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trymahjong

Will COH ban single use plastic bags

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We are under a plastic bag ban here in Long Beach and I'm not against it but it did give China more business for cheap bag whereas the plastic bags were made in the USA, which put those companies out of business or hurt severely (according to local article highlighting unintended consequences). :blink: Also, having these plastic bags for bathroom trashliners or small amount of smelly garbage helps. Target and the likes were except from this ban, at least for the short-term, so I still get the free small trashcan bags. :D

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I just don't see this happening here. But, would this include produce bags?

If they follow the Long Beach example the produce (i.e. veggie) plastic bags wouldn't be impacted and you would be able to get paper bags for a nominal fee (5 or 10 cents each).

Edited by JJVilla

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Googling this vague (on its three counts) claim was difficult. The "long-term decline" of household waste that began after 2000 seems to have returned us to 1992 levels of trash, but also to have plateaued. It's impossible to look at further-back historical trends because you quickly find yourself mired in horseshit, literally. Another issue is that construction and demolition debris is sometimes included but usually not and that's rarely made clear. Automobile bodies never seem to be included.

Construction and all industrial waste should be included. And in fact, if you consider that the manufacturing output per capita has been on the decline for a fair bit of time, even as imports have risen, then that might account for some significant reduction in waste per household. The high-tech manufacturing that has offset some of the lost heavy manufacturing probably also results in less waste per capita.

You shouldn't expect to see too many automobile bodies in the waste category. Most of them get chopped up and exported as scrap metal. In fact, there are several facilities along the Houston Ship Channel that deal heavily in that business. I hear that it's quite profitable.

Someone who wrote a recent book called "Garbology" said this on the amount of trash generated per person:

Well, it turns out that this is not an easy number to come by. In fact, the “
” – the publication that the EPA puts out to examine our municipal waste – is really badly outdated. Research done by Columbia University and a trade journal called BioCycle shows that we produce, per day,
... it doesn’t even compare favorably to where we were a few decades ago. It’s about twice as much per capita trash as we produced in 1960.

I'm less concerned with the weight of trash than the volume of it and its rate of decomposition. When humans start generating dark matter as waste and it's altering the center of gravity of the Earth, then I'll concern myself with weight.

Landfills: I found a plastics trade group website that referenced an observation by a single Resources for the Future economist that the nation's trash would fit into a space three times the size of Oklahoma City, 120 feet deep, a thousand years into the future (assuming our population doesn't treble or whatever). Maybe that was your "midwestern county"?

The tell, as you like to put it, The Niche (or RedScare, I think I'm getting you mixed up - one of you really digs Walmart) there is the choice of Oklahoma City as the metric. Oklahoma City is the country's eighth-largest in land area. But they're counting on people not to know that and be suitably underwhelmed.

Midwestern counties are pretty similar in shape and size. I used them as an example because I've heard this data variously reference counties in Oklahoma (although never before the City), Missouri, and Illinois. But it could just as easily reference a county in the Texas panhandle.

If we're comparing to Oklahoma City, it has about the same land area as the City of Houston, at around 600 square miles. By comparison, Lubbock County, TX (a typical midwestern county by my estimation) has about 900 square miles. But the fact is, if the entire United States shipped all of its garbage for the next thousand years into Terry, Lynn, and a portion of Garza counties (all of which abut Lubbock County to its south), I wouldn't have the slightest bit of concern. That's a tiny land area in the grand scheme of things, and is by no means any kind of an ecological gem or a touist draw. It is basically irrelevant that it should be covered in garbage.

However, I have no interest in the social "sciences," so I'm less than useless on this subject. I asked someone much smarter than me:

Me: "Would you trust the word of an economist on natural resource issues?"

Him: "Is the economist Ray Perryman?" (that's his particular bogeyman for some reason)

Me: "No."

Him: " 'Cuz I would trust him to lie every time."

Helpful.

I concur with that sentiment. Perryman is paid to embrace and expound upon a client's opinion. He's an opinion whore.

Whatever are the precise data regarding garbage, however many counties-worth of land area might be consumed during my lifetime (which is the only relevant period of time, as a matter of global political policy), it's not a meaningful figure. We will not be swallowed up by our own filth. It is a non-concern.

Yes, plastics are getting lighter - very noticeable in the last 3 or four years (and there's a guy at UT who has made "paper" that floats in the air, incidentally) - but even the plastics industry website made no effort to claim this accounts for any large percentage of the reduction in waste going to landfills.

Again, I am unconcerned with the weight of garbage.

I am also unconcerned that a plastics advocacy group appears unconcerned with the weight of garbage or plastic bags in particular. Let's say that the world uses a trillion plastic bags per year and that a plastic bag averages about 4.5 grams in weight. That converts to slightly less than five million tons of plastic out of approximately 194 million tons produced globally. So we're talking about 2.5% of plastics production. A plastics industry advocacy group probably has bigger and less politically contentious fish to fry than local controversies regarding plastic bag production.

