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WinterKnight
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Message 1454460 - Posted: 16 Dec 2013, 12:57:34 UTC

Everywhere you look these days you see reports that some community, town, city or country is going to either ban or bring in a charge to use the single-use plastic bags.

But is this actually green or economical.

In my view it is a scam to steal your money.

On the land fill problem they take up so little room they hardly register as a problem.

On the green front it hardly makes sense at all, especially if re-used, used a a bin liner or used as a rubbish container.

Paper bags are certainly not green, even when made from re-cycled paper, and needs to be re-used at least three times to make it as green.

Multi-use heavy plastic bags, have to be re-used about 30 times, to be green and need to be cleaned.

Cloth bags have to be used 131 times to be green and also need to be cleaned.

How to care for your bag

From th SFGate who got it from, the American Cleaning Institute

-- Wash bag after every use.

-- Wipe insulated bags with a disinfecting or sanitizing cloth, especially along seams.

-- Use separate bags for raw meats, seafood and produce. Label bags.

-- Keep bags for non-food items.

-- After washing, make sure bags are dry before storing.

-- Don't store your bags in your car trunk.

-- When in doubt, wash your bags!

-- If bags are worn and dirty, throw them out.


If you are like me and only go to the supermarket occasionally, if I used cotton bags I would need to use the washing machine after every trip. How green is that?

Figures for re-use from this UK Environment Agency report

http://a0768b4a8a31e106d8b0-50dc802554eb38a24458b98ff72d550b.r19.cf3.rackcdn.com/scho0711buan-e-e.pdf

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Message 1454557 - Posted: 16 Dec 2013, 18:05:37 UTC

We have been using cotton bags for a few years now. If you are careful, they need to be washed about once every six to 12 months. Just about everybody here charges you for a plastic or paper bag, so there is a good motivation - whether it is truly green or not is another question.

My main objection to plastic bags is the ones that don't go into the land fill. The darned things are found everywhere in North America: stuck on fences, in trees, blowing across fields in the middle of nowhere. They last for centuries. The cotton bags cost enough that people look after them.
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Message 1454587 - Posted: 16 Dec 2013, 19:47:29 UTC - in response to Message 1454460.

Everywhere you look these days you see reports that some community, town, city or country is going to either ban or bring in a charge to use the single-use plastic bags.

But is this actually green or economical.

In my view it is a scam to steal your money.

On the land fill problem they take up so little room they hardly register as a problem.

On the green front it hardly makes sense at all, especially if re-used, used a a bin liner or used as a rubbish container.

Paper bags are certainly not green, even when made from re-cycled paper, and needs to be re-used at least three times to make it as green.

Multi-use heavy plastic bags, have to be re-used about 30 times, to be green and need to be cleaned.

Cloth bags have to be used 131 times to be green and also need to be cleaned.

How to care for your bag

From th SFGate who got it from, the American Cleaning Institute

-- Wash bag after every use.

-- Wipe insulated bags with a disinfecting or sanitizing cloth, especially along seams.

-- Use separate bags for raw meats, seafood and produce. Label bags.

-- Keep bags for non-food items.

-- After washing, make sure bags are dry before storing.

-- Don't store your bags in your car trunk.

-- When in doubt, wash your bags!

-- If bags are worn and dirty, throw them out.


If you are like me and only go to the supermarket occasionally, if I used cotton bags I would need to use the washing machine after every trip. How green is that?

Figures for re-use from this UK Environment Agency report

http://a0768b4a8a31e106d8b0-50dc802554eb38a24458b98ff72d550b.r19.cf3.rackcdn.com/scho0711buan-e-e.pdf


This whole cleaning bags thing is news to me! Whoops! I've been using those lightweight nylon bags for years that fold up really small and fit in your handbag. They last a long time and come in pretty patterns. I've certainly used them more than a few 100 times. I've not washed them though so I guess my whole family is going to die now. Most food is packaged so I don't get the pressing need for this. I wash my vegetables before use anyway. Not sure why we need separate bags as all the food is packaged. I would be carrying around dripping slabs of meat or fish in a cloth bag. That would be icky.

I have a fancy neoprene coolbag I use for frozen goods and milk. That I think I may have washed. I've had it about 10 years. I'll go wash it now..but I'll have to get it out of the trunk of the car first :D
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Message 1454589 - Posted: 16 Dec 2013, 19:51:30 UTC - in response to Message 1454557.

We have been using cotton bags for a few years now. If you are careful, they need to be washed about once every six to 12 months. Just about everybody here charges you for a plastic or paper bag, so there is a good motivation - whether it is truly green or not is another question.

