Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gotta take care of Poochie,or Random thoughts on Garbage.

LA County bans Plastic bags....

A few random thoughts on garbage.....
1. I use plastic bags when picking up dog poop in my back yard by turning the bag inside-out, putting your hand in it like a  glove and grabbing the poop. Once you've grabbed the poop, use your other hand to turn the bag right side out and the poop will be inside the bag. See other uses for Plastic bags here

2. One paper bag weighs the same as 10 plastic bags.(I just weighed them) That will mean 10 times the weight to be shipped, when ordering bags. How much extra fuel will that cost? Paper bags take more than 10 times the space too. You can't crumple up a paper bag, like you can a plastic bag.

3. Plastics, as a whole, make up 18% of waste by volume and 7% by weight (plastic bags themselves are light and take up very little space). If plastic were to be replaced by other materials, trash weight would increase by 150%, packaging would weigh 300% more and energy consumed by the industry would increase by 100%.
Plastic Bag Kite
The production of a paper bag consumes 1 gallon of water (yep, per bag) equating to 50 times that of plastic bags. A well-packed, single, grocery-size paper bag can only hold the same volume of product as 4 plastic bags.And don't forget the bleach

4. Reusable bags seem to be a great alternative. If you plan ahead, and have a shopping list, and buy only that which fits, you score high on the Greenie list. Even if you have more groceries, and have to use paper or plastic, you are ahead, because you use less paper or plastic.

5. The problem lies in the smaller purchases. When you go out on your lunchhour to the local deli,are you carrying your tote bag? Not likely. On your way home from work, and the spouse asked you to pick up a few things on your wayhome, did you bring your tote bag? Not Likely. When you pretend that  you are Joe the contractor stops at the local hardware store for your next home improvement project, did you bring your tote bag? Again, not likely. So who suffers? The small business owner.

6. With Plastic bags banned, the small business owner will be losing business, because people will have to plan their purchases more in advance. They will do a bulk shopping at places like Costco, and Lowe's. The cost to all businesses will increase. The owner will have to allocate more space for the paper bags. The owner will have to pay more to have the paper bags delivered.

7.  Banning a product is not the way to go. What is preferable is a true measurement of costs. What is the cost of a landfill? I know what it costs me to dispose of trash. The trash company knows what it costs them to dispose of trash. Does the county know what is the true cost? They know what they paid for the land. They know what they pay for labor and supplies. But do they know what the cost of that landfill is today? If landfill space is a premium, then would it not have a premium cost?
To put it in simpler terms, if you have a 100 acre landfill, and 100 residents, the supply of landfill space greatly outweighs the demand. If the population increased to 100,000, now the supply of space is outweighed by the demand.

8.. The localities should price their product accordingly. They have to have prices that allow for today's disposal, and to prepare for tomorrows. If it means to buy more land, that should be included. If it means using the latest technology, that cost should be factored in. If the trash must be hauled to an outlying district, that should be factored in to the price. If these costs are factored in, people will act accordingly.

9. The little old lady who only has a small amount of trash and extensively recycles, pays the same as the family of 5 that throws everything out. Around here it is about $16 a month. If the cost was based on weight, with discounts for recycling, there might be a change in behavior. The costs of this measure might outweigh the benefits. Retooling trucks, labor costs, etc, might make it prohibitive.