Please don't take this as an occasion to wonder to yourself, amid existential musings, what the Grand Canyon is for, if not to fill with trash. That would only make me sad, as in wish-I-was-never-born-sad. If you don't approve of my recyclabes going on a road trip to San Antonio every week, then you need hardly pretend that the existence of raw land Somewhere Else has much to do with solid waste utilities tasked with finding nearby landfill space, especially in agricultural areas. If it were all so simple for the nation to rid itself of 250 million tons of trash a year, I don't think my town would be entertaining the idea of investing in a trash-burning biomass facility halfway across the state.

Anyway, of course there are fewer landfills now - many of them filled up. The average size of a new landfill has also greatly increased, and capacity has been helped along by solid waste being more densely crushed than in the past. (Anaerobic landfills are also apparently creating a problematic buildup of methane from organic waste: Good News for People Who Love Bad News about greenhouse gases.) And - apart from the packaging reduction - we divert so much into recycling, even over and above how much trash we've created by diligently Not Reducing. Here, our blue bins are much larger than our grey bins. (And boy do my neighbors stuff them full: it's like Christmas all the time. Did you know cat litter comes in huge plastic jugs?)

The Grand Canyon is for aesthetic and recreational enjoyment. Oklahoma (or more meaningfully, rural parts of Waller or Fort Bend County, et al.), we can fill with trash all day long and I won't care.

I also am unconcerned with agricultural areas getting used for solid waste disposal. The amount of land used for agriculture in this country has been on a long-term decline. And again, however much land is being used for landfills is basically a non-concern.

I think that it is a good thing that there are fewer and larger landfills. I am unconcerned with greenhouse gases from anaerobic decomposition or global warming. I think that, in and of itself, an increase in economic consumption is a good thing; people should be more wealthy and enjoy being more wealthy. I am unconcerned with plastic jugs full of kitty litter.

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I don't think he has really derailed the thread. He is merely daring you to think, and to investigate. Rather than take at face value what the "greens" tell you, Niche dares you to research it for yourself. Truth be known, Niche Reduces and Reuses himself. He simply does not recycle much. But, he is just as cheap...possibly moreso...than you, and apparently for the same reasons. He, as you, sees little value in paying outrageous prices for ambiance (especially faux ambiance), or for products that you wish your friends to see you with. In fact, Niche sees right through the whole green movement. He knows that green hipsters are largely hypocrites, purchasing huge amounts of 'green' products, when simply using less of a product is actually better for the environment. He knows that Whole Foods brings in products from all over the world, at great cost of fuel, while Walmart is buying locally grown, but unhip, vegetables.

The hip are not content that you conserve. You must conserve for the right reasons. It matters not to them that Walmart is the country's largest user od solar energy, because Walmart does so to say money. It doesn't matter that buying all of your staples in one trip to Walmart saves gas. They drive their Prius to WF, Central Market and soon, Trader Joes, and buy some crap they claim saves the planet, oblivious what they did to the planet to get it.

The reason plastic is cheap is because it cost little to make it. The reason it cost so little to make is because it uses less energy. Less energy is good for the planet. That the plastic will not decompose is a dubious claim, since it will be buried in a landfill that no one will ever dig up. What does it matter? This gets us back on topic. Houston is looking to ban plastic to burnish its 'green' bonafides. We could stand to look better to the world, given our Energy Capital status. But, don't think we are saving the world by banning plastic bags. We will simply consume something else that takes more energy to produce.

This is true but the sheeps (or hipsters) can't comprehend. Don't buy something that you don't need, even it's green, or reuse what you have!

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Go read "Bill the Galatcic Hero". That is our future if we do not put a stop to disposable plastic bags. We are doomed.

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What's wrong with you people that you can't even discuss plastic bags without attacking one another?

Do I seriously have to close a thread about plastic bags?

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It turns out that plastic bags are the third rail of an urban issues forum; you might have supposed light rail was that third rail, but no, it's plastic bags. I know I'm never going to touch it again!

Did y'all know that Moscow was rebuilt from the dustheaps of London? I only learned that this year after watching "Our Mutual Friend," a TV adaptation of Dickens' great novel of garbage; and I offer it neutrally, a little snippet all (okay, some) might find interesting.

I wish you luck with getting that bag ban passed.

