Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Plastic Vs. Paper: A Gap In Logic

I've been doing a lot of reading about the pros and cons of both paper and plastic bags that you get at a grocery store, and the bottom line is they both suck.

Paper is bad because you are chopping down trees and it is more difficult to transport to end consumers, and plastic is bad because while it is less energy intensive to recycle, only 5% of plastic bags are ever turned in to be recycled, leaving 95% of the bags created to floats around the waste stream for 1000+ years.

One solution to this problem was to apply a bag tax on consumers in Washington, DC. This worked wonderfully for their situation because the money collected through these fees was turned around and used to clean up the Anacostia River. However, I realize that this isn't the solution for everywhere because you don't always have an environmental concern to apply the taxed money towards.

With that said, I still don't understand the gaps in logic displayed by some readers in the comments section of websites. Here is a truly inspired response from a person I will call Stubborn McAsshat:
"If a tax happens, I'll simply request paper...Additionally, I will probably visit grocery stores in other towns more frequently, get my stuff in the plastic bag and drive the bags to be recycled some time down the road."
Here is a person that knows that plastic bags are bad, but they are still so stubborn towards any form of a tax that they are willing to burn more gas just to avoid an additional plastic bag fee. Keep in mind that the tax they are referring to is a $0.05 fee for each plastic bag.

I truly do believe that incentive programs are the way to go so that you are rewarding consumers who use reusable bags instead of penalizing consumers with taxes, but when I see people acknowledge that their current habits are bad and still continue forward with them - it makes me angry.

But I digress! It is 60 Degrees outside and I'm going to ride my bike for the first time in forever!

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