Thursday, March 29, 2007

Paper or plastic?

Taking public transit to work could be such fun but at times irritating, I mean how many of you have had the pleasure of listening to someone else’s eating or ipod--these are the two I have experienced--while traveling to work and probably trying to catch up on your sleep or meditate about the day ahead.

Today the guy behind me was having his breakfast as if he is having it in front of a loud speaker. It reminded me of Lynn Truss’ book, Talk to the Hand, saying that many people have adopted the self-absorbed attitude of the worst role model in the world, Bart Simpson –My bubble, my rules and if you don’t like it, you know where to go!

On a different note, it was in the news that San Francisco is imposing a ban on plastic bags. The law passed 10-to-1. I wonder what the one person opposing the law had to say. Well, this wasn’t mentioned, very typical journalism style. Why waste the precious space to talk about the 1 opposing. It’s great that we are trying to conserve but let’s just not be too hasty. In the 80’s the paper bag was replaced by plastic bag. Ever asked why? Well maybe the following data from can shed some light:

“When it comes to reducing solid waste, bigger definitely isn't better. The less material you use to make a package, the less waste you have to recycle or dispose of after you've used (and reused) it. Take a look at how the facts stack up for plastic bags.

  • The smaller volume of plastic bags can help conserve landfill space. Nothing degrades fast enough to extend the useful lives of modern U.S. landfills...not paper, not plastics, nothing, according to Dr. William Rathje of the University of Arizona Garbage project.
  • 30 percent less material is used to produce today's plastic bag than the bags made just five years ago
  • Compared to paper grocery bags, plastic grocery bags:
    • Consume 40 percent less energy than paper
    • Generate 80 percent less solid waste
    • Produce 70 percent fewer atmospheric emissions
    • Release up to 94 percent fewer waterborne wastes “

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