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We are under a plastic bag ban here in Long Beach and I'm not against it but it did give China more business for cheap bag whereas the plastic bags were made in the USA, which put those companies out of business or hurt severely (according to local article highlighting unintended consequences). :blink: Also, having these plastic bags for bathroom trashliners or small amount of smelly garbage helps. Target and the likes were except from this ban, at least for the short-term, so I still get the free small trashcan bags. :D

Keep in mind that most paper bags used domestically are also made in USA. And while they may use more energy to manufacture and cost a few cents more than plastic bags, I think they still have several advantages. They typically hold more volume per bag, especially for groceries. They are also more reusable since they don't stretch and fall apart as easily. I don't recall ever wrapping my textbooks in plastic bags as a kid, but we did use paper grocery bags. They are easily recycleable and remanufacured from recycled fibers (Whole Foods uses 100% recycled content in their paper bags). Lastly, paper decomposes quickly in the environment, unlike plastic, and it's not as likely to suffocate or cause harm by ingestion, which happens with platic bags in the wild. The only disadvantage I see is with holding liquids, so plastic bags do still have the advantage when it comes to waste receptacles.

Edited by barracuda

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Keep in mind that most paper bags used domestically are also made in USA. And while they may use more energy to manufacture and cost a few cents more than plastic bags, I think they still have several advantages. They typically hold more volume per bag, especially for groceries. They are also more reusable since they don't stretch and fall apart as easily. I don't recall ever wrapping my textbooks in plastic bags as a kid, but we did use paper grocery bags. They are easily recycleable and remanufacured from recycled fibers (Whole Foods uses 100% recycled content in their paper bags). Lastly, paper decomposes quickly in the environment, unlike plastic, and it's not as likely to suffocate or cause harm by ingestion, which happens with platic bags in the wild. The only disadvantage I see is with holding liquids, so plastic bags do still have the advantage when it comes to waste receptacles.

So...paper bags cost more and fall apart when exposed to liquids (or frozen goods that become covered in condensation), and the purported disadvantages are dubious or overblown. The advantage to plastic is absolute.

Any bagging behavior modification law will be done strictly out of human vanity, so that certain kool-aide-drinking constituents can find an excuse to give themselves a hearty and anti-intellectual pat on the back. I am not in favor of stupid people feeling good about themselves. I believe that they are more likely to breed when they feel happy, and I am especially not in favor of that.

Edited by TheNiche

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One would think the multiple deleted posts in this topic would have conveyed the message, but as a reminder:

- Keep it on the topic, not about your opinions of other posters.

- If you want to have a personal discussion with someone take it to PM so the rest of us don't have to read through catfights.

Next instance and the topic is closed.

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So...paper bags cost more and fall apart when exposed to liquids (or frozen goods that become covered in condensation), and the purported disadvantages are dubious or overblown. The advantage to plastic is absolute.

Any bagging behavior modification law will be done strictly out of human vanity, so that certain kool-aide-drinking constituents can find an excuse to give themselves a hearty and anti-intellectual pat on the back. I am not in favor of stupid people feeling good about themselves. I believe that they are more likely to breed when they feel happy, and I am especially not in favor of that.

Trying to keep it professional. Plastic bags don't biodegrade. Even though they may gradually break down into smaller pieces over centuries when exposed to UV radiation, they will be permanent components of the environment and the food chain. That's a pretty big disadvantage.

I don't really believe folks who want this ban are doing so for vanity. I suspect it's out of genuine concern for the environment, whether or not you agree that landfills and litter are negative additions to our shared landscape. According to one source, the Texas Campaign for the Environment, "Every day Houston residents consume over 1.9 million plastic bags and more than 80% of them will end up in our landfills or littering our community".

I try to avoid plastic bags mainly for practical reasons as stated earlier. Other cities seem to have implemented similar rules (as have some retailers) without too much of an inconvenience to consumers.

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Trying to keep it professional. Plastic bags don't biodegrade. Even though they may gradually break down into smaller pieces over centuries when exposed to UV radiation, they will be permanent components of the environment and the food chain.

I do not acknowledge this as fact. Cite a source or two, please.

I don't really believe folks who want this ban are doing so for vanity. I suspect it's out of genuine concern for the environment, whether or not you agree that landfills and litter are negative additions to our shared landscape. According to one source, the Texas Campaign for the Environment, "Every day Houston residents consume over 1.9 million plastic bags and more than 80% of them will end up in our landfills or littering our community".

I try to avoid plastic bags mainly for practical reasons as stated earlier. Other cities seem to have implemented similar rules (as have some retailers) without too much of an inconvenience to consumers.

As for that 80% figure from an organization that probably is staffed by a combination of narcissists and sociopaths, if 79.5% of those end up in a landfill, then that's just dandy. When they show me a breakdown of the number of plastic bags that become litter, then I might give them credence.

And as for convenience, shouldn't that be the pervue of the individual. Perhaps a better ordinance would be to make stores offer the option of both paper and plastic bags so that narcissists and ignorant people can feel good. But it wouldn't accomplish much, and as previously stated, I'm against such people feeling good.

