Tag Archives: plastic debris

The Nonsense of Plastic Straw Laws!

Introduction

Horia Varlan from Bucharest, Romania via Wikimedia Commons

On 20 September 2018, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1881 “Food Facilities: Single Use Plastic Straws” into law. The law becomes effective on 1 January 2019 and will prevent full-service restaurants from providing a plastic straw unless the customer specifically requests one.

Before we examine the impact of California’s new AB 1881 plastic straw law, let’s take a look at some of the environmental claims made by proponents of the plastic straw laws.

Claims by Environmental Community

The Environmental Community has made a number of outrageous claims about plastic straws:

• 500 million straws used per day In the United States.
• Plastic Straws are one of the top 10 items collected in Ocean Cleanups.
• Straws are made from natural resources such as oil, natural gas, and coal which cannot be replaced once depleted.
• Straws are only used for an average of 20 minutes before being discarded.
• Media cites inaccurate statistic on plastic straw weight.
• Plastic straws harm the environment and marine wildlife.

500 million straws used per day in the United States?

“How many plastic straws do Americans use every day?” was a question asked by 9-year old Milo Cress. He started a project called “Be Straw Free” and called a handful of straw manufacturers in the United States to get estimates of how many straws are used per day. Through his research he estimated that Americans use about 500 million straws daily.
While Cress has received criticism, particularly for his 500 million statistic, the “Be Straw Free” movement started when he was at a restaurant with a friend and noticed other people taking the straws out of their drink without ever using them. He considered this a waste. He talked to the local restaurant and asked them to adopt a policy to “offer first.” It turned out to save money and make people more aware of the plastic they use.

The environmental movement has adopted 9-year old Milo Cress’s estimate of 500 million straws per day. No independent study was conducted to corroborate this estimate. For the environmental community, the bigger the number, even if not correct, the greater the “perceived” negative impact on the environment by the public. While the environmental community and the news media for the most part accept the estimate, there is some confusion and some contrary estimates.

In an article, author Tracey Bailey, claims “Over 500 million straws are used daily worldwide for an average of 20 minutes before being discarded.” [Bold mine] So which is it? 500 million per day in the United States only or is it 500 million per day worldwide?

A foodservice disposables research firm, Technomic, estimated that in 2017 approximately 63 billion straws were used in the United States per year in the food service industry, which includes restaurants, coffee shops, fast food chains, convenience stores, and cafeterias in hospitals, nursing homes and schools. That is about 170-175 million straws per day. If you divide 63 billion straws per year by 365 days, you get 172.6 million per day.

Another market research firm, Freedonia Group, estimated that the nation used about 390 million straws per day or 142 billion straws per year.

The Foodservice Packaging Institute, an 85-year-old trade association, estimates that fewer than 250 million straws are used each day.

Let’s face it, NO one knows how many straws are used in the United States per day or per year. The estimates are all over the place.

To read the entire article, click on the following link: 

 

The Lies, Myths, Half-Truths, and Exaggerations of Bag Ban Proponents

Bag Bans are one of the latest Eco-Fads being pushed by the “green” movement and virtually all “environmental” groups as a solution to the plastic bag litter problem.  These groups put enormous pressure on city officials to implement a plastic bag ban and paper bag fees on their citizens.  These groups attempt to link virtually every environmental problem to the simple plastic grocery bag, defying logic and misleading government officials, the media, and the public by continuously repeating a series of lies, distortions, and half-truths that do not hold up under scientific scrutiny.

There is a saying that if you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.  This is often the strategy of the bag ban proponents.  And the internet has afforded thousands of people eager to ban bags the ability to repeat the same lies and distortions over and over until people just accept them as fact.

In this article we examine a majority of the most often quoted and repeated lies and distortions related to plastic bags and bag bans.

Click on the following link to read or download the article: The Lies Myths Half Truths and Exaggerations of Bag Ban Proponents.

Bag Bans: Officials Neglect Homework!

Misguided officials in more and more California communities are adopting plastic carryout bag bans and, in their haste to jump on the latest Eco-Fad bandwagon, fail to perform due diligence in attempting to solve a complex problem.  Little to no effort is spent actually analyzing the problem or coming up with possible alternative solutions.  So starts a newly released article that identifies the failures of City and County Officials to investigate and find traditional solutions in favor of implementing a totalitarian solution to force a particular lifestyle on the people of this country, a country that is supposed to be the land of the free and home of the brave.

To read the new article click on the following link:  Bag Bans Officials Neglect Homework.

This hard hitting article is a must read for citizens who want to see how their elected officials are failing to perform due diligence.

The Upside of Plastic Carry Out Bags

The plastic carry out bag has been given a bad rap because of misinformation. With the internet the propagation of bad information or myths are almost impossible to stop. For example, the plastic carry out bag is widely believed to have caused the death of 100,000 marine mammals and a million seabirds as a result of ingesting plastic bags. However, the allegation is untrue and was based on a Canadian study that stated the deaths were a result from discarded fishing nets and fishing tackle and not plastic bags or plastic debris as reported in an article published in The Times of London on March 8, 2008 entitled “Series of blunders turned the plastic bag into global villain”.
Proponents of banning the plastic carry out bag have further demonized it by calling it a “single-use” plastic bag as part of a propaganda campaign. The real “single-use” bag is the plastic trash bag. Once the trash bag is used for its primary purpose to hold trash, it is never reused for any other purpose. The plastic carry out bag, on the other hand, once used for its primary purpose to carry purchases home, has a large number of secondary uses. Hence, this bag is really a multi-use bag. The reusable bag is also a multi-use bag but more durable. To call the plastic carry out bag a “single-use bag” is intellectually dishonest. Continue reading The Upside of Plastic Carry Out Bags