Ways to make the banning of single use plastic workable

Alex The G and T

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Unfortunately, the practical application of these sorts of ideas doesn't turn out to be as warm and fuzzy as the concept.

California banned single-use plastic bags for hauling groceries or merchandise home, several years ago. Now the allegedly multiple-use plastic bags contain several times the weight of plastic. The ones that come from my usual grocery store have printing on the side that claims that they can be reused 125 times.

Well, that's just plain preposterous. I can, maybe, get a half dozen trips out of one; until it gets contaminated by leaky meat juice or something. Or they get snagged to contain some messy garbage and tossed before their time.

So, the result is actually more plastic discarded than before.

Another harsh reality is that very few plastic bags get recycled. They're a pain to handle, getting tangled in the handling equipment. And there is no real market for them. It's still cheaper to make new ones than it is to buy recyclable materials. The local recycling center was complaining, a while back, that no processor would take them and they had to take them to the landfill when they ran out of storage space.
 

Montero

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If you buy solid cloth bags and put them through the washing machine regularly then they're fine. It's what we do.
With the more solid plastic bags that you mention, if contaminated you can give them a wash out in the shower with washing up liquid and warm water.

People managed to go shopping without plastic bags for many centuries. Woven baskets were one of the more favoured shopping bags - and it is better for your back to carry a basket over your arm tucked against your hip than bags dangling on your fingers and cutting circulation as well. (I am talking the sort of oval baskets with a bit of an indent near the handle that will curve round your hip.)
Where we are putting shopping straight in the car, we put it unbagged back in the trolley and load it into cardboard boxes in the boot. For cold things there is a cool box. For damp things you can have a re-use it many times robust plastic box.


The article isn't just about shopping bags though, it is also all the fast food containers, milk bottles, plastic cutlery etc etc.

There is a growing number of "fill your own" shops, where with certain products you help yourself into a container you've bought. Marks and Spencer in the UK has embraced this on some lines - and they are a big name, more upmarket store.

When I was a kid, food went into paper bags, not plastic. The classic for fish and chips was it was handed over in a folded newspaper. Don't see why you couldn't bring your own washable tub of choice to a takeaway and they measure in whatever it is you are buying.

There was a story about the Duke of Wellington - the general - about how at a dinner part on campaign the officers all sat down and found no cutlery. The Duke then gifted each one of them with a set of travelling cutlery and lectured them on preparedness.
 

Danny McG

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We've lived through the Golden Age of being able to use and bin.
I'm gonna miss it TBH, it's looking like I'll instead be going into my dotage surrounded by tree hugging hippies
 

Fiberglass Cyborg

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A couple of years back, an Indian journalist reminisced about growing up when disposable plastics first arrived in the county. Before then, they used cloth shopping bags and you took a jerry-can to the shop to be filled up with cooking oil. At first, his mother was delighted with the innovations. Plastic shopping bags: "Amazing! They're so easy to wash!" Plastic oil bottles: "When they're empty, you can re-use them for all sorts of useful things!" Then the house gradually filled up with ratty old bags and greasy old bottles, until she gave in and began throwing them away by the tonne. I can relate - when I was growing up, there was a cupboard in the kitchen that was supposed to be for the ironing board. Instead, it was stuffed to bursting with plastic carrier bags.
 

Alex The G and T

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Oh, yeah, one of these things...


CN2108446.jpg



Funny, I have some cloth totes; but can't seem to get a grok on them. Never remember to throw them in the laundry.

And it is remarkable how rarely I see anyone else using cloth totes.

One local town has banned throwaway togo food packaging and disposable cutlery. It caused a lot of "Rabble Rabble" and not a small amount of consternation on the part of the Public Health Department.
 

Montero

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We've lived through the Golden Age of being able to use and bin.
It was brief and shame it wasn't briefer. Re-use has been the way for everyone except the rich, and many of their cast offs worked their way down the social/financial pyramid. (Though not all. There are costumes from the 17th century that have survived in attics and trunks, because they were too posh to give away to the lower orders.)
 

Alex The G and T

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I worked at a recycling center in the late 70's for a few years.

The hippies were all groovy with the recycling; but kinda clueless about how it worked.

Those who lived through the Great Depression and the World Wars were really sharp about how to get the most out of things.

I remember how we used to complain about "The Throwaway Society;" and we were going to make it better!

Yeah, right. We had no idea how much worse it would get; where appliances are not designed to be fixable, everything got exponentiallycheaper, flimsier and more disposable. And along came the electronic devices, designed to be obsolete in half a year.

I still have some of my sound equipment form the 80's, but keep having to upgrade the AV Receiver just to keep up with the connections which make the de-encryptions algorithms work. Bah!
 

Jeffbert

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Being one-handed, I really appreciate plastic grocery bags, I hang them from from the handles on my walker/rollater, when bringing from the car to my 3rd floor apartment (thankful for the elevator). I put gallons of spring water & other such things on or under the seat. I am seriously off balance just trying to take a few steps with any more than a few ounces.

When Covid restrictions halted the local grocery store taking used ones for recycling, I just filled one bag with others, & tossed it up onto the space above the cupboards. Saves the trouble of dusting up there, since they are wedged between the ceiling & cabinets.

As far as recycling goes, I have a small can that I simply fill, take to the trash room, & dump into the large recycle bin. Anyway, recycling these things saves on tall kitchen garbage bags. As far as ecological concerns go, they ought to be weighed against the costs (other than just money). It may indeed cost more to recycle anything other than aluminum, but $$ is not the only cost. I figure that eventually, the land will be covered by cemeteries and landfills. Hope I am dead long before then.

I mix my own Gatorade, and refill the old 32 ounce bottles. Cheaper that way, & when the quart sizes were unavailable, necessary. Just try opening a 12 ounce bottle without using both hands.

Anyway my 2 cents!
 

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