U.S. readers might believe California is ground zero for the debate on plastic bag taxes and bans. But long-time Plastics Blog readers know that the latest wave of anti-bag legislation actually originated in the United Kingdom. Film maker Rebecca Hosking sparked the debate in the small village of Modbury, England, after a trip to the Pacific Ocean where she saw environmental damage created by plastic marine debris. The bag ban battle rages on today, in England, Wales and Scotland, as you can see from these headlines from sister newspaper PRW. And the latest, somewhat surprising, word comes from a newspaper that has long crusaded against plastic bags, the Daily Mail. The paper posted a story today, "Shoppers 'hoarding free plastic bags' because of fears they will be outlawed," which was the result of a discussion about bag bans today in the House of Lords. The story contains two surprising revelations, both courtesy of Lord Baroness of Parkes. First, she claims that "some people are starting to hoard free plastic carrier bags because they are so fearful they will become unavailable." Why do I find this surprising? Because just about everyone who cares for dogs will hoard free plastic bags all the time -- not just when they're afraid they'll become unavailable -- for obvious reasons. Perhaps Lord Baroness of Parkes would like to visit my house and help clean up after our terriers. Second, she suggests that plastic bag makers can control the degradability of bags to a degree that sounds a bit exaggerated. "The chemical additive D2W, which has been used since the 1970s, has now been developed to a degree of accuracy that almost the exact date of self-destruct can be built into plastic bag manufacture," she said. "Would not it be an advantage for everyone to know this date so that bags could be tailored to certain markets such as the fast food industry to prevent bags clogging our waterways and to prevent other bags intended for long-term storage unexpectedly turning into confetti?" D2W is an additive marketed by Britain's Symphony Environmental Technologies plc. While Symphony is an active participant in the bag ban debate, I'm skeptical that the company would go so far to say they can predict "almost the exact date" that bags manufactured with their additives will "self-destruct." Hype and exaggeration are often weapons used in the debate over plastic bags -- both in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Thoughts on bag hoarding and self-destructing plastic
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