now that squish down really, really small). If you accumulate too many you can just throw them in the recycling bin with your other recyclables.

The second way is.... You pay the $0.05 per bag and use disposable paper or plastic bags like before. The tax funds more cleanup of the waterways which were choked with the bags previously, and are now vastly improved.

The cost is so negligible that even though they were free before you'd think everyone would just pony up and do things like usual right? You'd think it would have no impact on people's habits? Quite wrong. Economists have studied this, Planet Money did a great story on how the Red Cross has been paying for ever so briefly making that same bad assumption for 70 years now.

Most people have an innate and serious disgust for paying for something they assume should be "free" even when the price is trivial. Even though the price is so little you'd never even really notice it people HATE the very idea of paying for this thing they think should be free and tend to hold a grudge about it - no matter how irrational it really is. The law's authors were smart, and they require that the store not cover the cost for you and that they must ask you if you want to pay $0.05 for any bags.

$0.05 per bag 'aint breaking anybody's bank, but people - even people who make really good money - will get visibly upset with themselves for forgetting to bring bags with them. So bag use is way, way down - but in a pinch you can still get them just fine to bring your stuff home with. The waterways and streets are cleaner, more people are living just a teensy bit more sustainably and habits are being formed that will be passed down to future generations. Our kids will think it's weird NOT to use reusable bags. "Well, why wouldn't you? Why would you pay just to use a bag? Why would you need something to throw away to fill up landfills just to carry your stuff?"
 
2014-05-13 08:15:01 PM
jjorsett:
I remember the paper vs plastic wars. Nobody on the plastic side ever said what kind of trees were being killed

Eucalyptus. Of course now those are becoming an invasive species in many parts of the world.
 
2014-05-13 08:27:44 PM

mongbiohazard: I'll give you a serious answer.


Thank you.
 
2014-05-13 08:38:28 PM

Bob Robert: You keep repeating this line from the industry trade group


Because it indicates that there is very little material and energy involved.

I believe you're missing the point.

Look, we can replace the plastic using all kinds of different technology. You don't really see plastic peanuts anymore, everyone is using those plastic packing pockets--and reusing them. That's good. You've got one restaurant guy who can make use of a different kind of container that doesn't use polystyrene. Awesome. And I'm sure we can find lots of ways to replace the plastic to a large extent. Great.

But one guy working in the food industry has a problem with that. What do you do when need a solution that only this plastic can provide? The law's solution is to put them out of business or raise their costs and hope they can survive. And no one seems to have a big problem with that.

What if, just suppose, that there really is a legitimate need for the plastic in just a few niche markets. You'd just sacrifice those because its too... what?... dangerous to allow them? That's the problem with rules and laws like this.

I'm beginning to see where you guys are coming from, and its so damned depressing it's just killing me. Basically, there is no appealing to reason with the population at large. There is only enforcement of more rules and more laws for the greater good... forever. Don't get me wrong: your argument is convincing. A little too convincing. And that makes me sad.
 
2014-05-13 09:30:06 PM
i.imgur.com
 
2014-05-13 09:54:54 PM

Destructor: mongbiohazard: Which are great and all... but not sufficient because you can never be everywhere watching to see if anyone litters anywhere, ever. You really think we're going to catch the schmuck tossing his empty container in the plastic bag out the window of his car at 12:45 am on some highway?

Yes, more so than you can by outlawing one thing.

mongbiohazard: And even if we could be I don't want to live in that kind of country where we're always under surveillance just to keep us from rhetorically shiatting all over our own neighborhoods and waterway

Okay, I'm going to try this out.

Offer a base $1000 reward for clear photographic evidence of some nitwit polluting leading to a conviction. It might be more if it's a serious case of dumping (for example). You can only claim the reward once or twice a year (attempt to stop fakers). If you're caught faking to get a reward, you get a massive fine and real jail time.

Someone convicted of the crime pays at least $2k + work community service in the form of litter pickup for a year.


If locations don't use that packaging anymore than you're not going to see much of it in the future filling up landfills or littering highways. Unless you believe someone is going to make a special trip to dump the stuff where it's illegal out of spite.
 
2014-05-13 11:54:04 PM
Good.
 
2014-05-14 07:47:15 AM

Fart_Machine: If locations don't use that packaging anymore than you're not going to see much of it in the future filling up landfills or littering highways. Unless you believe someone is going to make a special trip to dump the stuff where it's illegal out of spite.


Oh, I wasn't referring to just this material; any form of dumping... From throwing a cigarette butt out a window to an empty fast-food bag.

