Friday, June 11, 2010

Why are Michiganders still using ethylene polymerization to get our groceries to the car?

California is on the verge of banning single-use plastic bags: Well, not really banning them. You can buy them at 5 cents/per … a cost that has dramatically reduced their use in cities that instituted such rules.

Californians apparently average about 552 bags per person per year. Pretty much to get groceries to the car, then to the kitchen. (And maybe to scoop up some dog crap later.)

The new rule means less waste in the landfill, small reduction in oil consumption (it takes oil to make plastic). And reduced cost for merchants. I like it. This is America after all. And shoppers will retain their freedom to wastefully consume natural resource and pollute with wanton abandon. They just have to pay for it. That’s the American way.

In Michigan, we’re not early adopters of good environmental ideas (we used to be). If we proposed such a bold step, the timid crew that rules our State Senate would scamper to their lobbyist friends chattering in fear. It would not see the light of day.

Yes, you can recycle bags in a lot of places these days. But as this sequence shows (click through the arrows) recycling saves only one step in the intensive chemical processes used to create plastic bags.

We’ll get a bag fee in Michigan someday, friends. Because it should not take a process called ethylene polymerization to get our groceries home.


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