Sunday, January 8, 2017

Paper Or Plastic?

Newspapers still deliver irony
Do Phone Books count?

You have to wonder if the venerable Daily Hampshire Gazette would have spewed such lavish editorial praise for Amherst Town Meeting if the plastic bag ban did not contain a special exemption for newspapers?

 Click to enlarge/read

I suppose the cheap paper bags that are now the fall back are recyclable, but I still wonder if the death of trees to produce them isn't more of a stress on the environment than microscopically thin plastic bags,

The Select Board will hear a Solid Waste Master Plan report from the Recycling & Refuse Management Committee on Monday night and considering one of their own was the petitioner responsible for the plastic bag ban, I'm pretty sure this issue will come up.  

Since the word "Recycling" comes before "Refuse" in their committee name it kind of gives you an idea of their end goal.  In fact their stated mission now is an overly ambitious "zero waste."

And by God they are willing to enact more bans and bylaws to make it happen, even if it tramples on the all American value for competition.

For instance they want to whittle down the seven private trash/recycling haulers in town to just one (or maybe three at most) for the good of the environment because, "Individual choice has a high financial and environmental price for the whole community."

Yeah, that damn "individual choice" thing.  Yikes!

From the Solid Waste manifesto

Because if I don't like the service I get from Amherst Trucking even after 20+ years with them, I can simply switch to Duseau Trucking, another long time family run business.

 Amherst Trucking has around 3,000 household accounts and most downtown businesses

But you would think with the unmistakable logo on the side of Amherst Trucking's expensive machines the town would get an inkling of how important recycling is to them.

And whatever they pull out of the waste stream and redirect to recycling is less tipping cost for them so they have an incentive to so so without governmental heavy handedness.

When companies compete -- especially for your services -- they get better.  The Select Board should tread carefully when messing with the market.  Like trash itself, it could get messy.


Anonymous said...

"the death of trees to produce them isn't more of a stress on the environment"

If only it was possible to grow new trees!

Larry Kelley said...

And how long does it take for a tree to fully mature? And how much does irrigation and fertilizer cost?

Anonymous said...

Plastic bags have been a worldwide scourge that people are just waking up to. And the alternative is reusable cloth bags, not just paper bags.

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to a simple rubberband around a newspaper?

And having young trees growing from replanted forests is great for carbon dioxide absorption which is why the New England forests are one of the biggest absorbers of carbon dioxide on earth.

Anonymous said...

Cloth bags oh goody, now you have to wash them. Soap-phosphates, waste fresh water. We all know how clean and thoughtful are neighbors truly are. Here have some bacteria I have been wanting to share with everyone at the store. Paper bags, now there is a real waste. Plastic bags are multi-use and a little common sense goes a long way. But this is Amherst we never get it right.

Anonymous said...

Larry, you do know where fertilizer is made from, don't you?
(Hint: Exxon drills for it...)

And paper mills use lots of water and create lots of pollution.

Dr. Ed said...

"Individual choice has a high financial and environmental price for the whole community."

Larry, all I can say is "Seig Heil!"

This is textbook fascism -- the goal being to force everyone to comply with their choices rather than make their own.

And Larry, the goal is to prevent you from having the option of switching.

Anonymous said...

"This is textbook fascism."

And this blog is textbook reality

Anonymous said...

Anon are just being silly with your talk of bacteria...and Ed is the usual moron...

Dr. Ed said...

Anon are just being silly with your talk of bacteria...

Actually not. Even though plastic is really hot when melted, recycled plastic milk bottles can not be reused for food products. Bacteria.

It is illegal to re-use cardboard egg containers for similar reasons -- small grocery stores used to buy eggs in bulk and refill cartons returned by customers.

And the Jewish Kosher Laws, with the segregation of meat & milk, are based on some very valid science. So hava a little milk, a little meat juice, and then sit in your hot trunk for a weeh. Then put apples into it -- Oh Boy....

Anonymous said...

Paper or plastic? Plastic. You can string em on your arms and make fewer trips. They don't rip like paper does. Groceries solatting and cans rolling in the parking lot.

Anonymous said...

O fer chrissake.

Nina Koch said...

Many plastic bags end up in the ocean, where they are killing marine life. Even if environmental concerns aren't high on your list of priorities, you might consider the effect on our economy. New England fisheries are already in big trouble.

Top Ten Facts about Plastic Bags in our Oceans

1) Americans use more than 100 billion plastic bags each year, more than 300 bags per person per year.
2) Plastic bags are used for an average of 12 minutes, but a single plastic bag has a life expectancy of up to 1,000 years.
3) During the 2011 International Coastal Cleanup, volunteers collected 120,450 pounds of bags in the United States. In Massachusetts alone, CLEANSWEEP volunteers collected 5,712 pounds of plastic bags, one of the most common forms of litter found.
4) In the ocean, plastics break down into small, plankton-sized particles that can outnumber plankton six to one. These pieces collect toxins like PCBs and DDT at levels up to 1,000,000 times the levels found in seawater.
5) Marine wildlife often mistake plastic bags for food, especially sea turtles hunting jellyfish. In fact, high amounts of plastic material, especially plastic bags, have been found blocking the breathing passages and stomachs of many marine species, including whales, dolphins, seals, puffins, and turtles.
6) In the middle of the Atlantic, there is an area that spans the distance between Virginia to Cuba called the Great Atlantic Garbage Patch: a soup of plastic with up to 26 million plastic particles per square kilometer.
7) 85 percent of all sea turtles will be injured or killed by plastics in their lifetimes, including the endangered leatherback turtles that summer in Massachusetts Bay before migrating to the tropics to mate.
8) 80 percent of marine debris comes from land-based waste, and the most direct route to the Great Atlantic Garbage patch is from the east coast of the US.
9) Retail businesses spend more than $4 billion per year to provide plastic bags.
10) Nearly 100 cities, towns, and counties across the US have banned plastic bags, half of them in the past year.


Anonymous said...

Nina you have a good point. Now where are the facts on all the other countries of the world contributions to this mess? This is why all the arguements against plastic are just plain bullshit. Statistics are just a manipulation of the facts to win an arguement. Would you like to discuss paper bags virtues or dirty cloth bags?

Anonymous said...

Being a man of letters ed....can you give us any numbers on how many people are rendered sick by their cloth bags. Then tell us about the transfer of said bacteria to other store patrons. Whole foods would be out of business by now because all their patrons have died off. Ed you will argue about any dumb thing you can.

Anonymous said...

I think Nina is mostly right....this time. As to anon 1:09...facts are a manipulation in themselves. So give us your facts instead of just calling out BULLSHIT!

Anonymous said...

As I Saudi-after being approached by an environmental-social activist I made the switch to cloth re-usable totes-they are fun-can be pretty-support local causes and businesses with silk-screen-Larry can have his flag or veterans design-You can support charities-or purchase stylish artesian know where the deniers are coming from-but I know you'll LOVE the classy re-usable more-very sporting-don't rip- easier to handle-and why toss 30 petroleum clutter bug fire hazards a week- petroleum bags use over 10% of world oil consumption by re-usable cloth bags-be Uber patriotic-try it-you'll fall in love-asap !!!!!???

Anonymous said...

Valley Recycling in Easthampton- Well worth the trip to deal with household trash and recycling.