1) Whenever you pay cheaply for anything made in any third world country, you're externalizing the societal cost of pollution to that country (and if it gets into the oceans, to everyone). In other words, you're not paying the true cost of that item--economically and to society and the environment.
2) As linked elsewhere: first world nations often export their trash to third world nations, masquerading as recycled materials - see spat with Philippines - https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/canadian-garbage-from-phi...
Once the west establishes plastics as something for the uneducated and poor -- that they[the west] got away from, people will rush to use their fancy not-so-cheap bags.
Same with fossil fuels, recycling, carbon-related policies, ... etc
* I don't mean "uneducated and poor" literary, but just generally less fortunate people in the no-so-developed world
Related comment (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20157820)
Three things I think of.
One is a guy talking about visiting really poor part of South American. Used to be 'clean' because people were too desperately poor to throw away anything. And later as they became less poor there was garbage everywhere. And still later and better off, less garbage.
When I was kid in the 1960's in the US there was trash everywhere. People would throw trash out car windows, leave their trash behind at parks. Toss trash in the street and dump refuse in vacant lots. Now that is both illegal and considered boorish.
Another friend mentioned riding the bus in a country in South America. 40 years ago people just tossed trash out the window. 30 years ago they'd wait till the bus was a mile outside of town. 20 years ago the bus had a trash can and people would hold onto trash till the next stop.
I think societies are slow to come to grips with and deal with negative externalities that industrial culture makes possible. The whole thing is a process.
Besides, if they west goes in this direction, economies of scale might simply make single-use-plastic more expensive than the alternatives..
That's true maybe when it comes to atmospheric pollution, but not with plastic waste in rivers and the ocean.
The majority of plastic found in rivers and the ocean are not industrial waste but post consumer waste... things like cigarette butts, plastic bags, and food wrappers.
A large amount of that is waste exported to those third world countries, especially plastics for recycling.
This is why countries need to clean up their own mess and not sell their waste to a foreign company to be recycled offshore. But out of sight out of mind I guess.
Disclaimer (?): Am from Toronto
Richer nations are not externalizing their garbage, they're literally paying for it. If the receivers are not doing their job and putting it in the Earth, then that's not just some industrial by-product problem, it's point blank corruption.
Also, if it's consumer items in the Ocean, then the issue will be about where most consumers are, and how much they pollute, given that the issue might be Asia.
But the West obviously has enough of it's problems so it's not like anyone can point fingers really.
They are externalizing it, selling what they can, paying others to take it but not paying the true costs of properly recycling it in the first place.
> If the receivers are not doing their job and putting it in the Earth, then that's not just some industrial by-product problem, it's point blank corruption.
If we know this and continue to sell it to them, are we any less at fault? the answer is no.
>Also, if it's consumer items in the Ocean, then the issue will be about where most consumers are, and how much they pollute, given that the issue might be Asia.
Its thrown away consumer items, which as explained are shipped to asia from western countries as waste.
>But the West obviously has enough of it's problems so it's not like anyone can point fingers really.
everyone sucks, everyone needs to do better. No exceptions.
This is an outdated term that no longer represents the political and economic reality of the world.
2. I've certainly disappointed by this one but I put the blame on our city and county politicians who allowed this to happen while charging us extra on the claims that they will be properly recycled.
It's not the responsibility of buyers a long way down the value chain and 1/2 way across the world to manage the social policies of other nations.
Do you want colonialism? Or not?
The 'pollution' is 100% the fault of the people doing it.
Also, I don't see why the manufacturing/creating process should be necessarily considerably more 'plastic waste intensive' than the end product itself - in fact, this would be economically wasteful and more expensive possibly.
So ... we could start putting big tarriffs on importers with bad environmental practice and human rights laws ...
That logic is bullshit and lazy, and we should call people out when we see it.
All environmental efforts have a cost and it's a mistake of hyped-up media consumers to assume that the latest popular cause must be fought at any cost. There may be other, more effective, uses of that money on things that aren't in the news right now.
Not anymore, pretty much all Asian countries have stopped accepting plastic trash.
And now there is a backlog of recycling plastics in north america that is increasingly likely to get thrown in landfills, some of that may make it to waterways.
