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Old 02-24-2012, 09:32 PM   #20026
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I got into a rather heated discussion last night with a shop owner. He wanted to put my purchase into a plastic bag and I wanted a paper bag.

He insisted that using paper bags depleted the planet's resources.
I tried to tell him that the trees that are used for paper bags, toothpicks, disposable chop sticks, etc., are all 'farmed crops,' he still insisted that it was ecologically unsound and that we need to use more plastic. I tried to tell him that these farmed trees only take three years to grow to maturity, and new trees are planted immediately for the next 'crop' but he still insisted that plastic was the way to go. I tried to tell him that the 'raw material' for his plastic bags comes from oil reserves, a NON-renewable resource, and that the bags he was using did not bio-degrade over time, but he still insisted that using plastic was more ecological than paper.
Who was the PR man that sold the world on the idea that plastic bags were more ecological? This guy was good!'
While I do agree that plastic makes a much easier to use 'wet' garbage bag, there is nothing ecologically sound about them. While it's true that in the US, manufacturers are adding corn starch to their plastic bags to cause them to "break up" after a number of years buried, the particles aren't biodegrading so much as breaking into smaller pieces of plastic.
We NEED to get back to basics. All trees do NOT need hundreds of years to renew. The ones we use for disposable products mature quickly. Hell, even a pineapple takes two years to mature, and nobody is trying to say 'stop eating pineapples!' Tree farms cover the state of Maine. They fill the Pacific Northwestern states. We are NOT in danger of running out of trees. We ARE in danger of running out of oil... We have tree seeds to make new trees. We do not have dinosaurs to make new oil.

Rant mode: Off

[Edit: I carry cloth shopping bags in my saddlebags to use when grocery shopping.)


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Old 02-24-2012, 09:39 PM   #20027
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Maybe he had shares in the plastic bag manufacturing company!

I absolutely agree with you on this one, and little by little, Australians are starting to be weaned off plastic bags, thank goodness. Supermarkets have reasonably tough bags which can be bought and reused, and it is becoming much more common to see people producing their canvas bags to have their groceries packed.

Apart from the inability to break down, plastic bags wreak terrible havoc with marine life when they finish up in the sea after being dropped in the street, going down the drain and on through the system to an outfall into the ocean. Just think of that massive raft of plastic somewhere out in the Pacific Ocean.

There are times when I think how much better off the world would be without us messing it up!
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Old 02-24-2012, 11:07 PM   #20028
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paper bags cost about 13 times more than plastic ones
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Old 02-24-2012, 11:46 PM   #20029
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Apart from the inability to break down, plastic bags wreak terrible havoc with marine life when they finish up in the sea after being dropped in the street, going down the drain and on through the system to an outfall into the ocean.
Having personally freed two sea turtles from being tangled up in '6-pack' plastic holders, I have a really really REALLY strong dislike of these things. Duck hunters are frequently reporting trapped birds. If the manufacturers would only put 'pull opener' perforations on the rings in the molding process it could at least help THAT part of the problem.

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paper bags cost about 13 times more than plastic ones
Very true, and a very big part of the reason for the rapid proliferation of plastic bag use all over the world. While the public was told ' use plastic and be ecological,' the facts prove otherwise, and the real reason was profit margin. That profit margin is what forced the 'carrier pigeon' into extinction. None left today... Gone because they were a perfect 'profit' food. Do we realize that the cod fishing industry estimates just a few years left for commercial cod fishing? Great profit margin was just too good to allow regulation of the industry. Soon... no more cod. In our lifetime. How many other resources will we 'profit margin' out of existence. I'll be dead in a few more years, but my son just got married. He'll probably have a bunch of kids. What resources will no longer be available for them?

An answer is to charge for bags... Adding another twenty five cents onto the price of a week's groceries isn't going to be felt. And if it IS too much, let's bring our own shopping bags. I have two bags that I carry that fold up and can fit inside a cigarette pack! Small, weigh nothing, and saves using 3-4 plastic or paper bags.

The local Costco doesn't provide bags. (I don't know about US Costcos.) They do sell a rather large eco bag that can be bought for 100 Yen (about $1.25) right at the check-out register. It's large enough and strong enough to carry 2-3 regular large plastic bags full of merchandise, has hand straps AND shoulder straps, and should last several months of shopping. No wasted plastic or paper bags.

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Old 02-25-2012, 12:13 AM   #20030
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Here in Toronto, the previous Mayor and council introduced a "fee" on plastic bags (good move) in stores of $0.05, with the money going to the store (dumb move). This has resulted in many MANY people using reusable bags.

Of course the current Mayor is of the opinion this is foolish and I believe (but might be wrong) is considering dropping this fee

I will admit I do every few weeks buy 20 bags; this is however because I volunteer doing Meals on Wheels 5 days a week, and at times, when clients are not home, leave meals in bags on their door step.
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Old 02-25-2012, 01:17 AM   #20031
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Several places in Oz have almost banned plastic bags. They are hard to come by in the Northern Territory (where the greatest litterers are), and I think some other places in Australia are in the process of banning them. We used to make the customers pay $1 if they wanted a plastic bag (6 years ago), but boxes were free.
http://www.zerowaste.sa.gov.au/plastic-bags

A bit like cigarettes being almost banned in Queensland. When you travel you notice that people in other state actually smoke. Funny given that it is nearly six years since I have had one myself, I actually enjoy going places and not being gassed out.
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Old 02-25-2012, 04:38 AM   #20032
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Several places in Oz have almost banned plastic bags. They are hard to come by in the Northern Territory (where the greatest litterers are), and I think some other places in Australia are in the process of banning them. We used to make the customers pay $1 if they wanted a plastic bag (6 years ago), but boxes were free.
http://www.zerowaste.sa.gov.au/plastic-bags
Costco has big bins filled with boxes that customers can take for free. I think that's a great idea.

