(June 26, 2009) — Your Viewpoint [Is plastic's image root of bag bans? June 15, Page 6] was well crafted and presented. While it did not directly answer the title question, the title was a lead in to the real topic, anyway. Nice. To the point. Ideal Op Ed.
Will Rogers said, Politicians and diapers are a lot alike and you change them frequently for the same reason.
His crude parallel was referring to the short memory of, or total disregard for, history that allows politicians to act like they are not part of the problem that they are pointing out.
Those who diminish the worth of plastic by demonizing it and by denigrating those who use it, are like the politicians described by Rogers.
Plastic is an alternative to its predecessors. It is popular, because predecessor materials that could perform similar functions are utterly unacceptable for a plethora of good reasons. Further, new technologies/materials offered up have not proven their effectiveness, to even a modest degree. So plastic performs. It performs well. It is, very literally speaking, irreplaceable. And, those who call for banning plastic should be shunned by those who apply and use plastic effectively.
Note: Plastics like polylactic acid, recycled PET and 100 percent post-consumer recycled are improving plastic's bloodlines.
As to one-use plastic bags, the problem is litter. If these bags were disposed of (or used again) properly, there would be no litter (and no ocean pollutants). Plastic bags in the ocean (and other waterways) get there, not because they are plastic, but because they are litter.
Other litter like waxed paper cups, diesel fuel, filament fishing line, picnic eating ware, cigarette filters, beer cans, soda bottles and so much more impact the ecological balance, too. The entire one-use plastic bag problem is as correctable as the litter problem.
Clearly, the solution is not the banning of one, then another, then another litter culprit. We already know what this type of correction does. The energy bill of every U.S. citizen is four times higher than need be because we severely regulated coal generation, fossil fuel generation, nuclear generation, etc. Had these been allowed to mature, and in the process reduce their undesirable litter, energy would not be the oversized negative influence on the economy that it is today.
I close with this: Maybe we should ban some of these one-solution pundits.
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