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Thread: Isn't plastic fantastic?

  1. #1
    Expert daydreamer SkylineObsession's Avatar
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    Red face Isn't plastic fantastic?

    But actually, no.

    (read these when you have a spare 20 mins or so)

    https://interactives.stuff.co.nz/201...aste/chapter1/

    https://interactives.stuff.co.nz/201...aste/chapter2/

    https://interactives.stuff.co.nz/201...aste/chapter3/

    Didn't need to link to the last two since the first page links to them anyway, but still.

    I was a bit surprised to read that 91% of plastic doesn't get recycled. Over here in NZ we recycle a lot of different types of plastic (not all of it though, annoyingly), but this article has made me think that the world isn't working fast enough on recycling/finding other uses for it.

    Bit shitty really, an uninhabited island six days away (boat) from a main populace is infested with plastic.

  2. #2
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    It's kinda a bummer that the initial message of the straw "bans" out here has been lost in the right-wing media. The whole idea was that straws are something that a lot of people never even use, but they were being given to people without even asking and then often end up in the ocean where they can cause real harm. It was an initial "this is super easy to use way less of" gateway kinda ruling, like "take this one easy step and then maybe the next one that's not quite so easy might see easier". As is, you can still get a plastic straw, you just have to ask for it.

    But, of course it's turned into a whole thing here...

  3. #3
    Junior Potato
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    I think part of the issue is that people see images of beaches covered in plastic and think, "tAkInG mY StRaWs AwAy iS rEaLlY nOt GoInG tO HeLp" and see the straw ban as an unnecessary infringement on their personal convenience.

    Thankfully there are other ways to reduce plastic pollution.

  4. #4
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    Just 10 rivers carry 90% of plastic polluting the oceans
    https://news.sky.com/story/just-10-r...ceans-11167581

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rare White Ape View Post
    I think part of the issue is that people see images of beaches covered in plastic and think, "tAkInG mY StRaWs AwAy iS rEaLlY nOt GoInG tO HeLp" and see the straw ban as an unnecessary infringement on their personal convenience.

    Thankfully there are other ways to reduce plastic pollution.
    I definitely get that, but what's weird is that, at least in California, the law isn't that your plastic straws get taken away, it's that you have to ask for one. We did the same thing with water at restaurants during the drought - they couldn't just give you a glass of water whether your want it or not, but you could get as many as you wanted if you ask for them. Same with the straws.

    It's a small thing that makes a tiny dent, but my local favorite Mexican place, by default, included two plastic straws in every margarita. Now they don't, and that's likely a good thing, even if it's small.

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    I wonder if it's better for the environmentalists to simply appeal to the public directly and help them change their habits... rather than making it political and have government bans and stuff...

    This really shouldn't be a political debate. This problem should be way more clear cut than climate change, yet, people can still fight about it...

    Anyway, best way to fight this is to come up with a better, more environmentally friendly and CHEAPER substitute..., but of course, then we might be faced with new set of challenges later on!

    For something like straws, I think people should at least be able throw the thing in a trash bin and not allow them to flow into the ocean. I'm sure we've already banned littering. If only people obey that ban, that'd probably save quite a bit of our oceans?

    According to MK's link, I think it's clear the CA straw not given until asked law probably won't make much of a difference to our oceans.
    Last edited by Crazed_Insanity; July 29th, 2019 at 10:41 AM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crazed_Insanity View Post
    I wonder if it's better for the environmentalists to simply appeal to the public directly and help them change their habits... rather than making it political and have government bans and stuff...
    Because people are lazy and cheap. They often will say they want to help, but then find it all too easy to continue with bad habits.
    There is also the "Im just one person" feeling, where it overwhelms you and then you do nothing.
    Probably find a decent number are happy to vote to restrict something when they themselves couldnt make the effort to do it themselves.

    Getting large corp on board is good - but can be hard to do.
    Getting a law can get everyone onboard.



    Anyway, best way to fight this is to come up with a better, more environmentally friendly and CHEAPER substitute..., but of course, then we might be faced with new set of challenges later on!
    Typically there isnt cheaper... capitalist tends towards cheap/best profit. But this rarely includes the cost of disposal/recycling. So we get cheap to make but bad for the environment stuff because the manufacturers dont pay any environmental price (we do!)

    Thats one of the main reasons for doing this sort of thing as govt restrictions.
    Why many places have banned cheap (thin) plastic bags. Just way to cheap to make - the supermarkets were happy to give away thousands a day because it costs them almost nothing.

    For something like straws, I think people should at least be able throw the thing in a trash bin and not allow them to flow into the ocean. I'm sure we've already banned littering. If only people obey that ban, that'd probably save quite a bit of our oceans?
    And unless you are Singapore - how has "dont litter" worked out?
    Even if its only 1% ends as litter, if this is something happening in the thousands per day thats still a lot.
    And anything that is handed over at a fast food place has a very good chance of being litter.

    According to MK's link, I think it's clear the CA straw not given until asked law probably won't make much of a difference to our oceans.
    Maybe not to the overall total plastic in the oceans, but it will make a difference to your beaches, your wildlife.

  8. #8
    Expert daydreamer SkylineObsession's Avatar
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    NZ's gone a little step in the right direction, banning all plastic shopping bags from supermarkets, and other stores. But also backtracked a bit as well as we were able to recycle these until earlier this year (when the overseas recycler decided we were sending them too much so they stopped it completely, now they fill up warehouses here in NZ waiting for a recycling solution).

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    DN, banning littering and it doesnít quite get enforced as well as in tiny Singapore is precisely the reason why I thought more bans wonít really be more effective.

    People also tend to become more rebellious if itís forced upon us. Whereas if becoming more environmentally friendly could somehow become more fashionable or more financially incentivized, or become the more socially accepted norm, then it will work out. I just think that bans are the least effective way to motivate people to change.

    Plus, itís usually liberal governments who tend to want to mandate things in the name of good for you or good for the world. I actually tend to agree with the reasons behind liberal mandates, but the problem is that once a subject matter becomes partisan, conservatives will almost always end up attacking it as some sort of allergic reaction! Making change even more difficult. This is why I think we should try hard not to make things too political... just my 2cents.
    Last edited by Crazed_Insanity; July 29th, 2019 at 08:59 PM.

  10. #10
    THE KING IN THE NORTH! TheBenior's Avatar
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    My issue with replacing plastic bags and straws with non-plastic substitutes is that it's probably worse for the environment the way I use them.

    Cotton totes have to be used 131 times before they're more environmentally friendly than a plastic bag in terms of carbon emissions since and water usage they cost more to manufacture and transport. That's a best case scenario, with non-organic cotton and using the bag once. I pretty much reuse all my plastic bags for garbage can liners, baby/tortoise waste disposal, etc, so I'd need that cotton tote to last 262 times without it tearing. The polypropylene bags need to be used 11 times to beat single use bags (22 in my case). Plastic bags tend to be made from LDPE#4, which is made from ethane, a byproduct of natural gas production that would otherwise be burned and released into the atmosphere.

    I'm a fan of collapsible Instacrates for my trips to Costco or shopping in the city, but they probably wouldn't be that convenient if I wasn't mostly driving when shopping.

    As for paper straws, they're theoretically biodegradeable and recyclable, but in practice, they just end up in landfills like any plastic straws I use, but like paper/cotton bags, with more energy intensive manufacturing and transport. That being said, I generally use straws when I'm getting some sort of to-go/takeout drink, so it's not like it's a daily thing for me.

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