Forum Index > Public Lands Stewardship > For the Love of God CAN WE PLEASE STOP LYING TO OURSELVES ABOUT PLASTIC?
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Ski
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PostTue Apr 18, 2023 12:30 pm 
plastics 041823
plastics 041823
From: Ski Sent: Tuesday, April 18, 2023 11:35 AM To: Yasmin Trudeau ; Laurie Jinkins ; Jake Fey ; Lynda Mapes ; Isabella Breda Subject: For the Love of God CAN WE PLEASE STOP LYING TO OURSELVES ABOUT PLASTIC? Honorable Yasmin Trudeau, Washington State Senate Honorable Laurie Jinkins, Washington State Legislature Honorable Jake Fey, Washington State Legislature RE: For the Love of God CAN WE PLEASE STOP LYING TO OURSELVES ABOUT PLASTIC? I heard on the radio this morning that the Washington State Legislature is passing yet another bill, ostensibly to reduce the amount of plastics entering the waste stream. I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry. The “chasing arrows” thing on the bottom of the plastic containers is a joke. It means nothing. It is being used on all sorts of plastics that are simply not recyclable in any practicable manner. We have been hoodwinked by the petroleum and the plastics industry, who have lulled us into some false sense of contentment – believing we’re “doing the right thing” by choosing containers marked with that symbol – even though the containers are, in reality, virtually impossible to recycle in any practicable way. The reality is that those single-use plastic containers are not being recycled because their light weight causes them to jam up the machinery used to sort recyclable materials. A very candid 20-minute conversation with a nice gentleman at Tacoma Public Utilities (along with a great deal of follow-up research) taught me that what’s actually happening on the ground is that all those containers are going into the landfills. I have attached a photo image. On the left is a shopping bag stuffed full of polyethylene “shopping bags”. On the right is a bag full of lightweight plastic containers and lids. Tacoma Public Utilities does not want me to put any of this material into my curbsite recycling bin. The contents of those two bags is from the last month. I am one guy, living alone, and I don’t buy that pre-prepared, pre-sliced-and-diced stuff – I buy the raw ingredients and do all the work myself. Now consider that there are 330 million other Americans. We’re not going to solve the problem by banning plastic shopping bags and shampoo bottles. Nice effort, but it’s not going to even make a dent. TWO things need to happen if we’re really going to get serious about reducing the amount of plastic entering the solid waste stream and going into our landfills: 1. Tell the soft drink industry that if they want to continue doing business in this country, they will put deposits on their bottles and THEY will deal with the details. Same with bottled water. Full stop. Stop kowtowing to the soft drink industry. 2. The food packaging industry needs to find and use alternatives to the single-use plastic containers in which food is being sold to the retail consumer, almost ALL of which is currently going into landfills. That bag of stuff on the right will go down to the Tacoma Public Utilities Solid Waste Transfer Station – when I put it in my car and drive it across town – but from there it may or may not be recycled. My understanding currently is that the material being accumulated is just stacking up in warehouses waiting for somebody to come up with a solution to this issue. Bottom line: We’ve been duped, folks. The petroleum and the plastics industries convinced us this was going to be a great idea and that it was all going to be recyclable. They lied. Let’s move on and solve the problem. We do not want our country looking like Malaysia, now being buried with the plastic garbage from our good friends in Australia. Thanks very much for your time and consideration Ski * to: you know who... I decided to go ahead and post this here after receiving your email response. Thanks!

"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."

rossb, Toobin', Anne Elk, Waterman, IanB
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Chief Joseph
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PostTue Apr 18, 2023 1:14 pm 
What I find to be strange is that in your home recycle bin one can place plastic in it but when you go to a refuse transfer station they have bins for metal, cardboard and aluminum, but none for plastic.

Go placidly amid the noise and waste, and remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.
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Ski
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PostTue Apr 18, 2023 1:26 pm 
CJ - every municipality's recycling program is different. there is no "one size fits all" management policy in effect, which further exacerbates the problem of the end consumer being confused. END CONSUMER CONFUSION = non-compliance with recycling objectives. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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Stefan
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PostTue Apr 18, 2023 2:32 pm 
Bottom line: You don't have enough people that care. Yes, you care--other people do not care like you care. I remember talking to a guy in Bellevue Square. He wanted to stop the overtake of palm oil tree farms in southeast Asia. I asked him this question: Do people have free will? His response: Yes. Then I asked him, if people of the world have free will to order palm oil for their peanut butter and it creates higher demand, and the people of southeast Asia have the free will to supply that palm oil, why would the people who want the palm oil, and the people who make the palm oil care what you want? Its their free will. Why is your free will to care, higher than another person's free will to not care?