What are you going to do with your trash? You could burn it, but that would release a lot of noxious fumes and make your neighbors unhappy. So you just throw it in the river, and it floats away, out to sea. Problem "solved".
I don't know what the solution is, but the problem cannot be solved by the west at a distance.
I like that we are doing something about plastic polution - yay! But I fear over fishing is actually more of a problem.
Much of the disposable stuff I've seen here in California were made in the US. The Solo cup company, and its parent Dart Container, are both in the US, for example.
from the WEF: researchers were able to estimate that just 10 river systems carry 90% of the plastic that ends up in the ocean. Eight of them are in Asia: the Yangtze; Indus; Yellow; Hai He; Ganges; Pearl; Amur; Mekong; and two in Africa – the Nile and the Niger. 
It seems odd to mention that nearly all of the plastic waste comes from 10 major rivers and then not to name them (or mention that all of them are a world away from Canada).
At first estimate we could just Google images of polluted rivers in Asia and Africa and look at the logos on the garbage.
From my priors, I'd estimate that the plastics would almost all be from locally-consumed products, simply thrown into the river as is common and accepted in such places.
My sense is that a lot of educated, wealthy Westerners don't realize:
1. How many people are in Asia and Africa.
2. How little effort they put into keeping their local environment clean. People just don't get how callous same cultures are about the environment; it cannot be believed until it's been experienced since it's so far outside of the wealthy Westerner's experience. (Plus, to believe such would also create cognitive dissonance with social justice creeds which are victim classes as inherently morally pure.)
> It has been a year since China jammed the works of recycling programs around the world by essentially shutting down what had been the industry’s biggest market. China’s National Sword policy, enacted in January 2018, banned the import of most plastics and other materials headed for that nation’s recycling processors, which had handled nearly half of the world’s recyclable waste for the past quarter century. The move was an effort to halt a deluge of soiled and contaminated materials that was overwhelming Chinese processing facilities and leaving the country with yet another environmental problem—and this one not of its own making.
> In the year since, China’s plastic imports have plummeted by 99 percent, leading to a major global shift in where and how materials tossed in the recycling bin are being processed. While the glut of plastics is the main concern, China’s imports of mixed paper have also dropped by a third. Recycled aluminum and glass are less affected by the ban.
> Globally, more plastics are now ending up in landfills, incinerators, or likely littering the environment as rising costs to haul away recyclable materials increasingly render the practice unprofitable. In England, more than half a million more tons of plastics and other household garbage were burned last year. Australia’s recycling industry is facing a crisis as the country struggles to handle the 1.3 million-ton stockpile of recyclable waste it had previously shipped to China.
If Mad Men is to be believed, there was plenty of littering in the US in the 1960s. It took many public awareness campaigns by government and private industry, in a country far richer with nearly universal literacy, over multiple decades to make littering socially unacceptable. And I still see plenty of litter in the US today. Change takes time.
-Mothers supervising their kids as they defecate on a city sidewalk, or in the garbage bin in a busy train station.
-Dead mules left rotting and bloated in the sun for days right beside busy streets, with drinking water flowing nearby.
-Restaurant owners throwing garbage out the front door of their establishment onto the street right in front of the restaurant.
You're relating what I said to your own experience, which is Mad Men-style "littering". Only once you actually go outside your bubble can you understand that humans can do so much worse - and billions do.
I think to find a Western example you'd have to go back to horse and buggy days at least, and possibly to before widespread plumbing (e.g. late 1800's London cholera epidemics, the Thames literally full of shit).
I'm well aware of that. I grew up in India. I'm just asking you to place this behavior in the context of the prosperity and levels of education in the places where it happens. America, for all its advantages in material and human development, did not develop an anti-littering culture until very recently.
Frankly I'm sick of people using environmentalism as their soap box like this. It doesn't make anything better to ignore reality because they want to condescend to the US and Canada and Europe. It's actively making it worse.
I'd been idly wondering about the topic for years—specifically, WTF happened to all those environmental things schools & kids' nature magazines & cartoons had all the students worked up about back in the 90s? Are they fine now? Did it all go poorly so they gave up? You know, save the rainforest, we're running out of places to put trash, and so on.