Edited by TheNiche

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I do not acknowledge this as fact. Cite a source or two, please.

the term biodegrade means very simply that microbes and other living organisms will breakdown the material into something else, compost material, rich in nutrients and other things.

microbes and other living things do not break down plastics into anything else, they can break it down into smaller pieces of the same material, but the polyethylene used to make plastic bags only breaks down with UV radiation through photodegradation. it does take hundreds of years for this to occur. in the meantime, animals ingest plastics which are not porous, so air and water cannot penetrate. a simple way to test this is to find a nutrea and put a plastic bag over its head, watch it die. feed it to other nutrea and watch them die.

so, here's some links:

http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/water/wmb/coastal/trash/documents/marine_debris.pdf

http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/chem00/chem00560.htm

undoubtedly you're going to ignore it saying that the data they collected isn't factual, inconveniently, it is factual. I'd recommend you go find a chemical engineer and ask them yourself.

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Far from ignoring your links, Samagon, I was amazed that the plastic bags degrade in 10 to 20 years. This is far quicker than I had been led to believe.

I do have a question for those more studied on environmental issues than I. What is the problem with plastic bags buried in a landfill? The landfill was designed and operated at a repository for garbage. They contain all manner of refuse, from the quickly degrading veggies and paper, to plastic bottles and disposable diapers, which take 450 years to degrade, to glass which take a million years to degrade. They are largely isolated from dense areas, due to their unsightlyness and smell. Landfill engineering is much more advanced these days, with impermeable liners at the bottom, collection systems for toxic liquids and methane, and layers of dirt spread over layers of garbage to keep down the smell and keep away the birds.

Landfills, even those with biodegradable debris, are fairly useless for anything other than parks after they are full. With the plastics safely buried underground, what is the danger that they pose?

I realize that platic bags, sixpack rings and other debris can be hazardous to wildlife when dropped as litter. My question concerns plastics that are properly disposed in landfills. Is there some belief that landfills will suddenly become useful properties within a few years of closing, if only they did not have plastics in them?

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A couple of quick points.

In a properly designed landfill - veggies and paper are not quickly degrading. There is some degradation, but the trash layers are covered over so fast and throughly that they become anaerobic very quickly and a lot of what is thought of bio-degradable remains intact. They have dug up 20+ year old landfills and been able to read the newspapers that were buried.

Also, land which was once thought to be expendable and located too far away from anything else has a bad habit over time of becoming valuable and the next great thing. I'm sure New York would love being able to develop the couple thousand acres on Staten Island that was Fresh Kills into something besides a nice pretty urban park.

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Certainly population growth can encroach on formerly distant landfills. But, point number one is more what I am asking about. Banning plastic bags will not eliminate the landfill. It will still be full of readable newspapers and other debris.So, are we actually achieving anything? As mentioned by others, a ban on bags won't affect me much. I am single, and shop once a week. I can probably carry my weekly purchases in a couple of reusable bags, 3 at most. This is a question of efficient regulation, as it were. Will a ban achieve more than what a bag deposit would, for instance?

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Far from ignoring your links, Samagon, I was amazed that the plastic bags degrade in 10 to 20 years. This is far quicker than I had been led to believe.

No kidding! I'd tried briefly to find an answer for myself last night, but kept getting bogged down in non-scientific claims that it would take 500 to 1,000 years for plastic bags to break down in nature. I've seen where plastic bags have seemed to decompose far faster than that. And yet to my knowledge I've never seen or heard of an animal that I give two craps about dying as a result of ingesting or breathing a partially-degraded plastic bag in nature. Something just wasn't clicking.

Maybe the solution is to increase the penalty for littering (as opposed to using landfills for their intended purpose). The 8th Amendment would probably preclude caning people for spitting out gum on the sidewalk such as they do in Singapore, but that doesn't mean that it couldn't still be beefed up...even to the point that it pays for its own enforcement.

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Far from ignoring your links, Samagon, I was amazed that the plastic bags degrade in 10 to 20 years. This is far quicker than I had been led to believe.

I do have a question for those more studied on environmental issues than I. What is the problem with plastic bags buried in a landfill? The landfill was designed and operated at a repository for garbage. They contain all manner of refuse, from the quickly degrading veggies and paper, to plastic bottles and disposable diapers, which take 450 years to degrade, to glass which take a million years to degrade. They are largely isolated from dense areas, due to their unsightlyness and smell. Landfill engineering is much more advanced these days, with impermeable liners at the bottom, collection systems for toxic liquids and methane, and layers of dirt spread over layers of garbage to keep down the smell and keep away the birds.

Landfills, even those with biodegradable debris, are fairly useless for anything other than parks after they are full. With the plastics safely buried underground, what is the danger that they pose?

I realize that platic bags, sixpack rings and other debris can be hazardous to wildlife when dropped as litter. My question concerns plastics that are properly disposed in landfills. Is there some belief that landfills will suddenly become useful properties within a few years of closing, if only they did not have plastics in them?

