Submitted by Anne Landman on
The American Chemistry Council (ACC), a lobbying group representing plastic bag manufacturers, successfully convinced the California Department of Education to rewrite its environmental textbooks and teachers' guides to include positive statements about plastic grocery bags. ACC wrote a letter to education department officials that said in part, "To counteract what is perceived as an exclusively negative positioning of plastic bag issues, we recommend adding a section here entitled 'Benefits of Plastic Shopping Bags.'" The state's final document was, in fact, edited to contain a new section titled "Advantages of Plastic Shopping Bags."
The title and some of the newly-inserted textbook language were lifted almost verbatim from letters written by the ACC. A private consultant hired by California school officials inserted a question into an environmental workbook quiz asking students to list some advantages of plastic bags. The correct answer to the question (which is worth five points) is: "Plastic bags are very convenient to use. They take less energy to manufacture than paper bags, cost less to transport and can be reused." The changes were made in 2009, and coincided with ACC's nationwide PR and lobbying push to beat back efforts across the U.S. to enact laws and ordinances banning plastic grocery bags. The changes in the environmental curriculum were discovered by the investigative reporting team California Watch, a project of the Center for Investigative Reporting.
N. replied on Permalink
Good point! Sure, you can look at it that way if you like, and yet no matter how you slice it, it's wasteful. There are also many other things that this byproduct could have been used for, other than bags given for free to lazy people who don't bring their own. The discovery of my Thesis, was that the plassstic bag ought not be made a priority as the opportunity cost (ethically, environmentally, and economically) was simply too great when considering other options. And consider, that there is energy in plastic bags (try burning one, no actually don't, you'll piss your neighbors off), and there was probably even more energy in the byproduct that it was made from. You could have burned the new bags (or this by-product) and have come out further ahead if energy was your goal as opposed to stinky meat juice leakage. Whether it was the primary or tertiary use of the fossil fuels, Bottom Line (if you agree with the logic in my thesis, which apparently my advisors did): Plastic Bags are not Justifiable in cosidering the economic, ethical and environmental costs. But again, what are the goals? You failed to engage my comment in this capacity, rather, you merely criticized "how it was said" with a "chicken or the egg" type jab. I feel like I wasted 10 minutes of my life I will never get back because of it. : (
Now someone will probably reply to tell me that bags get recycled, anyway, and therefore there is no issue, as if recycling uses no energy, and as if downgrading is of no consquence. It's pretty hopeless.
waterflaws in Denver replied on Permalink
Paper or Plastic?
The (corporate, for-profit) industry side-stepped the actual issue. The actual issue has been disposable bags(usually sheet plastic) vs re-usable bags/containers (usually cloth).
"Paper vs Plastic" is a dead issue! Virgin, kraft paper bags are virtually non-existant compared to single-use plastic bags.