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From NPR (& Planet Money): Are Plastic Bag Bans Garbage?
Posted by: Dazed & Confused
Date: April 13, 2019 01:47PM
Poll
Does Your City/Town Have a Plastic Bag Ban?
Only registered users are allowed to vote for this poll.
22 votes were received.
Yes (Save the Enviornment!) 12
 
55%
No (Thank Goodess, I Recycle Them Like I'm Supposed To) 9
 
41%
Other (Which I will explain if I'm Not Too Lazy to Answer) 1
 
4%



Seems like every city is putting a ban on plastic bags, my city included. I went to a city council meeting prior to the ban for an open discussion on the subject. I thought it a slam dunk. I mean, who wouldn't want to ban plastic bags? Well, upon hearing from numerous folks both pro and con I was not so sure afterwards. The ban went through regardless and I do see a whole lot less plastic bags littering the city streets so that's good news. But, as per usual & as I thought, there is more to the story...


[www.npr.org]

"It was only about 40 years ago that plastic bags became standard at U.S. grocery stores. This also made them standard in sewers, landfills, rivers and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. They clog drains and cause floods, litter landscapes and kill wildlife. The national movement to get rid of them is gaining steam — with more than 240 cities and counties passing laws that ban or tax them since 2007. New York recently became the second U.S. state to ban them. But these bans may be hurting the environment more than helping it."

How about your city? Is there a plastic ban in place?

D & C



A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP
11:36 PM - 22 Feb 2015

-Leonard Nimoy
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Re: From NPR (& Planet Money): Are Plastic Bag Bans Garbage?
Posted by: mattkime
Date: April 13, 2019 02:07PM
IMO, this reminds me of the ban on smoking in nyc restaurants and bars. There will be a lot of high minded discussion of freedom and how the state relates to the citizens, etc. As it turns out, people don't like smelling like smoke.

I think this will be similar. People won't miss the plastic bags.



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Re: From NPR (& Planet Money): Are Plastic Bag Bans Garbage?
Posted by: Carnos Jax
Date: April 13, 2019 02:13PM
Among other things regarding plastic, as it degrades the polymers (i.e. plastic) breaks down into it's constituent monomers (the simpler molecules that hook up in chains to form polymers), and these monomers are HIGHLY toxic and carcinogenic. The only theoretical way to dispose of plastic is to sequester it from the environment or burn it properly (very difficult) such that it breaks down into carbon dioxide and water (and even this latter would not be acceptable because you'd be releasing huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Surely, these studies are just illustrating that we as a species need to look at our practices in a complete way. All effects need to be considered and addressed. We can send humans to the Moon, surely we can figure out how to live on this planet.
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Re: From NPR (& Planet Money): Are Plastic Bag Bans Garbage?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: April 13, 2019 02:15PM
My town recently enacted a ban, but it has not gone into effect yet. I have been recycling the bags, but they have to go to specific bins the stores have. They can't go in general recycling bins with the rest.

At the state level, legislators are considering a statewide ban since a number of cities and towns already have adopted ones. Not sure if actual legislation has been filed yet.
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Re: From NPR (& Planet Money): Are Plastic Bag Bans Garbage?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: April 13, 2019 02:31PM
Quote
Carnos Jax
Among other things regarding plastic, as it degrades the polymers (i.e. plastic) breaks down into it's constituent monomers (the simpler molecules that hook up in chains to form polymers), and these monomers are HIGHLY toxic and carcinogenic. The only theoretical way to dispose of plastic is to sequester it from the environment or burn it properly (very difficult) such that it breaks down into carbon dioxide and water (and even this latter would not be acceptable because you'd be releasing huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Surely, these studies are just illustrating that we as a species need to look at our practices in a complete way. All effects need to be considered and addressed. We can send humans to the Moon, surely we can figure out how to live on this planet.

One problem is that there are very many plastics which do not break back down into the monomers or further as they degrade. They just break down into microscopic flecks, bits, and fibers of plastic. Those are what make up most of the plastic contamination of the oceans at this point, researchers are not seeing signs of breakdown taking less than many decades or longer for these.

As for burning, some plastics will have just CO2 and H2O as combustion products, but there are also many common plastics that contain other material such as nitrogen that will generate potentially poisonous compounds.

There is research going on that is looking into turning plastics back into their componont monomers. Not too difficult to control for processing single types of plastics. But once they start getting mixed, the processes get much more complicated.
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Re: From NPR (& Planet Money): Are Plastic Bag Bans Garbage?
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: April 13, 2019 02:39PM
I think it raises awareness, but it might need expanding to produce and garbage bags.

I really wish the packaging industry would standardize on one or two types of plastic that was the easiest to recycle. Make every 'whole' container worth a few cents recycling value, high enough to be worth picking up but not high enough to make producing counterfeit containers worthwhile.