I'm certainly not as studied as some, and my resources are admittedly just the interwebs, but plastic really only breaks down through sunlight (UV) so buried in a landfill won't help the process of decomposition.

10-20 years is certainly short compared to the 500-1000 that some reference, but for a material that can cause so much havoc and grief with the ecosystem and severely hurt the food chain, if it takes more than 1 day to decompose that's too long. I tend to agree with anyone that says they should just stop making it.

No kidding! I'd tried briefly to find an answer for myself last night, but kept getting bogged down in non-scientific claims that it would take 500 to 1,000 years for plastic bags to break down in nature. I've seen where plastic bags have seemed to decompose far faster than that. And yet to my knowledge I've never seen or heard of an animal that I give two craps about dying as a result of ingesting or breathing a partially-degraded plastic bag in nature. Something just wasn't clicking.

Maybe the solution is to increase the penalty for littering (as opposed to using landfills for their intended purpose). The 8th Amendment would probably preclude caning people for spitting out gum on the sidewalk such as they do in Singapore, but that doesn't mean that it couldn't still be beefed up...even to the point that it pays for its own enforcement.

I do wonder if the 500-1000 that is quoted for plastic bags is conveniently forgetting that they're talking about the grocery bags and not hefty bags.

Some would argue that increasing the penalty for littering is the same as banning their use outright, both methods are using government to change societal habits.... ;)

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Some would argue that increasing the penalty for littering is the same as banning their use outright, both methods are using government to change societal habits.... ;)

I disagree. The bag remains legal to make, possess and use. It is illegal already to improperly dispose of it, and the penalty would increase. Remember that littering is a form of trespass, in that the litter is disposed on property not owned by the litterer. Just as a gun is legal to possess and use, it becomes illegal to shoot it at someone. Same thing with plastic bags.

I still think a more target approach is a deposit, proceeds from which could go to litter enforcement or other environmental uses.

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I was watching Channel 2 when the topic came up about Corpus Christi planning to ban plastic bags--- At the end of the segment, the question was asked if banning the bags was a possibility for Houston, guess their story on morning news will let me know.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/07/29/3065948/corpus-christi-leaders-to-consider.html

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So that you have all the information required to form an opinion about this, the plastic bag ban has not been cited as the cause of death of anyone in Austin, Texas since it was enacted.

But don't misunderestimate: A certain number of people in Austin have in fact died this past year.

Journalists may yet uncover this, which has some pretty striking and direct implications, and it would be irresponsible of them to suppress it:

 

http://nation.foxnews.com/plastic-bags-ban/2013/02/06/san-franciscos-plastic-bag-ban-kills-about-5-people-year

 

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Reading the comments on that article made me realize something rather startling. Liberals use the same stupid logic to defend the indefensible that conservatives do. 

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So that you have all the information required to form an opinion about this, the plastic bag ban has not been cited as the cause of death of anyone in Austin, Texas since it was enacted.

But don't misunderestimate: A certain number of people in Austin have in fact died this past year.

Journalists may yet uncover this, which has some pretty striking and direct implications, and it would be irresponsible of them to suppress it:

 

http://nation.foxnews.com/plastic-bags-ban/2013/02/06/san-franciscos-plastic-bag-ban-kills-about-5-people-year

 

In other news, an average of 25 children die annually by suffocating on plastic bags. Both problems are easily fixed by parental guidance or washing in the case of reusable bags. 

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In other news, an average of 25 children die annually by suffocating on plastic bags. Both problems are easily fixed by parental guidance or washing in the case of reusable bags.

Both problems are easily fixed by parental guidance. Are the folks not washing their reusable bags the same as those who don't wash their hands after using the restroom?

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I still think a more target approach is a deposit, proceeds from which could go to litter enforcement or other environmental uses.

Or how about just making them biodegradable in the first place? Kinda like those COH approved plastic bags we already have to use for lawn trimmings.

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I found what Channel 2 had on their website concerning the plastic bag ban-

a little disappointing.

 

 

HOUSTON -

Corpus Christi city leaders are scheduled to consider whether disposable plastic bags should be banned. Which made us wonder if that ban work in Houston?

Back in March, a ban went into effect in Austin. While it was one step forward for the environment, it caused a trip back to the parking lot for some people.

Bag bans have their supporters, but some just don’t see it working here in the Bayou City.

 
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According to a government report, it takes 10 to 20 years to break down a plastic bag in the environment. A little less than the one million years it could take for a glass bottle.

Brownsville was the first Texas city to ban plastic bags back in January of 2011. South Padre Island and Fort Stockton quickly followed suit.

Some Dallas leaders are also pushing for the ban.