The TL;DR on "ZOMG we're gonna drown in trash if we don't do something!" is that it was always basically bullshit—we didn't fix it, it was just a made-up problem to begin with. Other things the post covers are less rosy. The rainforest issue... yep, still going on, still very bad, we're just not talking about it as much.
The threat to lemur habitats is 1) Malagasy people practicing slash-and-burn agriculture, exacerbated by a very high birthrate on the island which means there is ever more need for new agricultural land to exploit, 2) Madagascar’s poor using charcoal for cooking because they cannot afford something like kerosene, and 3) rampant logging so that the exotic wood can be shipped to China for the furniture industry. It has nothing to do with the CO2 crisis.
The people living on coast lines are generally rich, which gives them the expectation that they will be ok.
It's really weird that this little micro version of climate change denial (promoted by all the same sources) is still socially acceptable in certain circles when the arguments for it are so laughably weak. To see him praise John Tierney's articles is mind boggling to me, I thought his whole schtick was about rationality.
Er, we sent all the trash to other countries, and they dumped it in the ocean.
Most other nations just did a cost benefit calculation and quietly got on with recycling. America, which has lots of space comparatively, also did the same cost benefit calculation, mostly got on with recycling, but with a vocal chorus of detractors whose arguments seems to bizarrely return (across decades!) to what we teach small children not being 100% accurate.
Is this really the level of argument we're looking for in economic topics? Or is using these arguments basically an admission that we've lost and are fighting a desperate retreat using whatever emotionally salient arguments we can muster.
About "6. Peak Resource", which is the topic I feel most comfortable debunking :
- Peak oil is happening right now in many regions of the globe, the North sea passed its peak oil a decade ago, and he doesn't mention it. This peak oil/gas is currently putting Germany at a political risk, being more and more dependent on Russian gas.
- He puts up the price of oil as an indicator of resource scarcity. This might sound true to our small minds used to the "supply-demand" paradigm. But the price indicated is mostly controlled by politics rather than supply and demand. E.g. Gulf states trying to take other countries out of the oil market by artificially deflating prices thanks to their larger supplies.
- He mentions fracking/shale oil as a revolutionary new technique, although it was already researched at the times. He also fails to mention that fracking in the USA is awfully subsidized, not profitable and has not ever been. He also doesn't mention the new environmental impacts caused by this technique. The fracking companies are legally entitled to clean up their mess, but when they go bankrupt, not much they can do...
I like to think that the same thing can happen on a global scale.
There's a graph from the paper (and the name of the paper) here that shows how much ocean plastic is from rivers; it's a lot but not 90%
Use economic incentives to penalize countries that allow dumping into their rivers. The first world is no longer able to export their "recyclables" to Asia, and as such, are landfilling/incinerating it. It's time for Asia to clean up its act (regardless of how poor of a country you are).
You'd need to apportion the blame to political entities, and then give them some kind of score or grade to decide which ones to punish more harshly based on how much they were contributing.
That score or grade would almost certainly be primarily per capita or it would be meaningless and simply punish larger/ more populous countries.
I mean, I'm all for tariffs, visa quota reductions, and closed borders with countries that pollute, but that would require us to look in the mirror, first. 
Whether the third world outlaws single use light weight plastic bags doesn't impact their poor waste management infrastructure. People will still throw garbage (plastic bottles, bottle caps, straws, plastic containers, plastic cutlery) in their rivers. Stop people from throwing garbage in rivers, regardless of composition. You're not going to be able to outlaw everything thrown into the rivers.
"Last year, a third of the 1.67 million tons of domestic waste disposed in Singapore consisted of packaging waste, primarily plastic bags and food packaging. The amount is enough to fill more than 1,000 Olympic-size swimming pools, according to a Channel News Asia report."
“Six million tons of non-durable plastics -- basically cutlery -- gets discarded every year. It is estimated that by the year 2050, plastic in the ocean will outweigh fish," he adds.