Art is an adventure.
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Chief Joseph
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PostTue Apr 18, 2023 6:06 pm 
That's a point, but one is a consumable and one is not (you a Mtn Goat?).... so kinda aplets and cotlets.

Go placidly amid the noise and waste, and remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.
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Stefan
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PostWed Apr 19, 2023 8:36 am 
Chief Joseph wrote:
That's a point, but one is a consumable and one is not (you a Mtn Goat?).... so kinda aplets and cotlets.
Guess I am not understanding. If people want to recycle--they will. If they don't want to recycle--they won't. If they want the government to make the rules to producers-then they will. Free will. Free will to care or not to care.

Art is an adventure.
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gb
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PostWed Apr 19, 2023 8:53 am 
Excellent post, SKI. Seattle public Utilities tells which are really being recycled, and then probably not often. Plastic is everywhere in the environment now and I'm sure will have serious longterm effects on all humans and other animals. It is getting harder, not easier to purchase even fruits and vegetables without plastic packaging. I reuse bags until they literally fall apart. How many people even think about what their personal decisions make on the environment and the health of all living things.......

Anne Elk
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cdestroyer
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PostWed Apr 19, 2023 12:48 pm 
I posted on a similar topic some time ago with what some municipalities have done to resolve the recycle problem..I lived in portland oregon for some time and worked in a plastics recycling plant.. they made a product similar to a lumber 2x4 out of the plastic and with some engineering from wrought iron workers made bus stop benches. they were sturdy near on weather proof being plastic and iron and not all that uncomfortable comparing to wood benches.....

Chief Joseph
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Sculpin
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PostWed Apr 19, 2023 3:36 pm 
Just following up on what cdestroyer wrote. AFAIK, there are no recycled plastic products made for the same use as the original plastic. Polyethylene and the other unsaturated hydrocarbons are generally at the top of the list in terms of being re-usable, but they become deck lumber not plastic bottles again. As for the other plastics, at best they are separated and stored separately for a utopian future in which we can figure out how to re-use them. I am curious if anyone is aware of other ways plastics are re-used. huh.gif

Between every two pines is a doorway to the new world. - John Muir
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cdestroyer
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PostThu Apr 20, 2023 5:44 pm 
the benches are similar to this except the slats are gray and in the shape of a 2x4.

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Randito
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PostThu Apr 20, 2023 6:17 pm 
Putting plastic in the garbage/landfill is the most reliable way to ensure that the plastic doesn't get dumped in the ocean, which sadly is what has happened with a significant amount of plastic waste sent to overseas for recycling. Unfortunately the food industry has been very effective in opposing any legislation to return to wash and reuse methods of packaging consumables.

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Chief Joseph
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PostThu Apr 20, 2023 8:10 pm 
It would be cool if plastic when buried for a long time would turn back into oil.

Go placidly amid the noise and waste, and remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.

Anne Elk
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Anne Elk
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PostThu Apr 20, 2023 9:51 pm 
catsp wrote:
BTW, recycling for plastic bags is done primarily through store drop-off programs, and not through curbside programs. Find a drop off location here. Also, it's more than just plastic bags.
Thanks for posting this. We have that service at the local supermarket but I was unsure what all could be put in there. Now I have a better idea. up.gif

"There are yahoos out there. It’s why we can’t have nice things." - Tom Mahood
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Chief Joseph
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PostThu Apr 20, 2023 11:00 pm 
Funny how people trying to change things actually make it worse. Case in point, now instead of the flimsy plastic bags that frequently ripped, we now have the option to buy from the cashier plastic bags that likely contain at least 5 times the plastic, Guess what? A lot of people forget to bring their bags into the store, purchase the heavier bags which many times then go into the trash. A lot people are lazy, forgetful and simply don't care. So, imo no progress is made in this case. If that doesn't convince you then here is the kicker..people on public food assistance do not have to pay for the heavier plastic bags and as I said, where do those bags typically end up. Progress is not progress. Plastic (insert any other inanimate object, hint) isn't the problem, people are the problem, but we already knew that, lol.

Go placidly amid the noise and waste, and remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.
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PostFri Apr 21, 2023 9:48 am 
Chief Joseph wrote:
the option to buy from the cashier plastic bags that likely contain at least 5 times the plastic
Totally agree. I'm guessing some pointy-headed economists explained that folks would change their behavior to avoid having to pay the 8 cents. ykm.gif

Between every two pines is a doorway to the new world. - John Muir
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