On plastic bags

San Francisco’s recent ban on plastic bags has been widely reported, but what surprised me is that The Economist is wholly supportive of it. Their reportage pointed out something which hasn’t appeared anywhere else that I’ve seen — similar bans have been established “in Rwanda, Bhutan, Bangladesh…, South Africa…, and Mumbai.”

I’m amazed at the corn-starch plates and forks, and biodegradeable bags are a great step too, provided that the energy cost in making them is not too excessive. But it’s hard to find real data on that. Until then, count me in for the ban, and I hope other cities follow suit.

0 thoughts on “On plastic bags

  1. If I couldn’t get bags at the grocery store, I’d have to start buying trash bags for my small trash cans. Which would have the same net environmental effect, but cost me money.

    Why don’t city recycling programs ever seem to take these with the rest of the recycling? Why do they need their own store-based recycle bin? And while I’m asking these questions, why doesn’t yogurt come in recyclable cups??

  2. I agree that the “no small bags” policy is bad from the garbage-can point of view, and having curbside recycling for them would be great, but I guess that’s just “too hard.”

    As far as yogurt goes, I’m sure it is all about cost — it’s more expensive to put yogurt in recyclable plastic.

  3. But you would think soda companies, etc, would also do what’s cheapest, and their plastic is recyclable. Maybe recyclable plastics interact with the bacteria in bad ways…

  4. I know you can’t make meringues in plastic bowls because sugars from previous cooking will stay in the plastic and ruin the meringue, so perhaps there is something similar with yogurt. Although I really don’t see how recyclable plastic would be all that different from non-recyclable plastic.

    But I’ve always put yogurt containers in the recycle bin. Should I not be doing that?

  5. >why doesn’t yogurt come in recyclable cups??

    All yogurt cups here in Hicksv IL 61801 are marked with a recycling symbol 5, and are accepted by the local recycler. So maybe California or perhaps Berserkley has some ordinance that says symbol 5 is politically incorrect and items with that marking will not be accepted for recycling, or something to that effect?

  6. (I know this is a very old thread, but for some reason it showed up again in the LJ feed so I’m re-replying)

    Many recycling centers will only take plastic marked 1 or 2, including the municipal recycling everywhere I’ve lived. You’ll have to check with your local center to see if they’re just throwing away your yogurt cups.

  7. You know what? Never mind. I just checked, and when Chicago expanded their crappy recycling program a few months ago, they also started accepting plastics 1-5 and 7 instead of just 1 and 2. Woohoo, I can recycle my yogurt container!

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