If you're going to outlaw single use plastic, outlaw all of it and mandate paper bags or other fiber products; you're still going to need to implement waste management, landfilling, etc.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/hannahleung/2018/04/21/five-asi... (Five Asian Countries Dump More Plastic Into Oceans Than Anyone Else Combined)
When you ban "single use" plastics, people often buy "multi-use" plastics -- which are actually worse for the environment if not used many times, and people often only use them once. There are a number of stores around me where they have thick, heavy plastic bags for purchase for 5 cents that I doubt are actually being reused much at all.
Yes, litter will still be an issue, and no, you shouldn't just throw compostable things on the beach -- but comparing polymers which will float in the ocean for hundreds of years vs some compressed corn starch is no contest.
The term biodegradable is itself problematic - everything is biodegradable including normal plastic. That just means that it breaks down into smaller bits that animals mistake for food and starve on.
There are a lot of things wrong with compostable plastic as well. The idea that it's somehow better is greenwashing, and makes people think it's a good enough alternative, so they can stop putting further effort into reducing their consumption. It's still a single use item that's wasting resources.
Compostable plastic isn't recyclable, so when it gets into plastic recycling streams it degrades the quality of the end product. It also isn't going to break down in your backyard green bin - it needs to be subjected to industrial composting processes, and even then it will take much longer than normal kitchen scraps to break down.
A load of plastic contaminated with PLA items and a load of compost contaminated with PLA items will both end up in the landfill because they are worthless.
There just aren't enough advantages, and compostable plastics need to be included in all upcoming plastic bans.
Also, the UN says we are a decade or so from fishing all saltwater fish to extinction.
What do you think about banning the production of plastic fishing nets?
One of the things we do is monthly beach cleanups. While we're cleaning a beach, we'll section off an area and carefully count and categorize the trash we find in that area (such as fishing nets). We share the info with organizations like our local university and department of fisheries and oceans, so that they'll have recent evidence that they can use when asking for regulatory changes.
In the UK we charge 5p for a single use bag, although lots of stores now only sell multi-use bags at 10p or more. I think it’s making a difference, I now actively carry a couple reusable bags around “just in case” I decide to visit a supermarket or spur of the moment shopping. I now hardly ever buy plastic bags (single & multi use), and from what I’ve read, overall the country has seen a massive reduction in plastic bag waste: down from 140/year/person to 25/year/person  (this doesn’t track sales of multi-use plastic bags though afaik)
People end up buying more trash bags (since they had small trash cans to fit the disposable bags), which are thicker, and something like 10x less efficient in garbage removal per pound of plastic than the banned bags. (I’m guessing your stats don’t count trash bags, unless people in the UK use fewer than one a week).
On its own, that was enough to increase plastic in the waste stream.
If you add in other problems (like buying “reusable” bags, then throwing them out), it gets even worse.
So, you need to ban all plastic bags for these measures to actually help.
There is only maybe Lidl that has reusable bags, if they still do them, and that's half a pound each.
Asda also a bag for life deal, I have swapped a couple out in the past due to tears (years after originally buying them). I assume but cannot verify Asda recycles the broken bags.
The concept of a 5 cent reusable plastic bag is a head scratcher.
One day when I can show up with containers and load up on goods without all the custom packaging, that'll be a different story.
Those "environmentally friendly" re-usable grocery bags aren't much better either. Depending on the material, they need to be used anywhere from 30 to 300+ times before they're less harmful than plastic bags.
Am I missing something or are regulators overreacting here? Clearly some countries have serious litter issues (sounds like the vast majority comes from Asia and Africa), but does that justify the rest of the world trading one type of pollution for another? Are we even fixing the problem or just making ourselves feel better?
Plastic bags are very bad when they end up in rivers or the ocean.
But yes, plastic bags might be better on CO2 depending on where they are made and how they are shipped.
But paper bags can be made carbon neutral, which is fundamentally impossible with plastic bags.
I didn't know the honourable member of the HN community was so sensitive. That they was in any sense a delicate flower. That they was capable of being a quickly and severely injured soul. If that's indeed the case then I am sorry.