I have 3 containers to put out for pickup: garbage, recycling, compostable. Up to 90% of my 'garbage' is plastic bags and other plastic stamped with numbers that the recycling stream doesn't accept. The collection company states that garbage needs to be bagged. I ended up buying the smallest and thinnest garbage bags I thought would work, even so, the outside bag ends up around 5% of the total weight of my weekly garbage.



In tha 360. [url=Zee Maps Now requires a subscription/payment to work]MRF User Map[/url]
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Re: From NPR (& Planet Money): Are Plastic Bag Bans Garbage?
Posted by: hal
Date: April 13, 2019 02:43PM
Bags outlawed here a few years ago - YAY!!

I'm LAZY and I had a few reusable shopping bags, but I would ALWYAS forget to bring them.it wasn't until a checker started asking, 'would you like to purchase a bag' for 10¢. Ten cents is nothing, but damn if I'm gonna pay for something unnecessarily. The law forced me to remember to bring bags. I forgot AGAIN at TJs where they keep a wall full of empty wine boxes for people that want to buy lots of wine. I grabbed on and told the check to use it instead of a bag purchase.

WHAT A REVELATION! Boxes don't roll around in my car while driving, they hold A LOT of stuff and they are free.

Bags are no longer blowing all over the place... and I now realize just how valuable those paper bags were. I always had a pile around and they were SO DAMNED USEFUL for all kinds of tasks... but they are rare now.
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Re: From NPR (& Planet Money): Are Plastic Bag Bans Garbage?
Posted by: polychrome
Date: April 13, 2019 03:16PM
Plastic bags have been found in the deepest parts of the ocean.
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Re: From NPR (& Planet Money): Are Plastic Bag Bans Garbage?
Posted by: Carnos Jax
Date: April 13, 2019 03:46PM
Quote
JoeH
One problem is that there are very many plastics which do not break back down into the monomers or further as they degrade. They just break down into microscopic flecks, bits, and fibers of plastic...

I've read they're even finding small plastic fibers (specifically polyester) in Gulf oysters, coming from the polyester clothing we wear (which normally shed a little, like all clothing does, when we wash them).
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Re: From NPR (& Planet Money): Are Plastic Bag Bans Garbage?
Posted by: Acer
Date: April 13, 2019 04:48PM
We use them to line bins, but the supply exceeds the demand when you look in my closet. Buying liners may seem wasteful when there's a free supply from shopping, but unlike bin liners, grocery bags tend to get into the wild much more easily.

I can verify this because I just participated in a roadside clean-up. Multiple wayward empty shopping bags. No wayward empty garbage liners.
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Re: From NPR (& Planet Money): Are Plastic Bag Bans Garbage?
Posted by: Markintosh
Date: April 13, 2019 04:51PM
Kalifornia resident here. The plastic ban is a couple of years old here now, but its been closer to 5 years for our town. The transition to reusable bags has been relatively easy.

It's not the 10 cent fee that reminds us to bring bags. We live by the "you can't just buy your way out" method. If we forget, our rule is everything you buy must be carried out in your hands rule. The added bonus here is that it also helps prioritize what you really need, keeping that extra package of cookies from going home.

One time, we did a major shopping trip after an oil change and car wash. All of the bags were removed from the car. After unloading a cartful at checkout, we just put it all back in the cart, sans bags, and then transferred it to the car. Some cans rolled around, nut it survived. We brought out the bags to bring it in the house. It works.

Make no excuses when it comes to single use bags.



“Live your life, love your life, don’t regret…live, learn and move forward positively.” – CR Johnson
Loving life in Lake Tahoe, CA
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Re: From NPR (& Planet Money): Are Plastic Bag Bans Garbage?
Posted by: Robert M
Date: April 13, 2019 05:34PM
Hi everyone,

While I'm all for saving the environment and using reusable bags, there is definitely a time and place for plastic bags. I use reusable bags when possible but there are times when they are absolutely not an option. That and any reusable bag must be machine-washable and/oor easy to clean with a paper towel and disinfectant wipe. If a reusable bag doesn't meet either of those standards, I ain't interested.

If I'm in the supermarket, I can near guarantee the bottoms of milk containers, juices and similar items have residue on them. Plastic bags prevent that from getting on surfaces in my car or at home. That doesn't take into consideration dealing with something that leaks. Reusable bags are all fine and dandy but I'll only use them for dry goods and/or goods that contain liquid but have no chance of leaking.

What someone needs to do is produce a disposable plastic-like bag that is both strong, leakproof and safe for the environment. I would hope any place that bans the typical plastic bag will allow people to use a disposable plastic-like environmentally friendly alternative.

There is also another factor they aren't taking into consideration. Plastic bags from the supermarket and other places are just one part of the problem. Are they banning plastic bags and items used at home? Think Trashbags, food and item storage bags, plastic food containers (Yogurt, cream cheese, etc).

Robert



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/13/2019 05:37PM by Robert M.
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Re: From NPR (& Planet Money): Are Plastic Bag Bans Garbage?
Posted by: freeradical
Date: April 13, 2019 06:56PM
I used to be able to re-purpose the plastic bags from the grocery store for use as small trash bags etc.