Bob Robert: No it doesn't. You have no studies that show the large amount of non recyclable materials is not filling up landfills. you just repeat a fake scientific claim of "95% air" that the industry created and you just repeat it here ad nauseum.


You are completely incorrigible. "Fake scientific claim...?" How is this even remotely a point of debate?

In the future, instead of accusing someone of lying, try gently pointing out where they're wrong. How about a link disproving the notion? What a thrill it would be to find out that not all polystyrene is expanded with air? That its a simple lightweight plastic... Lots of things are made from it in a wide array of forms... Or than when it is blown, it's only 94.5% air or something... Or to learn that the expanded variety doesn't use air, but pentane. My god, how I so don't care about HOW much gas the stupid crap (the only variety anyone cares about, FTFA title: FOAM) has in it.

I haven't provided you with any studies... Good grief. The stupid article says the material is recyclable ("hard-to-recycle "), but it isn't economic to do it. It's not even a point of contention any longer.

Bob Robert: What pr firm employs such lazy bloggers like you?


Lazy? Lets chat about lazy for a moment. Your average post consists on average of about 2 sentences. In fact, in this particular thread, you've deviated from your standard norm (congrats!). Generally, when you're not on Troll Police detail, you rarely contribute meaningfully to any thread choosing instead to offer your own special brand of observational insights often in the form of put downs. Pick a thread at random and check it. "Study it out". (I'm sure you'll conclude that there's so much derp, and so little time or something...)
 
2014-05-14 11:14:54 AM

Destructor: . Generally, when you're not on Troll Police detail, you rarely contribute meaningfully to any thread choosing instead to offer your own special brand of observational insights often in the form of put downs. Pick a thread at random and check it. "Study it out". (I'm sure you'll conclude that there's so much derp, and so little time or something...)


Translation: I got called out for making trolling comments and now I am mad.

Dude, you should go back to telling us how "we didn't listen" to RON PAUL.
 
2014-05-14 11:26:42 AM

whidbey: Translation: I got called out for making trolling comments and now I am mad.

Dude, you should go back to telling us how "we didn't listen" to RON PAUL.


Since that's off topic, I will ignore this trolling comment (you don't think you're immune, simply because you accuse me of trolling, do you?) and focus on the only salient feature of that post:

I'm not mad.

I'm not particularly thrilled with having the baseless accusation that I'm a lazy shill cast around because of a minor point about a plastic foam for absolutely no good reason by someone demonstrably lazier than me.
 
2014-05-14 01:10:57 PM

All2morrowsparTs: jshine: All2morrowsparTs: jshine: All2morrowsparTs: Typically those bags don't end up recycled. they either end up in land fills [sic] or floating down the street.

Wait, so putting carbon (i.e., plastic) into a fixed form and burying it underground is bad?  I thought carbon sequestration was a Good Thing?

Basically, carbon has two possible fates: either it ends up buried in the ground in one form or another or it gets burned (or metabolized -- the effect is the same) and mixed with the atmosphere as CO2.

/ oil: it wasn't biodegradable to begin with, or it wouldn't still be here after millions of years

[img.fark.net image 498x640]
WTF? You do realize the polymer is not going to breakdown into it's component hydrocarbons. i.e. this aint going to turn back into oil or even plant food.


The polymer molecules will just sit there, for a very, very long time -- much like the oil it came from.  Though, being at a shallower geologic level (i.e., in a landfill), the plastic will get metabolized eventually.  Actually, on a geological timescale, the plastic will probably be metabolized much faster than the original oil, but on a human timescale nobody would probably notice the difference, and both could probably be considered "fixed" carbon.

You are trying very hard and using big words and concepts to sound stupid. I give an "E" for effort. I mean for a minute there I thought you were serious.



I'm being very serious.  If I use "big words", it's just because they're the appropriate ones to describe the relevant concepts.  Since I'm a chemical engineer, I've picked up quite a few chemistry (and other assorted scientific) terms.
 
2014-05-14 04:28:35 PM

Destructor: I'm not particularly thrilled with having the baseless accusation that I'm a lazy shill cast around because of a minor point about a plastic foam for absolutely no good reason by someone demonstrably lazier than me


Yeah but anyone who goes out their way to "discredit" recycling deserves a good drubbing. You, in other words.
 
2014-05-14 06:06:26 PM
Minneapolis does not have a city government.  What we have is a pack of morons with delusions of authority.  This has been the case for at four decades.
 
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