Tuesday, September 30, 2014

California Becomes First State to Ban Plastic Bags

Well, I'll be… good old California, always — okay, usually — out front:

"California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Tuesday that makes the state the first in the country to ban single-use plastic bags." 
- Time Magazine, Katy Steinmetz / San Francisco, 9/30/14, 12:56 PM ET

The ban will go into effect in July 2015 for large grocery stores, the next year for smaller businesses.

It allows stores to charge 10 cents for a paper or reusable bag instead, and also provides some financial support to manufacturers of dem ol' devil-bags, to soften the blow as they shift to producing reusable bags.

(Because lately we've been writing about exactly this need in here:)
The OceanS' Floating Garbage PatcheS – Yes, it's worse than you thought

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What Can We Do With All This Old Plastic?

Continuing this small series on solutions to the resulting problems of all of that plastic we were told to, "Use it once, and just throw it away!" – 
Echoing the words of Buckminster Fuller, here's a gentleman reusing plastic by mixing it in with cement for roadways.
The road to the dump, and beyond it to Madurai (India)’s airport, is like a Hollywood vision of dystopian ruin: lifeless, black, choked with human refuse. And that’s why Rajagopalan Vasudevan’s enthusiasm is so jarring. … “Wonderful resource,” he says, admiring a jumble of plastic bags, jerrycans, and torn food packets. “With all this plastic, I could lay the whole road to the airport.” 
''Innovators – India's 'Plastic Man' Turns Litter Into Paved Roads''
By Akash Kapur, Businessweek, July 10, 2014
As is characteristic of truly good ideas, it has benefits in multiple ways: 
Chandigarh, India - Some rights reserved by sandeepachetan.com, under Creative Commons
•  it literally "takes out the garbage," but for real,
•  it's much cheaper than the bitumen it replaces in the cement mixer,
•  it even makes the roads stronger!

But wait, there's more — Vasudevan’s roads reuse more types of plastic than can currently be recycled otherwise, including thicker types, grocery bags, wrappers, even the unfortunately popular snackpacks that are layers of different plastics and aluminum. 

The method also has the rare quality of Simplicity: Businessweek's story says, "It requires no significant technical knowledge and no large investments or changes to existing road-laying procedures."

Question: shouldn't it simply be against the law, internationally, to produce or introduce anything into the environment that can't be recycled?

Here it's probably worth noting that any product, material or substance, of any kind, that's publically available must be considered as entering the ecosystem, because it will — as proven by The Great Ocean Garbage Patches.
Also in here:
UNDO-ing Plastic: At The Source
Photo: Chandigarh, India
Some rights reserved by sandeepachetan.com, under Creative Commons