Now I have to buy boxes of plastic bags for that purpose.
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Re: From NPR (& Planet Money): Are Plastic Bag Bans Garbage?
Posted by: hal
Date: April 13, 2019 07:11PM
Quote
freeradical
I used to be able to re-purpose the plastic bags from the grocery store for use as small trash bags etc.

Now I have to buy boxes of plastic bags for that purpose.

Don't do that - if it's non food, just live without plastic liners.
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Re: From NPR (& Planet Money): Are Plastic Bag Bans Garbage?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: April 13, 2019 07:12PM
I can only use the bags for some kinds of trash. The ones from the grocery all start with small holes and by the time I empty them at home the holes are bigger. In the end I have to recycle the vast majority by bagging up a bunch and depositing them in the bin at the grocery store for recycling plastic bags. And for the trash that can't go into bags with holes, I have to buy bags anyways.
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Re: From NPR (& Planet Money): Are Plastic Bag Bans Garbage?
Posted by: jdc
Date: April 14, 2019 12:01AM
We ask for paper, because we use them for other many other things.

Only plastic bags we get are target. We take those back to target.

But residential use is dwarfed by commercial use?



----


Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: From NPR (& Planet Money): Are Plastic Bag Bans Garbage?
Posted by: C(-)ris
Date: April 14, 2019 01:07AM
There is probably more waste from people tossing plastic iPhone cases than plastic bags...not that either are right. I'm all for the ban, in fact, just ban plastic completely. They are talking about not accepting any for recycling around here, they say none of it is worth what it costs to recycle. Back to glass and metal containers.

My only real problem is plastic straws. I cannot stand the paper ones. Tried it at Disney in Animal Kingdom where they don't use plastic. It was horrible, made the drink taste funny, had a bad texture in your mouth, and then got soggy. No paper straws for me.



C(-)ris
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Re: From NPR (& Planet Money): Are Plastic Bag Bans Garbage?
Posted by: Carnos Jax
Date: April 14, 2019 05:59AM
Yes I’ve seen corn based plastic. Basically they polymerize starch molecules. Completely biodegradable into CO2 and water. No impact on the carbon cycle since it’s neutral (of course if it takes too much energy and resources to grow corn, I’m sure they can base it on other plants).



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/14/2019 06:00AM by Carnos Jax.
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Re: From NPR (& Planet Money): Are Plastic Bag Bans Garbage?
Posted by: raz
Date: April 14, 2019 06:31AM
Plastic straws are evil. They don’t stay in landfills, and they kill wildlife.
I’ve gotten into the habit of saying “no straw” when waiters take a drink or water order.
Most blame corporate policy for leaving them in the table.

If there isn’t a medical issue (sensitive teeth ...) I can’t see a use for them.



--------------

Embarassing myself on the Internet since 1978.
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Re: From NPR (& Planet Money): Are Plastic Bag Bans Garbage?
Posted by: Rolando
Date: April 14, 2019 10:30AM
Quote
freeradical
I used to be able to re-purpose the plastic bags from the grocery store for use as small trash bags etc.

Now I have to buy boxes of plastic bags for that purpose.

I did that when I was single and had a smaller garbage footprint!

Quote
C(-)ris
There is probably more waste from people tossing plastic iPhone cases than plastic bags...not that either are right. I'm all for the ban, in fact, just ban plastic completely. They are talking about not accepting any for recycling around here, they say none of it is worth what it costs to recycle. Back to glass and metal containers.

My only real problem is plastic straws. I cannot stand the paper ones. Tried it at Disney in Animal Kingdom where they don't use plastic. It was horrible, made the drink taste funny, had a bad texture in your mouth, and then got soggy. No paper straws for me.

I think the bag problem a few orders of magnitude bigger than iPhone (and other phone) cases. Not a fan of paper straws, but generally they reduce the exposure of teeth to sugar and acids in soft drinks (that's a whole other topic)!



San Antonio, TX (in the old city)


"All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing."
-- Edmund Burke
“Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."
-- Eli Weisel

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." Theodore Roosevelt (1918)
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Re: From NPR (& Planet Money): Are Plastic Bag Bans Garbage?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: April 14, 2019 12:05PM
I have to agree on the bags being many orders of magnitude greater a problem than phone cases. Phone cases might be a once or twice a year discard, and don't blow around like the bags. But just shopping for groceries for myself and my son I will end up with 5-6 bags a week. The adds up over the course of a year.
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Re: From NPR (& Planet Money): Are Plastic Bag Bans Garbage?
Posted by: Dazed & Confused
Date: April 14, 2019 01:55PM
In reference to the NPR article above, the human race is great at coming up with solutions for a problem but in the process creates more problems. There must be a Bloom County cartoon regarding this human characteristic fault..

D & C



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/14/2019 02:03PM by Dazed & Confused.
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