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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Don't tell Opie...

... but several countries are considering a tax on plastic grocery bags.

Comments (13)

There has been such a tax on plastic bags in Ireland for quite a few years and by all accounts the program has been a great success. Rather like the Irish equivalent of the Oregon Bottle Bill. You can read about it here:

It's true what Arne says. I lived in Ireland for 5 months and became very accustomed to bringing a reusable sack along. Very few customers paid for the privilege of a disposable plastic bag.

The nickel-to-dime discount implemented by some stores in America is a very low incentive to reuse bags. It is a token gesture towards environmental practices.

On the other hand, a plastic bag tax is certainly regressive, but it is overwhelmingly avoidable if you purchase a low cost ($0.50) reusable bag and remember to use it.

Seriously, it's not that difficult to take your own bag to the store. If you're too lazy (or forget), a couple of hits with a tax and you will remember next time. How is this a bad idea?

Actually, it's not a bad idea. But once the City of Portland gets hold of it...

Let's see, how could they screw it up? Set the tax too high? Make it easy for grocers to steal the tax money? Give the money away to developers of "green" buildings? Grant exemptions for grocery stores in "mixed use" urban renewal developments? I'm being too small-minded. I'm sure they can screw it up much, much worse if given the chance.

BTW, if the plastic is a biodegradable type, you wonder how the paper bag would be better for the environment. The paper bag's not made of petroleum, but there's this thing called carbon dioxide, which trees use up, which in turn cuts down global warming...

It's not about paper vs. plastic. There are plenty of reusable types of bags that are neither.
PS> Paper bags are also reusable and most are made from recycled material, not virgin forests.

Well, that's good.

What do you use to throw your garbage away in?

And isn't a lot of plastic being recycled these days?

Plastic "recycling" is kind of a misnomer, since a plastic bag that is "recycled" doesn't get made back into a bag, but some lower grade material (unlike paper cartons and bags, newsprint, glass and scrap metal).

While recycling your newspaper reduces the need for trees to make more newspapers, recycling your plastic bags does nothing to reduce demand for virgin material to make more bags.

Most plastic is warehoused or shipped to China for "reprocessing" since the market for this second-rate material has not kept pace with the supply.

Sure it feels good to "recycle" your plastic, but it's not all that helpful in the grand scheme of things.

Sure it feels good to "recycle" your plastic, but it's not all that helpful in the grand scheme of things.

So the new Oregon bottle bill revision isn't going to help the earth much?

I thought we recently saw a new process for turning plastic back into petroleum.

So the new Oregon bottle bill revision isn't going to help the earth much?

Keeping water bottles out of the ditches is a good thing, sure. But is there some environmental benefit to "recycling" them vs. burying them in the landfill? Probably not much in the long view, unless and until we can figure out how to actually recycle them back into water bottles.

The real benefit would be if we all stopped consuming the doggone things. Remember, "Recycle" is the last of the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

I have a filter on my sink at home. I have several reusable, washable bottles. Works fine.

There was an article in the Cosco magazine where one of the San Francisco members of city government (I don't remember what they are called) talked about why SF outlawed plastic bags. He said that they had 'tried' education but it had not provided the desired result, so they outlawed plastic bags. Another example of you are not behaving as we want you to so we won't give you a choice. If a tax is applied it is basically the same situation.

My wife said the same thing that Jack said, what do you think we put our garbage in before it hits the can (and stays in when in the can). She is smart, she then said, if you want to recycle it, make it something that is picked up, curb side with our other recycle materials. I just hate it when choices are taken away or are 'highly influenced'. Frigging Nanny government.

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