is plastic ban really the best for the environment

jmitw

someone posted this link on nj.com in response to another town banning plastic

;fbclid=IwAR3OD8AxWnn8KY6cmD3jsqLAjum52fKWOdRfcAQ1quSCXbQAfoLMsMKXnvw

BG9

I posted some time ago that its not so easy and clear as claimed by some:

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-47027792

In 2011 a research paper produced by the Northern Ireland Assembly said it "takes more than four times as much energy to manufacture a paper bag as it does to manufacture a plastic bag."

Unlike plastic bags (which the report says are produced from the waste products of oil refining) paper requires forests to be cut down to produce the bags. The manufacturing process, according to the research, also produces a higher concentration of toxic chemicals compared with making single-use plastic bags.

Paper bags also weigh more than plastic; this means transportation requires more energy, adding to their carbon footprint, the study adds.


Klinker

BG9 said:

I posted some time ago that its not so easy and clear as claimed by some:

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-47027792

In 2011 a research paper produced by the Northern Ireland Assembly said it "takes more than four times as much energy to manufacture a paper bag as it does to manufacture a plastic bag."

Unlike plastic bags (which the report says are produced from the waste products of oil refining) paper requires forests to be cut down to produce the bags. The manufacturing process, according to the research, also produces a higher concentration of toxic chemicals compared with making single-use plastic bags.

Paper bags also weigh more than plastic; this means transportation requires more energy, adding to their carbon footprint, the study adds.

 The idea that plastic bans=use paper bags is obviously faulty.  I just carry a reusable bag in my back pack.  I got the one that is in there now on a trip to Oregon in 2014 and I have probably used it thousands of times.


jmitw

the video even says the cotton 'reusable' ones are worse...don't remember the number, but need to be used for many years to have less environmental impact.  The cheap ones seem to rip or just become brittle quickly and need to be replaced often.  I would be surprised if any of mine last a year...and I don't use them much....as I re use grocery store bags for garbage and other things....so I mostly get plastic bags at stores.

true some 'reusable' bags hold more, but when you are disabled and can't carry more, you need more bags.  I do like large 'reusable' bags for some very light things like tissues or a bulk pack of toilet paper to make it easier to carry


Klinker

jmitw said:

the video even says the cotton 'reusable' ones are worse...don't remember the number, but need to be used for many years to have less environmental impact.  The cheap ones seem to rip or just become brittle quickly and need to be replaced often.  I would be surprised if any of mine last a year...and I don't use them much....as I re use grocery store bags for garbage and other things....so I mostly get plastic bags at stores.

true some 'reusable' bags hold more, but when you are disabled and can't carry more, you need more bags.  I do like large 'reusable' bags for some very light things like tissues or a bulk pack of toilet paper to make it easier to carry

 I'm not sure where you get your "reusable" bags but, like I say, mine have been going for years and I anticipate using them for years to come.  Its like anything else, I suppose.  Most are relatively well made but some are lemons.  

As for the handicapped issue, I am not sure what about a reusable bag would make it harder to carry than a fragile single use plastic bag. 


Klinker

You see a lot of these "studies" on the internet.  I can't speak to this one in particular but I know that people have followed the money on a number of them and the trail almost always leads back to the petroleum industry.  They have a lot of reasons to try to muddy these waters.


joan_crystal

Yes, no, and maybe.  It depends on what part of the environment you are focused on and just how restrictive the individual municipal ordinance happens to be.  

Much of the discussion on banning single use plastic bags focuses on the damage being done to the world's marine and aquatic wildlife by plastic finding its way into the ocean and then into the food chain.  If that is the part of the environment that concerns you, reducing the amount of plastic in the waste stream will help the environment.  

However, other forms of disposable plastic: plastic wrap, plastic storage bags, plastic garbage bags, beverages sold in plastic containers, plastic dry cleaning bags, plastic bags used for newspaper and circular delivery, etc.  all pose at least as much of a threat to our oceans and food chain as single use plastic bags.  None of them are covered by our local plastic bag ordinances because our municipalities do not have control over the production and distribution of most of these items.

Then there is the question of whether the municipal level is the proper level of government at which to address this problem.  If some municipalities pass such ordinances and others don't consumers wanting single use plastic bags will just go to a store in a municipality where they are still on offer.

Finally, there is the question of what will be on offer instead of the plastic bags that are on offer.  Each option impacts the environment in a different way:  the materials used to produce them, the the energy required in manufacture, the life span of the replacement.  

There really is no easy answer to your question.


