China Bans Plastic Bags

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davew
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China Bans Plastic Bags

I heard on the BBC this morning where China has joined San Francisco and Ireland in banning plastic shopping bags. There are many things wrong with the mainland government, but I give them credit for not pussy footing around when they decided to tackle a problem. Plastic bags are not a huge part of the world's oil consumption, but they are one of the stupidest wastes of oil. In my patch of the country you can recycle them, but the places that accept plastic bags are few and far between. I hold just a little hope that more countries including my own will join in and ban plastic bags as well. At the very least it would be better if the stores that dispensed plastic bags were obligated to recycle them.

The silly thing about plastic bags is they don't do the job very well. They don't hold much. They break unexpectedly. They slide around. Any vegetable matter that is in contact with them for a few days turns brown and disgusting. Best of all my grocery store gives a nickel a bag credit for cloth bags including the little ones I use for fruit, vegetables, and bulk grains.

reikiman
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Re: China Bans Plastic Bags

I've got a set of cloth bags I bought in 1990. That's, uh, almost 18 years of use and they're still in great condition.

The use-once-and-throw-away paradigm is completely unsustainable.

- David Herron, The Long Tail Pipe, davidherron.com, 7gen.com, What is Reiki
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ArcticFox
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Re: China Bans Plastic Bags

I've cloth bags for about a year now. Easier to carry heavy things without worrying about dumping everything (again) in a turn while on the scooter. :)

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davew
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Re: China Bans Plastic Bags

I meant to include some links. My favorite site is ecobags. They have canvas bags, as do most megamarts, but they also have smaller cotton bags for fruits, vegetables, and bulk grains and nuts.

Another find this year was bags for gift giving. They are a little pricey, but infinitely reusable. I really like the time they saved for both wrapping and unwrapping this year. They also make for a very pretty display under the tree.

"we must be the change we wish to see in the world"

spinningmagnets
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Re: China Bans Plastic Bags

I'm "on board" now with CFL lights. When I got into the house I'm in now, I installed CFL's in several sockets that I knew would be on often. I just replaced the kitchen flood lights this week because recent demand has resulted in more choices and types.

I've heard for a while when this subject comes up that CFL's have some mercury in them. The first ones I bought 3 years ago had a separate outer clear plastic cover (though I'm sure the amount of mercury was very tiny, I wanted to be reasonably cautious).

I just heard today that the most recent designs are mercury-free, and marked with green lettering. I also saw CFL's that can now be used in sockets with a dimmer switch.

Cost a little more at first, but they last longer and they lower my monthly electric bill...

reikiman
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Re: China Bans Plastic Bags

CFL's have some mercury in them.

I've been using CFL's since 1990 as well. It wasn't until 5 yrs or so ago that I realized they have mercury. But I understand that is a feature of all fluorescent bulbs, that the mercury is vital to the process of making fluorescents work.

An interesting thought to ponder is that - burning coal to make electricity also releases mercury. I've seen it claimed that since fluorescent bulbs use less electricity, the less mercury release from burning less coal makes up for the mercury in the bulbs. Hopefully that's true and not wishful thinking on someones part.

I just heard today that the most recent designs are mercury-free, and marked with green lettering. I also saw CFL's that can now be used in sockets with a dimmer switch.

Hmm, I'll have to be on the lookout for this.

- David Herron, The Long Tail Pipe, davidherron.com, 7gen.com, What is Reiki
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deronmoped
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Re: China Bans Plastic Bags

I use those plastic bags for everything. The cheap ones are not so great, but I line my kitchen trash can with them. Keeps the mess manageable.

What I can not understand is people go out and buy bags just for the same purpose I use the freeeeeeee bags for. Now that is really wasting resourses.

Deron.

PJD
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Re: China Bans Plastic Bags

As far as paper as an alternate, I presume considerable energy (not to mention trees and some nasty chemicals) go into paper bags, so it may be that a plastic bag has less CO2 and toxics emissions in it's manufacture than paper. But at least paper bags aren't ever seen gracing the bare branches of trees in winter.

But of course, the real solution is reusable cotton or hemp bags.

And, I do recall seeing a calculation which estimated the mercury from coal-burning power plant emissions saved by using CF does more than make up for the mercury in the CF's. But then, I noticed that the estimate assumed 100% electricity generation from coal. So it may actually be close to break-even. At any rate, there is a big difference between mercury in the soil at a landfill and mercury being broadcast around the entire earth from 1200 foot smokestacks.

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