California’s War on Plastic

by baldilocks

I keep a stash of contraband.

Shooting blanks as usual; hitting the average Californian.

The state has outlawed or restricted single-use plastic bags, plastic drinking straws, and plastic cutlery. Future targets: plastic detergent bottles, unattached caps on plastic bottles, and polystyrene containers (typically used to hold restaurant takeout orders), which more than 100 California cities have already banned. Some legislators also want to ban travel-size shampoo bottles that hotels provide for guests.

Golden State consumers are schlepping groceries in their arms as if they’ve been sent backward to the pre-bag era, sucking on paper straws that quickly become sodden and useless, and smuggling plastic bags across the state line. Some Californians even take their own steel straws into restaurants. (snip)

Virtue-signaling flourishes in such an environment. Shoppers flaunt their reusable bags (which might carry disease), big business parades its green credentials, and lawmakers seek the approval of like-minded thinkers by enacting bans. Then-governor Jerry Brown acknowledged that “plastic has helped advance innovation in our society” when he signed the plastic straw ban last year. Then he scolded residents for our “infatuation with single-use convenience,” which has “led to disastrous consequences.” (snip)

The idea that plastic consumer goods cause a good deal of global pollution drives much of this regulation and prohibition. “Plastics, in all forms—straws, bottles, packaging, bags, etc.—are choking the planet,” Brown said at his bill signing. (snip)

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch has become a rallying point for environmentalists, but it’s made up mostly of lost fishing gear, “not plastic bottles or packaging,” National Geographic reports. (snip)

Almost none of the plastic in the oceans comes from California. An analysis by Germany’s Hemholtz Centre for Environmental Research found that roughly 90 percent of ocean plastic enters the ocean via ten rivers—eight in Asia and two in Africa. Only about 1 percent of all plastic in the oceans is from the U.S.; California’s “contribution” to the mess is negligible.

But “we” can’t expect all those not-white people to stop throwing their crap into the ocean!

Anyway, the article goes on to mention an already-existing solution: a microbe that devours plastic.

Has someone informed all those illegal aliens being dumped in sanctuary cities that they should leave their plastic at home? Not that it would make any difference. They’ve already violated the law.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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