My main objection to plastic bags is the ones that don't go into the land fill. The darned things are found everywhere in North America: stuck on fences, in trees, blowing across fields in the middle of nowhere. They last for centuries. The cotton bags cost enough that people look after them.

The problem is when they get into the ocean. Whales are starving to death because their guts are bunged up with plastic bags.

Sperm whale: death by 100 plastic bags
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Message 1454719 - Posted: 17 Dec 2013, 5:52:53 UTC

Here in NY State the county and the one just south of me have madatory recycleling. So we take our palstic bags back to the store to be made into more bags.

I dont see why you need to wash a cloth bag just for carring canned goods, Or other sealed products.
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Message 1454796 - Posted: 17 Dec 2013, 12:02:30 UTC

The problem is when they get into the ocean. Whales are starving to death because their guts are bunged up with plastic bags.

That is the truth. It's fashionable and all pc to be green at the moment, although most of us realise that it's just a fad and a load of old nonsense, that won't make any real difference to our planet. But I will support it because it does help wildlife, as Es has demonstrated.

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Message 1454800 - Posted: 17 Dec 2013, 12:26:06 UTC - in response to Message 1454796.

It will and does make a difference Chris. Don't fool yourself. I takes a long time to change people's habits. That doesn't mean don't bother - it means start now.
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Message 1454807 - Posted: 17 Dec 2013, 12:57:48 UTC

It will and does make a difference Chris. Don't fool yourself.

I recycle, tins, plastics, glass, cardboard, etc every week, but I don't do it to save the planet, because I know it is a waste of time. But if just one wild animal survives longer to breed, than I am happy to give my efforts.


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Message 1454973 - Posted: 18 Dec 2013, 0:13:28 UTC

If one more wild animal survives, that is the start of changing the world. If you pass on to friends, neighbours and relatives the idea that this is worth doing, that is another little change in the world. All the little changes add up.

There are no easy quick results solutions to many problems. If there were, we would have done them already. Instead the solution is millions or billions of little changes adding up.
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Message 1455042 - Posted: 18 Dec 2013, 7:53:40 UTC

It was 23 years ago the county I now live in made it madatory to recycle. To be honest it was a pain in the butt. Separate this separate that. Now It just automatic. I dont mind it at all. It recycles things that get remade and used again. Plus it makes the garbage every week a LOT less.
Im amazed when I go got out west and visit my kids. They dont recycle. I actually feel guilty throwing a can or a plastic bottle in the trash. I have one garbage can, They have at least two or three.
I think it should be made a law that evry community should recycle.
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Message 1455063 - Posted: 18 Dec 2013, 9:55:17 UTC

Lets be careful here! General re-cycling of metals, plastics,, paper, glass etc, is one thing. I'm still not convinced that it's saving the planet, but in time it should make goods themselves cheaper if recycled materials are used. The only drawback is recycled paper for computer printers. Most jam up on it and the dust is a problem. Th isthread is about shopping bags and whether we use too many, and whether a small charge would offset that. We use hessian or the plastic coated ones, mainly for the strength, which only need rinsing every so often. If they made bio-degradable bags end of problem!

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Message 1455066 - Posted: 18 Dec 2013, 10:12:40 UTC - in response to Message 1455063.

The bio-degradeable bags actually are a problem as the ingredients and process used to make them makes then recycling difficult and therefore should not be mixed with other plastics.

As James said the best way to deal with one-time use bags is to return them to the store that they came from. The problem with one-time use bags is that most people think just that and once used dispose of them, sometimes carelessly. Just the same way they throw away bottles and cans which are just as big menace to all animals including us. I have three inch scar below my right knee courtesy of a broken bottle left on a steep hillside when I was about 14.

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Message 1455071 - Posted: 18 Dec 2013, 10:37:24 UTC

Ah, but I think you have missed the point WK. Biodegradable bags are meant to go in the landfill, they are not meant to be re-cycled! The other problem we have is that the free bags in shops aren't very strong, so they often wont take the weight of 3 bottles of wine. a lire of coke, and a couple of cans. So shop assistants are told to double-bag glass items. That avoids broken glass and liquids all over the floor, and irate shoppers demanding that the store replace the broken goods. Double-bagging doubles the problem!

The world has become a throwaway society, no doubt about that, and I can't see that changing much in the future. Although having said that, we all used to rinse out glass milk bottles and leave them out for re-use, and thought nothing of it. I can also remember as a kid in the 50's, that if we bought a glass bottle of Corona pop, you got tuppence back on returning the empty. Perhaps if some sort of financial reward was on offer e.g. 5% off your shopping for bringing your own re-usable bags, or 5% of the Council tax for regular recycling it might cost in.

