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Brickbat: All the Modern Inconveniences

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Starting March 1, most plastic bags will be banned in the state of New York. The plastic bags used in the produce and meat sections of grocery stores will remain legal. But most single-use plastic bags will be banned. However, some consumers say they actually use  "single use" bags more than once, and the ban will cost them money. "I reuse these for my cat litter and my garbage because we have to put the garbage down the chute, so if I don't have these I have to buy," one woman told a New York City TV station.

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  1. So….

    The science on this has been done. Disposable plastic bags have the smallest ecological footprint. Paper is next…. But you would have to re-use those a few times.

    The re-usable plastic bags would have to be used for years to be equal to the disposables. And the worst of all? The supposedly ecco friendly organic cotton bag. You would have to use that one for a century or more.

    But these are the guys who say they want everything to be science based.

    1. Oh… And surprisingly, plastic manufacturers like these bans. Because they sell more of the expensive, higher quality disposable bags for your trash, etc. And the reusable plastic bags add up to more than the disposable bags they replace.

  2. Just a handful of countries in Asia account for 95% of the plastic in oceans, and not because of grocery bags but because their waste processing sucks.

    Those plastic bag bans, just like plastic straw bans, are nothing more than virtue signaling by useless, brain dead politicians.

    1. “…by useless, brain dead politicians.”

      But really, is there any other kind?

      1. Unfortunately, yes. The useless, brain dead ones are far less harmful than the malicious smart ones. Just look at Bernie Sanders – for years he just took up space in Congress and did nothing but now that he’s actually doing something he’s far more dangerous.

        1. Looks at you, confusing Bernie for smart.

          He is much more da gerous now though and it still baffles me that a rich old white guy is the new symbol for inclusion.

      2. People (voters) get what they deserve, right?

    2. My city banned plastic straws. Because of the great Pacific Gyre and the “island of plastic”.

      Now… never mind that the US only accounts for 2% of plastic in the Pacific. Or that plastic straws account for a tiny fraction of 1% of that 2%. No, the really funny part of that is that we are located on the other side of the continent! It would take some sort of miraculous crossing of a pair of European swallows confusing east-west for north-south on their migration and an unlikely obsession with straw carrying to get a straw from a discarded McDonald’s meal across 3,000 miles of continent and into the Pacific Ocean.

      1. According to Jambeck et al. (2015) the US is responsible for just over 1% of all ocean plastic waste, so at most our contribution to the new garbage continent there can’t be more than about 0.5%

        Unless the swallows are very busy.

        1. I call bullshit on even 1% for the USA.

          Littering is not really a problem in the USA. Even if stray plastics from accidental sources were a problem, that would mostly be inland USA. Fishing or other coastal activities maybe but if you have ever seen rivers in Manila, you know which countries are dumping trash into the oceans.

          1. Littering is a huge issue in the US.

            Plastic bags can be carried vast distances in the right wind conditions.

            That said the goal of reducing plastic waste won’t happen with these bans.

            The main issue with them is environmental clean up and disposal costs.

            The cost is enormous to cities and regions that have to sweep up, sort and then dispose of them.

            Plastic bags are expensive to regional infrastructure and the plastic bag manufacturers don’t have to bear the cost of that aspect of their product.

            The taxpayer does. So it’s a subsidy.

            Now if bags can degrade in situ then that cost is cut significantly. A paper bag will turn to mush in a day and be completely disintegrated in a month or two.

            A biodegradable bag in 6 months or so.

            Beyond that the overuse of plastic in general is an issue and those plastics aren’t banned even though they also come with an infrastructural disposal cost we pay for via taxes.

            Ultimately though consumers need to drive the anti plastic movement. Personally it drives me nuts that everything in a plastic (say cough drops) is then wrapped each in an aluminized plastic pouch that’s a pain in the neck to get open.

            Then I have hundreds of tiny plastic bits to deal with. If it was just a wed paper like it used to be if one blew away no biggie because I knew it would degrade pretty quickly.

            From a consumer side plastics are a pain in the neck.

    3. And most of that Asian plastic is actually discarded gear (nets, crates, etc) from fishing boats, not consumer waste at all

  3. I go to the grocery store and buy a pound of bacon wrapped in plastic, a loaf of bread in a plastic bag, a gallon of milk in a plastic jug, a pack of napkins wrapped in plastic, a salad in a plastic box, and a plastic bottle of mustard and ketchup. Yet somehow the very convenient bag I use to carry all this to my car and into my house is the problem?

    1. Spot on.

  4. I re-use mine for all sorts of things. It’s just another example of the government trying to “do something” just for the sake of appearance.

    1. Well, that and mission creep. Especially social engineering.

  5. Isn’t the placement of indestructible plastic in a landfill an example of carbon sequestration? Isn’t that a good thing?

    1. Except the plastic in question is highly destructible. At least in proper landfills.

  6. I reuse mine for emptying the cat box too. It saves me a fricken mint.

    1. Plus, those plastic bags for that purpose suck IMO.

      I can pack 2 tons of cat crap into an old grocery store bag for a week.

    2. The vegetable bags are still ok to give away for free. I use those for scoopable cat litter because they almost never have holes.

  7. It has nothing to do with the environment. DeBlasio has stated that it is a strike against “Big Petroleum”.

    1. As the article linked above says, eliminating these disposable grocery bags is a net plus for the plastic producing industry. They sell less of the super thin grocery bags, but they sell more of the much, much thicker reusable plastic bags. But more than that, they also end up selling more of the much thicker plastic garbage bags and other sorts of bags that people have to buy to replace the free single-use grocery bags that they’ve been pressing into service.

      So “big petroleum” actually isn’t opposed to these sorts of bans. Turns out, it is a net positive for them.

  8. Now I have to buy trash bags to suffocate Nazis.

    -Antifa

  9. You can carry an amazing amount of groceries from your car to your seventh floor condo in a single trip using those plastic bags.

  10. Good the people of NY deserve it.

  11. bags used in the produce and meat sections of grocery stores will remain legal. But most single-use plastic bags will be banned

    Heh, ‘contaminated with blood from meat and e.coli from organic veggies after the first use’ =/= ‘single-use’.

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  13. I left a lawnmower at the back of my lot. The engine was protected by a plastic bag. The sun caused it to vanish in about a year.

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