There is so much effort placed on the lowly plastic bag it fades the real issues we should be talking about. But Bainbridge Island has a realist with a few words to say.
By: Andy Looney (should be read in the voice of the late Andy Rooney)
Why is it so hard to do anything that makes sense on Bainbridge Island?
I don’t have a huge problem with the ban that some people in progressive west coast communities are proposing on plastic bags. It’s not going to cost me that much. It’s just not a big deal, aside from the fact that politicians who suppose that they know more than the rest of us are going to cram it down our throats, whether we like it or not, so they can feel “progressive” in spite of the fact that the bags are energy efficient, reusable, recyclable and don’t take up much space in a land fill.
Hey! They are still plastic and we have way too much of it in the environment. The bags themselves don’t make much of a dent in the environment, however; in fact, probably less than the increased use of paper bags will… Seriously, have you ever been to a paper mill? Have you ever been within a mile of one? They feed trees… living things… into them; and the process smells like death! …maybe worse, actually!
Most plastics are made from natural gas, a byproduct of things long dead, which is plentiful, cheap and comparatively efficient. Plus, they’re just better… That’s why people choose them when they are asked the “paper or plastic” question.
There is a lot of attention being paid to some whale that died with thirty plastic bags in its stomach… When I was a kid we had a dachshund that ate the contents of my mother’s change purse… My dad used the incident to explain about Darwin and natural selection! If that Weenie Dog had been an antelope, she’d have been lion chow on the first migration!
All that said: There is a huge amount of plastic in the environment. Few would disagree that it is a source of concern.
Why not get rid of something that is truly useless, like plastic water bottles? It’s water for heaven’s sake! You can get it from the tap. On Bainbridge, you will pay a lot more for tap water than you will most places; but, if you filter it, it’s reasonably potable and a lot cheaper than anything you can get in a bottle! You are not supposed to reuse plastic water bottles and I doubt that the overall efficiency of the recycling and re-use of the bottles is anything near the level of the demonized bags… After all: Have you ever tried to pick up Weenie Dog poop with a water bottle?
What Bainbridge needs is not a ban on plastic bags, but a real environmental plan with goals, targets and proposals that can really make a difference, rather than me-too, politically-correct bans on plastic grocery bags. That way, cranky old guys like me could feel like we were doing something for a reason rather than just having something handy taken away from us!
Andy is an alter ego of Kevin DeLorey local janitor and polemicist