A single use plastics ban is fine if it is a minor part of a more comprehensive policy that is focused on CO2 emissions, but by itself, eh, this is not really our most pressing issue in the near term is it? (of course we should reduce single use plastics eventually)
This government has been very uneven on climate issues so I'm not expecting them to announce a ban on CO2 emitting power generation tomorrow or anything. My concern is that announcing this policy so soon after the NDP announced the same thing in their rather bold environmental package is merely part of an attempt to boost their environmentalist cred and blunt the impact of rival environmentalist parties while changing the channel away from their weaker CO2 reduction efforts.
Yeah, it fully is. The major parties in Canada are slowly, and much too late, getting the message that the environment is the biggest election issue this year. They haven't been taking it seriously at all til now, hence this kind of bandwagon jumping. We're still going to hold them to the promise though.
Is it? It should be, but I'm pretty sure the biggest election issue is always going to be the economy.
That being said, maybe the advantage is that the environment is becoming less of a partisan issue. Anecdotally, my left- and right-wing friends and family seem to be coming closer to a consensus that we need to act.
Still, it's easy to say "we need to fix the environment". My own city council voted unanimously on a resolution to slash our city's greenhouse gas production. But then when it comes to specific proposals on what that would look like, such as saying "no" to building a new convention centre or new highways, suddenly there's no political will. "Something should absolutely be done... as long as it doesn't cost us anything."
So we'll ban single use plastics (barely effective, but very popular), but we won't cut back on exploiting the Alberta oil sands, or on deforestation for that matter (both of which would have a tremendous impact, but at great economic and political cost).
The goal of these bans is to force use of better materials. The huge majority of plastic pollution comes from the economic fringes in Asia, but demanding goods come in better packaging to be sold in large western markets will hopefully tip the financial scales enough to force manufacturers' hands resulting in less plastic waste globally. I can get behind that.
Your politician who benefits from passing feel-good legislation says yes.
Reality might surprise you:
"In particular, my results showed that bag bans caused sales of small (4 gallon), medium (8 gallon) and large (13 gallon) trash bags to increase by 120 percent, 64 percent and 6 percent respectively."
Coase theorem shows that increasing transaction costs increases externality costs.
If you ban the giving out of thin-plastic bags because they feel bad, and then the market moves towards giving everyone a thick (more environmentally taxing and ecologically costly) 'reusable' bag, you've made the environment worse not better (despite it feeling better). Case in point: the number of times a bag needs to be reused before it was less ecologically costly far exceeds the life of the bag.
Where I live the city banned single use plastic bags, now they just use the thicker ones instead and give out just as many, which are honestly worse for the environment. If single use bags are the current easiest solution to the problem then we need to find an even easier, more environmentally friendly way to help people transfer their goods. Delivery services might be the best.
There are now alternatives to plastic from biodegradable materials such as lobster shells and cactus juice. I'm sure with more research and better methods, mother nature can offer more materials to use for consumption tools.
Right now it mostly gets thrown away into the environment like most trash, but is a sustainable plastic if handled properly.
One UK supermarket used one of them for trays and bags around the same time, and printed the fact on every one. I forget whether they were compostable or just biodegradable. Yet eventually that chain switched back to oil derived plastic like everyone else.
Presumably price won.
Here's one from fermented sugars that ICI came up with in the early 80s: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyhydroxyalkanoates
By analyzing the waste found in the rivers and surrounding landscape, researchers were able to estimate that just 10 river systems carry 90% of the plastic that ends up in the ocean.
Eight of them are in Asia: the Yangtze; Indus; Yellow; Hai He; Ganges; Pearl; Amur; Mekong; and two in Africa – the Nile and the Niger.
"I was surprised to learn that the average Bangalorean throws out very little trash: about a pound of garbage per day, or the weight of a grapefruit. The average American generates more than four times that amount, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or more than seven times that amount, according to a more rigorous methodology developed by Columbia University and the BioCycle trade journal. We’ve nearly doubled our per capita output of garbage since 1960, to the point where we now generate 50 percent more trash than Western Europeans and two to three times more than the Japanese."
"As I wound my way through Bangalore’s streets in the Daily Dump van, I spotted numerous American brands out the window: Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Levi’s, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut. But the United States doesn’t just export products to India—it exports a culture of consumption, backed by billions in advertising dollars."