FilmCarp

I think there is an easy answer.  Use reusable bags.  Then, start working on replacements for the other ones you are referencing.   Just because it doesn't solve every problem is no reason to stop a good idea.  


joanne

I use strong baskets that are around 15 years old. Most of my shopping bags (including insulated hot/cold bags) are around 3-8 years old and many are repurposed from clothing or hardware stores. The bags are canvas, calico, hessian and a couple are that horrid new plastic-like material. I’ll often take my own storage containers (glass or durable plastic) to various shops like butchers or health food instead of using their wraps; they merely weigh the container first so I pay for true weight. 

I’m mostly shopping the way we did when I was a child. What’s hard or outlandish about that?


joanne

Oh! The fun thing I’ve started to do lately is collect the small square bread tags! Do you know Bread Tags for Wheelchairs, the Californian charity? They recycle the plastic tags, and money raised buys wheelchairs for people who can’t afford them. cheese

There’s a branch over here, and we’ve adopted this as our work Christmas project this year. 


jmitw

Klinker said:

jmitw said:

the video even says the cotton 'reusable' ones are worse...don't remember the number, but need to be used for many years to have less environmental impact.  The cheap ones seem to rip or just become brittle quickly and need to be replaced often.  I would be surprised if any of mine last a year...and I don't use them much....as I re use grocery store bags for garbage and other things....so I mostly get plastic bags at stores.

true some 'reusable' bags hold more, but when you are disabled and can't carry more, you need more bags.  I do like large 'reusable' bags for some very light things like tissues or a bulk pack of toilet paper to make it easier to carry

 I'm not sure where you get your "reusable" bags but, like I say, mine have been going for years and I anticipate using them for years to come.  Its like anything else, I suppose.  Most are relatively well made but some are lemons.  

As for the handicapped issue, I am not sure what about a reusable bag would make it harder to carry than a fragile single use plastic bag. 

 the bags that didn't last were the ones hung by the registers at various stores...and the point is that just because the bag is larger doesn't mean a person is using less bags.....some people like me who are disabled can't fill the bags because it is too heavy....so we would need 2-3x as many reusable bags as a reasonably healthy person as we can only 1/4 or half fill them so they are not so heavy..never said it was harder to use..


jmitw

FilmCarp said:

I think there is an easy answer.  Use reusable bags.  Then, start working on replacements for the other ones you are referencing.   Just because it doesn't solve every problem is no reason to stop a good idea.  

 but the point of the video is that the reusable ones (supposedly) are NOT a good thing..it is NOT the easy answer to environmental issues according to the video.


DaveSchmidt

Klinker said:

 I'm not sure where you get your "reusable" bags but, like I say, mine have been going for years and I anticipate using them for years to come.  Its like anything else, I suppose.  Most are relatively well made but some are lemons. 

Same here. A handle tore off one because I overloaded it. Otherwise, seven or eight have gotten me through 10-plus years of weekly groceries.


Klinker

jmitw said:

FilmCarp said:

I think there is an easy answer.  Use reusable bags.  Then, start working on replacements for the other ones you are referencing.   Just because it doesn't solve every problem is no reason to stop a good idea.  

 but the point of the video is that the reusable ones (supposedly) are NOT a good thing..it is NOT the easy answer to environmental issues according to the video.

 Who made the video? 

Generally speaking, it seems to me like you need to do some shopping for better reusable bags. You can't say that all cars are junk just because the Yugo and the Pinto you got cheap didn't work out.


HatsOff

The only bags referenced in that video are cotton totes. How many people do you see shopping with cotton totes? I never have, and I have been using reusable bags for years.

Cotton is a really sneaky example to use because most people think cotton = natural = environmentally friendly. But cotton is actually usually a very bad choice environmentally as (unless organic) takes a ton of pesticides to grow. Dye processes used on cotton are more toxic than dyes used on other fibers. Organic cotton is comparatively very expensive because the cotton plant is so prone to insect damage. Cotton abrades easily and degrades over time.

I have been using the same lightweight, highly portable nylon shopping bags for at least five years now. They are still as good as the day I bought them, and pack so small that it is easy to keep them in my pocketbook at all times. So they have probably been exposed to a lot of wear just from riding around in my bag as well as transporting groceries and other things many times. I can put a ton more weight in them than in the same size disposable plastic. Nylon is not free from an environmental standpoint, but given how long they have lasted and promise to keep lasting, I am certain they will go way past the break-even point compared to disposable plastic. Probably passed it a couple years ago.

These are shaped exactly like the disposable plastic bags so if the specific shape is an issue, give them a try. baggu ... this is not an ad, I have no relationship to this company. they are pricey but there are similar bags on Amazon that cost a lot less and get high ratings.




joanne

Two of my unbleached calico bags were bought 28 years ago from the Rock’n’Roll Fruit Bowl in Rocklea, Brisbane. The handles are still strong, the cloth bags are still entire and strong, they go into the machine for wash any time they get grubby. They hold more than most supermarket plastic bags, as were designed to carry potatoes, pumpkins and sweet potatoes as well as melons, apples, pineapples and eggs. They live with the baskets and other bags in the boot of my car, ready for the weekly shop.

