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Thread: Plastic plastic everywhere, challenge

  1. #51
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    And we dont have plastic bags anymore either.

  2. #52
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    They need to ban most single use plastic.

    They do charge for bags here, the thing is it's no big deal to pay for them, but one picks their poison anyway. I mean one probably needs bags for their garbage anyway so one buys plastic garbage bags or buys the paper bags for their groceries at the store and can use that for garbage. Someone is going to insist they compost all their garbage, but I've never been able to figure out if that makes sense living in a one bedroom apartment (maybe it does and I'm just unenlightened but most of the stuff seems pitched at homeowners), and I'm honestly not that interested in what makes sense for homeowners with large yards. I mean good for them to do that, but there's a lot of people who don't live in that situation.
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  3. #53
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ApatheticNoMore View Post
    They need to ban most single use plastic.
    I'm interested in how that could be done on a practical level. Perhaps the most challenging part might be identifying "single use".

    We do buy plastic zipper bags for food storage -- not exclusively but they come in handy. Many people use them once and throw them away. If our bag is clean (for example, its purpose in life was closing up an opened package of pasta), I reuse it for another package or even outright food storage (after which I might throw it away; there's a balance with the carbon footprint of the hot water and soap one needed to clean a plastic bag). Single use or not?

    I had to repair the rear wiper on my car. That required pulling off the trim panel on the inside of the hatch. Aside from some metal clips and the carpet on a portion of it, that entire panel is thick ABS plastic. It is labeled for recycling (German law), but I will guess that, when the car meets its end, it never will be recycled because it is not economically feasible to do so. However, avoiding plastic as a component of the trim panel means doing away with a material which is light (saves fuel), takes some abuse from cargo shifting in the back, and will never rot regardless of how much moisture surrounds it. Single use, almost certainly. But what else is there that performs as well?

    We've all encountered examples of egregious plastic use -- as packing materials, as covers for surfaces so they don't get marred before their first use (no matter how unlikely that is, ensconced as the part is in other packing materials), as trinkets or flimsy doodads. I could see encouraging people to go without those plastics. I could see encouraging plastics made from materials which might biodegrade in our lifetimes. But we're talking changes in human nature, not laws.
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

  4. #54
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    I try to remain conscious of the materials in the purchasing choices I make and simply try to do my best. I do put forth effort and I do believe I make a difference - even if it is a small one. For example, my metal water bottle gets refilled at least twice a day, so that could be 1-3 plastic bottles that I'm not using; I use my homemade veggie bags at the store, so that also makes up for several plastic bags a week that I'm not using. I do believe that little things add up and make a difference.
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  5. #55
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    Population of US: 325 million
    Population of India: 1.34 billion
    Population of China: 1.38 billion

    I continue to worry more about the use of plastic (increasing all the time) in India and China. Every bit helps but I cannot control much at all at my level.

    I worry more about the use of bulk products due to the sorry cleanliness habits of some shoppers.

  6. #56
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    A couple of days ago I saw the Trump signed into law the Save Our Seas Act of 2018. I thought his support of an enviro-friendly initiative was uncharacteristic of him, so I did a little research and found this article in Recycling Today. The act was lauded by the Plastics Industry Association and the American Chemical Council.

    So, industry probably promotes this act because of all the negative backlash: the bans against straws and bags etc. They probably wouldn't care one little bit if it weren't for grassroots efforts to address the problem at the source. If plastics can be cleaned up and contained, they can keep the stream of plastic coming. Too bad plastic still has other problems--slow degradation, use of fossil fuel in production. If only it were a matter of simply cleaning them up and finding landfills big enough to contain them.
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  7. #57
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    I see this as a positive step.

    if you look at environmental issues as a building where everybody comes in on the first floor and we’re trying to get us all to the roof, most of trumps actions have been along the lines on moving the entrance to the basement, or at least regrading the yard so that we now have a low porch with more steps.

    anything that raises the floor is progress. Meanwhile, you just have to keep climbing and help the people behind you up a step. Sometimes we may have to rest on a landing, but as long as we don’t lie to ourselves and say it’s the roof, hopefully we’ll get there.

    (also, to extend the analogy with a dose of reality, as flooding increases, more and more of the people on the bottom step will drown, so as a practical matter, the project gets easier. They’ll pull some of the people on the step above them into the water too, but if you’re already on the second floor, it shouldn’t really affect you.)

    i have two “single use” plastic containers that I brought home from the food bank, diverting them and their contents from the dumpster. I wash them and take them to the store over and over to be refilled with deli meat (which is bad, but dh is going to eat it) saving about 52 plastic ziploc bags a year. dh said “the deli guy hates you.” I said “the deli guy smiles when he sees me coming.” Dh said “he is laughing at you.” I said “cool. I am saving plastic and adding amusement to the day of somebody with a low paying repetitive job.”

    i cannot imagine that the water and energy use (including a tiny bit of soap and its production, packaging, and transportation) to clean a plastic bag exceeds the water and energy use to produce, package, and transport a new plastic bag plus transport and dispose of the old one. Also, the washing is part of an open cycle, where the use and disposal is a closed line.

  8. #58
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    Here:

    https://1bagatatime.com/learn/plastic-bags-petroleum/

    obviously they have an agenda, but it was the best I could find quickly.

    also, if you actually want to help, DON’T buy “reusable” bags. There are already enough bags in the world. Get your hands on some and reuse them. If you literally can’t find anybody who will give you a bag, grab some worn out clothing and a sewing machine! If you can’t find anybody who will give you old clothes, or sell them to you for almost nothing, I really want to know where you live. (I accept that the sewing machines may be more if a challenge, but you can maybe borrow one, or hand sew. Or get an old pillowcase.)

  9. #59
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken lady View Post
    https://1bagatatime.com/learn/plastic-bags-petroleum/

    obviously they have an agenda, but it was the best I could find quickly.
    From the site:
    An average American throws away about 10 bags a week. That’s 520 bags a year–a fuel equivalent of 60 miles of driving.
    It takes .48 MJ to produce a bag. MJ stands for megajoule, which is enough energy to heat a liter of water to boiling. That .48 MJ of energy comes from the petroleum that the plastic itself is made from, as well as the petroleum burned as energy in the manufacturing process to make the bag. An average car consumes 6.7 MJ in driving 1 mile, or the equivalent of 14 bags per mile driven. These statistics come from <-- n.b., not an accidental cut-off; the source is not present on their Web page
    I'm not throwing away 10 bags a week. Maybe two. So now I'm down to the equivalent of 12 miles of driving. I can drive that far in the service of buying something used off craigslist. The figures in the first graf also don't square with the figures in the second graf: 520 bags divided by 14 bags per mile equals 37 miles of driving (at some undefined speed, etc., and I'll note "the average car" does not get 40+ mpg as mine does). The blank attribution is a little troubling, too.

    I'm not saying this to rationalize my use of plastic bags (we're talking food storage, not shopping; I have a set of bags I use for that) or to poke particularly at the numbers. Let's even accept their worst numbers as accurate. I can save the equivalent petroleum of all the bags I throw away by not making one trip in my car. Now we're in the ballpark of the "Make a million $10 at a time" thread. Either there needs to be a better way to account for all the carbon involved in a plastic bag's manufacture and reuse or eventual landfill storage or we get to make different choices about how we want to burn the petroleum we do.
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

  10. #60
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    Steve, that is hilarious. It’s like the rebulican mailing I just got with footnote numbers on all the things they said about the dmocrat - but no footnotes! It did offer me stuff to look into though, so there is that.

    I was truly in a hurry and I assumed there was a next page. There is no next page.

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