Several Indian states have already banned single use plastic bottles and polystyrene food packaging, etc. The Indian government has also already banned lightweight plastic bags nationwide.
So has Tanzania, Eritrea, Djibouti, Gabon, Gambia, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Namibia, Kenya, Rwanda, Mali, Morocco and many other "third world nations". In fact, if you look at the list and map¤, it's saturated with bans in "third world nations" while most rich countries are dragging their feet or ignoring the problem. After all, we can just export our garbage to Africa, right?
Until recently, Canada, like the US, shipped most of its plastic to China. Does making it a different country's problem absolve responsibility?
I found this quite eye opening.
Is there difficulties involved in bringing along accessibility tools like straws that I'm missing? Or is this just a case of the nirvana fallacy?
1) If you have a cognitive disability, remembering to bring a straw may be difficult.
2) If you have a mobility disability, you may struggle to wash the straw in a suitably disinfected manner after use.
3) How do you reuse the straw on the go?
4) This(bringing your own straw) is another cost added onto an already economically overburdened populace.
Those people btw are the ones who most need them, because they typically also have too limited mobility to drink from a cup.
Not being snarky, just curious.
* Stainless steel causes sensory issues for autistic people and can destroy your teeth if you accidentally bite into one. (edit: and lets also add that they conduct heat, so putting a metal straw in hot coffee and drinking out of it could seriously burn your lips)
But from the other answers it looks like it's more of a problem that they're stainless per se (hard material, need to be washed and carried).
I'd venture that if your dexterity is poor enough that you require a straw to drink instead of being able to drink strawless, a lot of the other tasks associated with carrying around one's own metal straw (ie. taking it out of a bag, putting it in a drink, washing it after) may also be overly challenging.
A real concern for children, and undoubtedly also for some disabled folk:
Just use biodegradable plastic straws.
Someone elsewhere in the thread mentioned straws made of lobster shells. In addition to shellfish allergies, such a straw isn't going to be suitable for anyone who's vegan, and I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't kosher either (TBH, I'm Jewish, but I don't keep kosher, and I don't know enough about the laws of kashrut to say whether or not drinking out of a lobster-shell straw is equivalent to eating lobster).
The plastics I'm think of are PLA and PHA. Mainly made of corn, but you could synthesize them from pure chemicals as well. Far more common than these "lobster shell" ones.
I haven't specifically looked into PLA and PHA much, but a quick google sees PLA being referred to as "too good to be true" and having "misleading biodegradability". I'm not seeing such concerns about PHA, but I've also only spent like a minute looking it up, and I wouldn't be surprised if some more intensive searching turns up some serious drawbacks. I have turned up some concerns about bioplastic production competing with food for the same agricultural resources, though.
PHA generally breaks down faster in the natural environment (i.e. it's biodegradable, not just compostable) and it has similar properties to PLA.
Straws use an absolutely minimal amount of material. I really don't think concern over agricultural resources is valid for such uses as it is compared to, say, the massive amounts used for biofuels. And of course, it's not as if metals have no resource requirements, either.
A typical straw weighs about .42 grams and thus uses about as much agricultural material as two kernels of corn (about as many calories as two tic tacs). That's not the problem, here. To put that in perspective, the energy in that straw (about 0.005 kilowatt-hours) is less than we just wasted arguing about it online.
My kids are done in max 10mins and they look mostly untouched.
I left it for one hour in a hot cocoa though, and it was not intact anymore but still usable to a degree.
The acceptance of throwaway has to end. We HAVE to find (or go back to) new routines which minimize those costs. Single-use plastics are a start, but we'll need to thoroughly revise manufacture, consumption and re-use across the board.
Is there any evidence that this could happen? It's the first I've heard of it.
But microplastics don't (on a human timescale) go away.
They just continue to accumulate as plastic items degrade in UV light and water, breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces.
Microplastics have been detected in the feces of humans: https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/10/22/659568662/mi...
And the bottom of the Marianas trench: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2018/12/micro...
And they're harmful to sea life: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/from-fish-to-huma...
And smaller microplastic particles, which all larger particles eventually become, can float through the air.
It is not unreasonable to assume that the problem is going to keep getting worse and worse as time goes on until it gets to a point where every breath we take is contaminated shards of plastics: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Photographs-of-microplas...