We’ve got large hessian bread bags from the bakers, that we bought 8 years ago, and two smaller ones that we bought this year. They’re strong and durable and over time make up for  the energy investment producing them. 

When these calico and hessian bags wear out, they can be recycled into weed mats in our garden.



Klinker

The truth is that using recyclable bags is easier and more convenient.  It is just a matter of getting people to change their deeply engrained habits.  

Effecting that change is the real challenge and the millions that are being spent by the petroleum industry prevent it are not helping.


jmitw

Klinker said:

 Who made the video? 

Generally speaking, it seems to me like you need to do some shopping for better reusable bags. You can't say that all cars are junk just because the Yugo and the Pinto you got cheap didn't work out.

 seems to me you should donate good quality reusable bags to poor disabled people like me.....and also buy us garbage bags since its getting harder to get them for free......

the bags that have just fallen apart were from Marshalls, grocery stores....the ones the environmentalists insist you can get for $1 and they will last and help the environment..

I don't have $50 to spend on bags.....

THE TRUTH is that NO REUSABLE BAGS are NOT easier  and more convenient for EVERYONE...

and if you want to know who made the video, watch the video, it says...


Klinker

jmitw said:

Klinker said:

 Who made the video? 

Generally speaking, it seems to me like you need to do some shopping for better reusable bags. You can't say that all cars are junk just because the Yugo and the Pinto you got cheap didn't work out.

 seems to me you should donate good quality reusable bags to poor disabled people like me.....and also buy us garbage bags since its getting harder to get them for free......

the bags that have just fallen apart were from Marshalls, grocery stores....the ones the environmentalists insist you can get for $1 and they will last and help the environment..

I don't have $50 to spend on bags.....

THE TRUTH is that NO REUSABLE BAGS are NOT easier  and more convenient for EVERYONE...

and if you want to know who made the video, watch the video, it says...

No need to shout. 

You are aware that the plastic bags at the store were not "free" are you not?  The cost of providing them was built into the cost of the goods you purchased.


Klinker

I am not unsympathetic but I think the current system is untenable and need to change.  There were people who were inconvenienced by the change from leaded gas to unleaded but that doesn't mean that we should still be buying leaded gas.


joan_crystal

@jmitw: Maplewood recently conducted a drive to collect reusable bags for those who cannot afford them.  I donated twelve.  I am sure others donated extra bags as well.  I do not know who distributed the bags collected or how the recipients were selected.  Perhaps someone on the green team or in the town government would know.


the18thletter

A positive of an empty nest. Couldn't imagine shopping for 7 and having to provide my own bags. It used to take 5 people to unload the truck back then lol


yahooyahoo

The choice should be reusable versus single use.

Both paper and plastic bags are a huge waste of resources.  Plastic bags are worse, in my opinion, because they persist in the environment for a very long time versus paper bags.


sac

I’ve been using reusable bags for 20+ years and have only discarded one or two. A few of them have been stapled/duct taped here or there. I can’t imagine that this is worse for the environment than the plastic bags I didn’t use as a result.


yahooyahoo

jmitw said:

someone posted this link on nj.com in response to another town banning plastic

;fbclid=IwAR3OD8AxWnn8KY6cmD3jsqLAjum52fKWOdRfcAQ1quSCXbQAfoLMsMKXnvw

If you watch this full video and go to Youtube and look at the other videos on the "Just Facts" channel, it is clear this is a conservative propaganda channel for whomever does not believe in things like climate change, gun control, women's health, etc.

In this video, they conveniently assume all plastic bags end up in landfill and never enter the environment again, which of course is BS.


joanne

Have just read a fascinating article on how Cocos Islands manages waste, including plastic shopping bags. For me, what really appeals is the shopping bags concept - their resident community is small but is hugely multiplied by tourists, so it's vital to control the kind of 'companion waste' consumers tend not to even see.

The big stores have communal 'boomerang bags' bins. You choose your appropriately sized bags for today's shopping, and then next time you're passing the store, you return the bags. Simple. 


spontaneous

There is a Health food store near me that does that.  They have a coat tree near the front door with reusable bags in case you forgot to bring one that day.  


BG9

Nice concept but I wonder how that would work in NYC. By experience I know that after awhile 1 in 20 bags will be infested with bed bugs. They're small litter buggers, hard to see.


joanne

Presumably, as the bag bins are located in food shops, the Food Safety Standards would apply and shopkeepers and their staff would check for pests (as they do other storage areas, and other containers).  Any sign of contamination would mean thorough cleaning, decontamination and also certified pest treatment. Affected bags would need to be destroyed. 




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