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10 - 20 years to break down? maybe 10 - 20 years for us to not be able to tell that it was once a plastic bag, but the plastic doesn't break down that fast, not by a big factor.

 

I can't believe they'd compare the decomposition time of what's essentially sand to that of a long chain polymer. 

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10 - 20 years to break down? maybe 10 - 20 years for us to not be able to tell that it was once a plastic bag, but the plastic doesn't break down that fast, not by a big factor.

 

I can't believe they'd compare the decomposition time of what's essentially sand to that of a long chain polymer. 

 

Glass is found naturally in caverns and nuclear test sites.

 

Just to show you a link about how harmful plastic can be in the Ocean.

 

http://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/everyday-myths/how-long-does-it-take-for-plastics-to-biodegrade.htm

 

See this list:

http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/water/wmb/coastal/trash/documents/marine_debris.pdf

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I don't think anyone is recommending we dump our bags in the Gulf. We approve of burying them in landfills.

 

Let's keep it on topic.

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I don't think anyone is recommending we dump our bags in the Gulf. We approve of burying them in landfills.

 

Let's keep it on topic.

 

I thought the ban was more beneficial for littering purposes and not just for proper disposal? I know we don't have a garbage island like the pacific but as far beautification for the city I think it could be good. But I guess it would only cut back the ones you see on the freeway, I'm sure a percentage of those come from people who got their plastic bags out of the city limits.

 

Edit: And the Bayous as well. I'm not a fan of the scary creatures that lurk beneath but I'm sure they serve some purpose (and deserve less pollution and plastic).

Edited by Montrose1100

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I'm thinking recycling might be a positive thing and more likely than a ban.

I have posted before that I like the idea of Washington DC taxing plastic bags and using the money to clean up the Potomac.

Beside Channel 2 talking about Corpus Christi, I haven't heard anything about Houston exploring the plastic bag ban further.

I surfed the net and found "plastic bag laws" http://plasticbaglaws.org/

I was wondering how many states had laws concerning plastic bags-

The site listed the states that did and I clicked on Texas and found this:

Successful Local Ordinances

◾Brownsville, TX ◾ordinance, 9/20/2010

Texas State Law

Proposed State Bills (2011 legislative session)

There are two bills currently pending in the Texas legislature that would preempt all local plastic bag ordinances in the name of plastic bag recycling. The bill would require in-store plastic bag recycling bins and mandate the availability of reasonably priced reusable bags at supermarkets. This type of law sounds innocuous, but laws like these are generally sponsored by the plastics industry with the main intention of suspending all local efforts to reduce plastic bag use. Luckily, many local environmental organizations are aware of the bills’ intentions and are urging lawmakers to remove the local preemption language. If you live in Texas, please encourage your representatives to vote NO on these bills!

◾SB 908 ◾current status

◾HB 1913 ◾current status

DISCLAIMER: This is not a complete list. plasticbaglaws.org is currently focused on California ordinances and does not have the resources to maintain a complete comprehensive national database For more comprehensive information on a national scale, we recommend Florida Department of the Environment’s Retail Bag Report website and Hilex Poly ‘s (a plastic bag manufacturer) website. plasticbaglaws.org is in no way affiliated with these organizations.

These are the states listed website that have laws concerning plastic bag bans-

Alaska

» Arizona

» California

» Colorado

» Connecticut

» Hawaii

» Indiana

» Maryland

» New York

» Oregon

» Pennsylvania

» Texas

» Vermont

» Virginia

» Washington state

» Washington D.C.

Edited by trymahjong

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Most grocery stores and many others besides including Best Buy already have recycling bins for plastic bags. I bundle mine up inside a bag or two, through them in the trunk, and drop them off every once in a while at whatever grocery store I happen to be visiting.

Edited by august948

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I recall noticing that Ft.Stockton had gotten on the bag ban bandwagon (this topic really lends itself to assonance!) and saying to Mr.l that it seemed a little surprising. He looked at me like I was clueless.

"You must not have spent much time driving around Ft.Stockton."

I'm pretty sure Ft.Stockton did not ban plastic bags because of concerns about landfill space, or how long plastic bags take to break down, or out of a cussed miserliness with respect to devoting the appropriate funds to "litter enforcement." Some people find that country bleak and evidently the view is not improved with plastic bags skewered on mesquite and barbed wire. Speaking of which, I can't think how we ever came to have so much litter, what with littering being against the law and all. I sure hope the boys in blue apprehended the scofflaw who threw the remains of their Chick Filet dinner in my yard last night!

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Speaking of which, I can't think how we ever came to have so much litter, what with littering being against the law and all. I sure hope the boys in blue apprehended the scofflaw who threw the remains of their Chick Filet dinner in my yard last night!

