Friday, March 07, 2008

Banning plastic bags is the dumbest idea in a long while

Thanks to Catallaxy for pointing out this SMH article by Miranda Devine, where surprisingly, she is actually allowed to write against the banning of plastic bags. Don't know how the editors let that one slip through.
First, there are the economic consequences of this idiocy:

The largest manufacturer, Melbourne's Detmark Poly Bags, makes almost all the Australian checkout bags used by retailers, including Woolworths. Detmark, a 25-year-old private, Australian-owned company worth $15 million to $20 million, with about 30 workers, will be "just wiped out" if the Government's plastic bag ban is enforced, its managing director, Malcolm Davidson, said yesterday.

He points out the ethylene gas which is turned into ethylene pellets from which he makes his bags, is a byproduct of natural gas from the Bass Strait, piped to a processing plant in Melbourne.

"If we didn't use the gas they'd have to burn it off", hardly a Gaia-friendly solution. Repeat Plastics Australia (Replas) is another successful Australian-owned company that will be hurt by the ban, since the fewer plastic bags available for recycling, the higher the price of the raw product. It turns plastic bags into everything from horse feeders to jetty planks, park benches to bollards.

The article dispels many of the myths put forward by the green lobby. Plastic bags do not harm marine life, and they do not represent a large share of litter. But more importantly, it takes aim at the proposed replacement for plastic bags - the eco-friendly canvas bags.

Here's the money quote:
As for the thick green so-called eco bag, which Garrett has described as "canvas", it also is a plastic bag, made of polypropylene. Each is the equivalent of 1000 of the original polyethylene bags, Jacobsen says. And "no one wants to recycle them," as the plastic requires a higher temperature to melt.