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Message 1455334 - Posted: 18 Dec 2013, 23:53:51 UTC

In my province a deposit is charged on every booze container: bottle, can, bag. As a result, 98 % is recycled. In Alberta I'm told this extends to any plastic or metal liquid container, with a similar recycling rate.

Around here we are running out of room for landfills, or at least room for landfills where the neighbours won't sue the city. Recycling is stretching the few land fills left.

People are making a difference with this. It takes time to educate pepole, and it takes time to see the results. But it does work.
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Message 1455336 - Posted: 19 Dec 2013, 0:14:35 UTC - in response to Message 1455071.

Biodegradable bags are meant to go in the landfill, they are not meant to be re-cycled!

The problem with this is that they do not biodegrade, they just disintegrate into smaller pieces of plastic which then gets into the food chain.
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Message 1455344 - Posted: 19 Dec 2013, 1:43:45 UTC - in response to Message 1455334.
Last modified: 19 Dec 2013, 1:46:28 UTC

Canada is bigger than the US and has a population of only 35 million. I find it hard to beleive that you can't find room for a properly run landfill. If you looked in to it you might find that most "recycled" goods end up in the landfill (Exceptions might be metals and especially aluminum.

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Message 1455360 - Posted: 19 Dec 2013, 5:20:51 UTC - in response to Message 1455344.

Canada is bigger than the US and has a population of only 35 million. I find it hard to beleive that you can't find room for a properly run landfill. If you looked in to it you might find that most "recycled" goods end up in the landfill (Exceptions might be metals and especially aluminum.

Too much snow and trees. No room for anything else here.
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Message 1455368 - Posted: 19 Dec 2013, 6:44:17 UTC

I dont know what went wrong with the US. Back during WW2 just about everything was recycled, Even cooking grease and fat. People had the mind set to recycle. I remember leaving the empty milk bottles for the milk man. And even as a teenager we used to take our Royal Crown cola bottles back for 2 cents. But that was it. And then even that stopped.
Id like to see some start up company start to mine some of those old dumps.Im betting there is a lot of metal that could be scrapped for some big bucks.
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Message 1455397 - Posted: 19 Dec 2013, 9:09:04 UTC
Last modified: 19 Dec 2013, 9:25:08 UTC

Canada is bigger than the US and has a population of only 35 million.

Not much in it!

Canada: 3,854,082 Sq miles, 35 million people
United States: 3,717,727 Sq miles, 317 million people

I dont know what went wrong with the US. Back during WW2 just about everything was recycled,

It had to be as there was a war on, and most stuff was in short supply or rationed. In addition there's nothing like a national conflict to mobilise a countries population to pull together.

Biodegradable plastics are plastics that are capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms. Two basic classes of biodegradable plastics exist: Bioplastics, whose components are derived from renewable raw materials and plastics made from petrochemicals with biodegradable additives which enhance biodegradation.

Many people confuse "biodegradable" with "compostable". "Biodegradable" broadly means that an object can be biologically broken down, while "compostable" typically specifies that such a process will result in compost, or humus. Many plastic manufacturers throughout Canada and the US have released products indicated as being compostable. This practice, however, can be debatable if the manufacturer is submitting to the, now withdrawn, American Society for Testing and Materials standard definition of the word, as it applies to plastics

Bags

Plastic

decomposition times

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Message 1455505 - Posted: 19 Dec 2013, 17:55:51 UTC - in response to Message 1455344.

Canada is bigger than the US and has a population of only 35 million. I find it hard to beleive that you can't find room for a properly run landfill. If you looked in to it you might find that most "recycled" goods end up in the landfill (Exceptions might be metals and especially aluminum.


Lots of land, and somebody loves each and every little bit of it. We may also have a different definition of "properly run". The big problem, I think, with most local landfill applications today is proving no ground water contamination for the next few dozen centuries.

The big recycling debate here right now is economical. Some city recycling programs pay for themselves or even make a profit: the money earned from what parts are recyclable pays for more than the extra costs of collecting and sorting above "normal" garbage collection and disposal. This depends very much on what local manufacturers will take or not take in the way of recycled material. This is almost always metals, but often includes paper, wood, and some plastics. As landfills get pushed further and further away from garbage sources (like cities) this calculation changes. The general result is more and more recycling, limited usually by how fast a municipal government can react to changing situations (usually not very quickly, around here).
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