"Because you can't hug a tree if you can't find one."

1/23/2008

Win/Win for Corporate America

Just read this article on Westchester.com. Seems a neighboring county is following New York City down the bag recycling path. The article quotes County Executive Andy Spano talking about the negative environmental effects of plastic bags, but somehow he concludes that recycling is the only solution. Source reduction is not even considered.
"...and millions of pounds are recycled each year into durable outdoor decking and low-maintenance fencing."
Of course that's not recycling, it is "down-cycling."

Fewer than 5% of bags are ever turned in to recycling programs. But turning that 5% into other products means that more raw materials (petroleum and natural gas) are used to make new bags. And the plastic "lumber" and fencing itself is not recyclable, only land-fillable. "Durable" and "low maintenance" are code words that mean they will still be around thousands of years from now, persisting in the environment because a homeowner got tired of that deck or fence and wanted a new look. (See
my previous post, with diagrams, on this issue.)

This is not a pro-environment policy, it is a pro-
plastics industry policy. It allows companies to continue manufacturing and selling an unsustainable product, while creating a way for them to cheaply access that product once it has been discarded so they can make more profit from selling it back to us in another form.

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