Madison, Wis., has a Commission on the Environment that is starting to consider bans on two plastics products. That's according to this story from the Wisconsin State Journal. The group will discuss a ban on the sale of bottled water at public events, and on the use of plastic grocery bags.
Jon Standridge, chairman of the commission, said members voted unanimously at the end of last year to place both items on upcoming agendas. "Each year toward the end of the calendar year we sit down and talk about what people are interested in, ' ' Standridge said. "We ask if something is an environmental problem and if it is worth taking up. And if it is worth taking up, is there something we can do? ' ' Both the use of bottled water and the use of plastic grocery bags are issues that are receiving considerable attention elsewhere, Standridge said. Plastic items are problems mostly because they pose tremendous waste disposal issues. Many things are made of plastic, which can be recycled, but when it does end up in landfills it doesn 't break down. But, Standridge added, plastics also pose environmental threats because of the energy and resources used to manufacture them.The idea of banning the sale of bottled water at public events seems pretty radical. The story quotes George Dreckmann, the city's recycling coordinator, who suggests that an alternative might be to encourage recycling. Wisconsin has a pretty large and healthy plastics industry, but I'm not sure if that will make a difference to lawmakers in Madison. In the meantime, Standridge's commission, which advices the mayor and city council on environmental issues, is at least a year away from making any recommendations on the use of plastic bottles and bags, he told the newspaper.