Quote:
A bit like cigarettes being almost banned in Queensland. When you travel you notice that people in other state actually smoke. Funny given that it is nearly six years since I have had one myself, I actually enjoy going places and not being gassed out.
As a smoker who hasn't smoked a cigarette in 13 years, 6 months, and 4 days, I too notice people when they smoke. Asia used to be MUCH worse than it is today, and I can remember seeing people in Japan, China, etc., smoking with one hand and using their chopsticks in the other. Today, most restaurants are smoke-free. Most of downtown Kyoto is designated as a smoke-free zone, with small covered areas located 10 meters off the corners of some streets where public smoking is permitted.

But I don't think people's outdoor smoking significantly affects the atmosphere. I'm pretty sure one car produces more air pollution in one day than a cigarette smoker produces in a lifetime. But God help the politician who tries to eliminate driving... I'm glad that I didn't smoke a cigarette today, more for how really horrible people who smoke smell (and are blind to that fact) and for my own health. I'm not on a crusade to eliminate all poor ecological practices. I do what I can without causing me undo discomfort. I just wish more folks would be made aware of the facts rather than the fiction.


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Old 02-26-2012, 10:43 PM   #20033
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paper bags cost about 13 times more than plastic ones
And have a larger carbon footprint, but I do agree that being non-renewable and non-biodegradable is a show stopper.

Until technology can produce a renewable biodegradable economical plastic bag the canvas ones are the way to go.
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Old 02-26-2012, 10:54 PM   #20034
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That profit margin is what forced the 'carrier pigeon' into extinction. None left today... Gone because they were a perfect 'profit' food.
I think your talking about Passenger Pigeons

Carrier pigeons are alive and well, and have been domesticated for centuries.
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Old 02-27-2012, 05:09 AM   #20035
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I think your talking about Passenger Pigeons
You are absolutely correct! I don't quite know how I switched the two in my fingers... My brain had them correctly. Thanks for the fix.

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Old 02-27-2012, 09:17 AM   #20036
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I use reusable bags that are made from recycled plastic bottles. I have had most of mine for coming on 5 years and they are in great shape. I even get a nickle back each time I use them at the store. A nickle does not sound like much but that has paid the bags off and then some. I paid about $1 a bag. I have something like 20 bags (several came with the Turkey I bought for Thanksgiving dinner or where given to me at a store for free). The bags have paid for themselves and probably made me about $20 over the course of the year.

My Husband refuses to use the reusable bags. He doesn't carry them in him his car for some reason. I make sure that we recycle the plastic bags he brings home. Any paper bags are used for recycling at home when the recycling can is full and we are too lazy to change the bag. That way they get recycled as well.

More and more jurisdictions in the US are moving to paper/reusable only or you have to pay a bag fee for plastic. They are doing this to decrease the amount of pollution found in streams and along the road. People are initially annoyed but get over it pretty fast.
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Old 02-27-2012, 03:03 PM   #20037
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Six weeks ago I bought an Asus Transformer Prime tablet, because it had several dead pixels in the middle of the screen I returned it the next day and opted to not get my money back but wait for the next shipment which would come 10 February. A couple of day before they would have arrived the store was told that the shipment was delayed another two weeks to tomorrow. I didn't mind waiting another two weeks. Last night the expected date of availability on the website changed from 4-10 days to unknown.

First I tweeted to Asus Benelux and according to them the new shipment would be in mid March but I should call the store for a more precise date. I called the computer store and they told me late March, although it wouldn't surprise if the store added two extra weeks in case of another delay.

I don't feel like waiting another five weeks so I'm going to the store tomorrow to have them transfer the money back to my bank account. I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I want a tablet with Android 4 and a (micro)SD slot and there aren't many of those around yet. I might wait for the newest Asus which is supposed to be released in June/July (better screen and wifi), I might get another brand or I might end up getting the Prime.

I'm not mad at the computer store but Asus should communicate better with it's customers and if there's a shortage a product shouldn't be released world wide right away.
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Old 02-27-2012, 03:20 PM   #20038
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I think your talking about Passenger Pigeons....
I hadn't heard of Passenger Pigeons, but it's a real shame they're extinct. For a pigeon, they seem to have been a right pretty sight.
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Old 02-27-2012, 03:25 PM   #20039
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You are absolutely correct! I don't quite know how I switched the two in my fingers... My brain had them correctly....
Probably for the same reason my hand wrote one number on a report I did last night while I was clearly thinking of another. I assume there was a communications breakdown between whatever portions of my brain are concerned with consciousness and those that are concerned with motor skills. It was as if my hand was on auto-pilot. I was a tad startled when I saw it seeming to have a will of its own.

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Old 02-27-2012, 04:24 PM   #20040
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I hadn't heard of Passenger Pigeons, but it's a real shame they're extinct. For a pigeon, they seem to have been a right pretty sight.
And tasty too!
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