I'm not a doctor, or a plasticsologist, or a breathing-things-in-ologist, but breathing in large quantities of plastic shards seems less healthy than not doing so and just from a layman's perspective it seems that exposure to microplastics in the air and water should be minimized to the greatest extent possible.
We know that we have air pollution, I find it unlikely that plastic will be much worse.
Do we have any reason to think so?
Note. I'm not saying it's harmless, just that maybe we have bigger fish to fry first.
That incident is however an indication of how difficult it is to properly dispose of single-use plastics, and this will help solve that problem.
He knows he's got little chance of winning back anyone right of center- the Conservatives will take those votes most likely- so he's going after the votes on the left.
The plastic ban and the finally reopened marine mammal captivity bans are both moves to appeal to the environmentalist left. He'll probably also try to win over unions as much as he can. He wants to eat the NDP votes and hope it's enough to make up his loss on the right.
And I'll still probably vote for him again because the alternatives are somehow worse.
Or have you bought into the negativity that every party sows against their opponents in the hopes of securing peoples votes against their better judgement.
I don’t litter. Don’t punish me.
I see this as a cynical re-election strategy. The election is in four months and the polls are not looking good for Trudeau. Awash in scandal and forseeing a strong Conservative turnout, he’s trying to grab votes from the Greens and NDP.
How would it be for you if instead of a ban, a heavy disposal fee was added at the time of purchase to fund extensive waste sorting and recycling locally? How much is single use convenience worth to you? $1 per plastic fork?
It may be an awkward vote grab, but it's an glaring problem nonetheless.
how about the recycling companies pay us instead? we provide them with the raw materials, they profit. see plastic bottles' recycling all across europe. or the (ancient) glass bottles.
* cost of sorting
* contamination, which can cause huge batches to be thrown out
* decreasing quality and decreasing possibilities for use - what was once food safe plastic, can become bleach bottle plastic, which then becomes insulation or paving slabs. There is insufficient demand for paving slabs compared to the amount of plastic going into the recycling stream.
The only exception is aluminium cans, as it is much cheaper than smelting new aluminium, and just as useful.
The recycling industry is subsidised because trash is an externality.
Hoping society can start correcting it.
- Retail will jump right away on this bandwagon and spend massive amounts of money advertising how they have done away with single use plastic
- Retail will introduce alternatives and jack up price for pretty much all their products citing cost of new materials
- The plastics industry will complain about their loss in business (despite majority of single use items being imported from China) and hence will jack up prices of all their products
- All manufacturers now using more expensive plastic will raise price of their products
- The poor ol' Canadian will get slapped on their faces by multiple business layers because of this.
- If alternatives are biodegradable, it means likely some food source or wood product will be used hence causing increase to that source which in turn will cause 'shortage' and 'high demand' and cause domino affect.
Sure, great for environment but the economy over here is such that, all businesses and industries are super opportunistic and will not only pass on cost increase to the consumer, but I suspect that they will also use this as excuse to increase their profit margin.
Because of our oh Canada's 'Governmental' concerns, us oh Canadians will probably end up paying 100s of dollars per year out of their own pocket...
The reality is that food, energy, and many other natural resources should cost far more than they do. The primary way they've become more affordable is through externalizing costs and it's been a huge mistake.
Recycled is really a misnomer though, more of a marketing term. Plastic can only be down-cycled. E.g. used food containers can never be recycled into new containers to hold food ever again. Usually after a couple of hops it's roadbase or landfill.
OK Compost: http://www.tuv-at.be/home/
There are others.
Note that for most it still requires industrial composting to really decompose, and a bio-plastic bag in the ocean will be just as bad as a regular one.
Curious if you could provide justification for this; do you mean that an animal could just as easily choke on a bio plastic bag as a petro plastic one?
My non-biologist assumption had been that compostable plastic would just take longer to compost without the heat and high activity in a commercial situation. IOW, I think that we need to assume some fraction of manufactured stuff will always end up in the ocean, so it's better that is made from bio- than petro- materials.
Replacing sterile plastic packages for medical devices (for example) would be incredibly challenging.