Monday, June 04, 2012

1026 Bag It

1026 Bag It

Recycle this!  Those new plastic bags that they’re using everywhere?  The ones made of a third to a half of recycled plastic?  Supposed to be better for the environment?  They’re worse, not better.

A plastic bag can be used to keep something dust-free in storage.  It can be used as a garbage bag and go to the landfill full of stuff that actually decomposes in under a century.  They can be used as temporary replacements for broken window panes. They can be used in freezers.  Some of them are microwave safe.  

“Can” isn’t the right word.  The right word is “could.”  The new bags are so thin, they barely make it from grocer to car trunk to kitchen before developing holes.  So what do people do?  Well, hard core environmentalists will save them and bring them back where they came from for eventual recycling.

Every hard core environmentalist who is reading or hearing this right now, raise your hand.  Yep... there are a handful of you.  The rest just toss ‘em, where they go back into the landfill and decompose at a rate that makes weapons grade plutonium look like shutter speed.

Around here, we grade ‘em, much as egg candlers grade eggs.  Grade A: whole.  Useful for garbage can liners.  Grade B: small hole that can be patched with a single piece of “magic” tape and used as garbage can liners.  Grade C: large hole that can be used to hold newspapers for recycling.  Grade D: too torn to fix, and therefore thrown away.

But seriously, if we really want to stop burying plastic that will still be where we put it 100-thousand years from now -- assuming we don’t all blow each other up first -- we have to make things that are biodegradable, hold water and don’t spread germs.

Paper would work, but leaks.  Those “reusable” cloth bags are germ incubators, but hold small amounts of leakage and eventually dry if they don’t weaken first.  Or maybe someone can come up with a recycling device that turns plastic into harmless water vapor.  Or better yet, Bourbon.

--While on the topic of plastic, here’s a little something to chew on:  those new eco-friendly water bottle caps.  But don’t chew unless you’re a grownup.  If you’re a toddler, they’re a choking hazard, and if you think that’s far-fetched, just wait until you start seeing lawyer ads that start “If your child choked on an eco-friendly water bottle cap, you may be entitled to compensation...”

--If all goes according to plan, the trial of accused serial child molester Jerry Sandusky begins in Bellefonte (BELL’-font) PA tomorrow, Tuesday, 6/5/12.  The first four days are given over to jury selection, and it probably will take at least that long.  That’s the one and only prediction about this case you’ll see in this space.

--I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2012

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