 

You don't strike as a particularly young person (I don't mean that rudely). As such, I am surprised that you do not remember the absolute filth that used to line every freeway and road. No, what you see today is a fraction of the litter in the 1970s. The "Don't Mess With Texas!" campaign was an act of desperation to combat the never ending and expensive litter problem. It was a smashing success. The griping we do today about litter is an attempt at cleaning up the last bit...which is always hardest.

 

Still, as a fan of the United States as a FREE country, I am always surprised at how quickly my fellow Americans jumpt to the most draconian solutions to every problem, whether it be historic preservation, drug use, or litter. Clearly, many Americans have never heard that phrase about attracting bees with honey over vinegar.

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You don't strike as a particularly young person (I don't mean that rudely). As such, I am surprised that you do not remember the absolute filth that used to line every freeway and road. No, what you see today is a fraction of the litter in the 1970s. The "Don't Mess With Texas!" campaign was an act of desperation to combat the never ending and expensive litter problem. It was a smashing success. The griping we do today about litter is an attempt at cleaning up the last bit...which is always hardest.

Still, as a fan of the United States as a FREE country, I am always surprised at how quickly my fellow Americans jumpt to the most draconian solutions to every problem, whether it be historic preservation, drug use, or litter. Clearly, many Americans have never heard that phrase about attracting bees with honey over vinegar.

Not all Americans drive a car that should have Union Jack on the roof... So your point is invalid. Edited by Montrose1100

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Not all Americans drive a car that should have Union Jack on the roof... So your point is invalid.

yes, but if your car has honey on the roof, it will attract bees.

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yes, but if your car has honey on the roof, it will attract bees.

 

No.   It will attract flies.

Edited by august948

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You don't strike as a particularly young person (I don't mean that rudely).

 

I'm thirteen (talk to me, RedScare!) so I can't remember that, but the plastic bags have been singled because they are a particular nuisance/eyesore.

Even the late, great Ed Abbey threw his beer cans out the window.

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In that case, you run along and play with your Barbie dolls while us adults discuss the political implications of bans versus deposits.

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I recall noticing that Ft.Stockton had gotten on the bag ban bandwagon (this topic really lends itself to assonance!) and saying to Mr.l that it seemed a little surprising. He looked at me like I was clueless.

 

Speaking of which, is Mr. L Jerry Lee Lewis?

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I'm thirteen (talk to me, RedScare!) so I can't remember that, but the plastic bags have been singled because they are a particular nuisance/eyesore.

Even the late, great Ed Abbey threw his beer cans out the window.

 

My only personal experience with being 13 lasted only a year, and at the time I held acquaintance with many of my contemporaries.

 

Currently, some of my friends have children that are at or around 13 years of age.

 

It is with this wizened experience that I would like to state unequivocally that you are the most well spoken 13 year old in the history of the world.

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Speaking of which, is Mr. L Jerry Lee Lewis?

 

I'm a little baffled, given the erosion of private life I've seen in my 95 years (I was just kidding about thirteen, but I am "spry"; mr. L is my little teacup chihuahua disagreeable old Manx cat), at the intrusion the plastic bag ban represents to you. Near as I can tell, government's goal here -- which I readily grant, you do not share or are indifferent to, so welcome to my world about 75% of the time -- is to reduce plastic bags in the environment and in the waste stream. In another post you may have outlined, but I didn't see, how a deposit system would work -- would you pay a nickel for the bag, and get it back when you returned it for proper disposal? -- but that seems a good deal more cumbersome than asking the consumer to pay for the bags explicitly (anyone to whose quality of life they are important can buy a box of them, I believe at Home Depot, and savor their freedom to use them when they follow their dog around, picking up its leavings, as required by law) rather than tacitly pay for them as part of the cost of their groceries. I don't argue that people didn't choose the bags before, by accepting their groceries in them, but this is hardly the first time government has stepped in to mandate a change in consumer behavior.

I suppose it could be said that the change will fall hardest on the dog-owning poor. Only in America.   

Edited by luciaphile

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You should not assume my intentions. I very much prefer a clean and unspoiled environment. What I do not prefer is the persistent erosion of civil liberties, and worse the willingness of the populace to give them up. I do not wish plastic bags upon the landscape. I simply ask...continually...why must we go straight for the draconian ban. There are other options that may be as or more effective. We see everywhere the consequences of zero tolerances policies and laws, yet we continue to take the easy solution of banning things.

 

Is there no one that will stoop to my level and debate options, such as rebates or taxes on bags? Are you too lazy, or simply afraid that I will crush you with unrelenting logic?

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Is there no one that will stoop to my level and debate options, such as rebates or taxes on bags? Are you too lazy, or simply afraid that I will crush you with unrelenting logic?

I'm always happy to stoop, or in some cases climb, to a level for a good debate. I propose requiring the bags be made of biodegradable, plant-based materials. Making them biodegradable in the first place will eliminate those who don't or won't recycle them from the equation as it won't matter. What say you?

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Om a very tenuously related side note, I discovered while following some links on biodegradable plastic bags that the Aldi's stores that have come to Houston recently are ultimately owned by a German company, Aldi Einkauf GmbH & Compagnie, oHG, which runs the local Aldi's under it's Aldi Sud division and owns and runs Trader Joes's under it's Aldi Nord division.

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I am a big fan of protecting civil liberties, but have a hard time getting fired up over a possible ban on plastic bags at grocery stores.  I am more concerned about the government mandating women shove cameras up their vaginas, but hey, that's just me!

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You should not assume my intentions. I very much prefer a clean and unspoiled environment.

 

And here I was, thinking your hobby was fouling pristine waters. I am so, so sorry.

 

Is there no one that will stoop to my level and debate options, such as rebates or taxes on bags? Are you too lazy, or simply afraid that I will crush you with unrelenting logic?

 

In re the crushing, you must be going easy on us so far. Though, being a woman, I'm safe from being crushed by logic in any case. Crushed by anecdote -- now that is a constant peril.

There is not a pastic bag rebate's worth of difference to me, between government telling me not to use a pastic bag and its launching a campaign to convince me I don't wish to use plastic bags*; so I put it to Mr.l (however, I didn't mention the word rebate, as I've observed he has a strongly negative reaction to it, connected to a quest one time to win back $50 from a contact lens manufacturer):

"It's pretty basic." (Go on.) "Well, you ban something you want everyone to stop doing, through legal or social means. The latter is more powerful, obviously. {Obvious to him: conservative.} You incentivize something you want people to tend to do. You want to get rid of DDT - you ban it. You want people to buy solar panels - you incentivize it. The problem is you have these competing ideologies: liberals want to ban everything, libertarians want to incentivize everything. The reality is, different cases require different tools."

And plastic bags?

"Well, that's pretty easy; the great thing about things that are really unimportant is, no one will remember they wanted them -- in a generation, no one will remember they used to carry plastic bags, though right now they think they want them."

Ban or no ban, it's nothing to him, but like KinkaidAlum, it would not occur to him to oppose it. Anyway, he definitely shares my aversion to Process, and so the advantages of an elaborate carrot-and-stick program to discourage plastic bag use would probably be lost on him, as they certainly are on me. I am constitutionally unsuited to enter into such a discussion. You could easily crush me that way.

The idea in my town was not to get people to "tend not to" use bags for philosophical reasons. There is no general anti-plastic bias at work. Those who brought us the ban are very much pro-recycling, which is certainly all about the plastics industry. There has been no mention of reducing the use of plastic containers generally.

The goal was to eliminate plastic bags in the local environment completely, so that's why I think a ban was appropriate. Along those lines, where the particular litter challenge posed by plastic bags is not high among the public's concerns, one would expect neither an incentive nor a ban. Perhaps Houston is such a place.

 

*I'm not sure why, since I grew up with them, and they were effective on me -- I will go to my grave hoot-hoot-not-pollutiing and turning out the light when I leave a room - I would sooner stub my toe than leave a light burning -- but I now find public service campaigns about as obnoxious as you do bag bans. Maybe because I see them as infantilizing. (Perhaps they really are best aimed at children.) This reached a pitch when driving once into the Navajo town of Window Rock: mile after mile of dreary public service billboards, some quite gruesome, the whole effect giddily tragicomic. "They kept but one promise, they promised to take our land and they took it; and then they covered the res with government billboards warning us to stay off meth." Yuck.

Edited by luciaphile

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Honestly, I am not so worked up over plastic bags that I would lift more fingers than it took to type this post. As I have taken up cycling again to improve my health (along with quitting smoking), I enjoy the generally litter free ride along the bike trails in Houston. I know those bags are somewhere, but I do not recall seeing any yesterday. I simply have concern that we've moved toward too much "Just Say No!" government. As for biodegradable bags, I submit that these bags will still litter the countryside and bays. They will just degrade a bit sooner than the 10-20 years the current version takes. Charging for bags will result in fewer bags in the bay. However, there is still likely more intelligent debate on the matter in this thread than in most city councils who take up the issue.

 

What I see litterwise more than bags is styrofoam cups. Cans have disappeared due to aluminum costs, but the styro remains. If we must ban something, maybe those cups should be the target.

 

 

 

EDIT: Oh, and don't get me started on public service ads. I cannot tell you how many extra cigarettes I have smoked after watching a stupid ad telling me to quit smoking. There is nothing worse than a sanctimonious non-smoker giving advice of ANY kind, but especially smokers. Do these people have any idea how many teens took up smoking so as NOT to look like the douchebags on the anti-smoking ads? 

 

I am thankful that I was able to quit smoking in spite of the anti-smoking ads.

Edited by RedScare
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