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PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2016 11:53 am 
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Plastic grocery bags are really marvels of engineering. The strength they get into something so incredibly thin and low mass --and low cost-- is amazing.

Sadly, they're being phased out; if stores offer them at all anymore, they've been pressured to add a cost to them (which apparently gets donated to various environmental causes). In many cities they're banned altogether.

If you look at the arguments for this, you'd think people simply throw them out after using them. This is far from the truth. Over 95% of grocery bags get reused as garbage bags. Guess what happens when stores stop offering them to customers? They BUY GARBAGE BAGS -- which tend to be much thicker, and are definitely worse for the environment.

Walmart in Canada was the last holdout that still offered free grocery bags. They've now been pressured to join the crowd and will start charging for them.

People are idiots.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2016 2:37 pm 
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Since most places around San Diego are like this now, I have decreased my bag consumption a lot. We got one of those cloth bags that takes care of most shopping needs and many times we don't even use trash bags anymore. Empty the kitchen bin, rinse it out, repeat.

Areas here put it up to their own individual vote. If an area passes such a vote, hopefully its inhabitants realize that doesn't mean you just get more bags elsewhere. You find ways to phase them out of your life just like the stores.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2016 3:22 pm 
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My own personal reaction to this every time I go shopping is that I feel like I'm back in the Soviet Union, where NO ONE ever left home without bags of some sort, in case you came across something to buy.

I realize it's a completely different motivation - one driven by shortage and custom, the other by surplus and changing custom - but something still gets me about it. Maybe it's convergence or something, I dunno.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 12:27 pm 
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Talya wrote:
Guess what happens when stores stop offering them to customers? They BUY GARBAGE BAGS


So yeah, uh, there you go.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 1:43 pm 
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Vladimirr wrote:
Talya wrote:
Guess what happens when stores stop offering them to customers? They BUY GARBAGE BAGS


So yeah, uh, there you go.


Obviously they should ban garbage bags too.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 10:38 pm 
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I have not researched this, but I was under the impression that places like Walmart had actually moved to a plastic bag that was biodegradable? I know the ones we get in my area are extremely flimsy and are not good for containing garbage. They are easily penetrated, and break down over time if exposed to UV.

Now, the bags I get from various retailers like clothing stores, are made much stronger and I do not believe they are actually biodegradable. They are usually similar to actual garbage bags.

I try to not use garbage bags unless necessary. I try to compost anything that is suitable, including cardboard and paper. If I need to, I wait until an appropriate time and burn items.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 7:28 pm 
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Biodegradability is something of a scam. Nothing really degrades much in a landfill, doesn't matter if it's plastic or paper or whatever, without oxygen, the stuff remains intact for centuries. Newspaper is still legible a hundred years after being thrown there.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 4:28 am 
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I suppose that is true if a landfill is a static dump. I would think that most landfills turn over their waste to compost. Oxygen is needed to break down vegetation properly as well. I do know that those new plastic bags will turn to dust if exposed. I've even had some rubbermade containers and plastic buckets not treated for UV, break down and turn to dust over time.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:48 pm 
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Talya wrote:
Newspaper is still legible a hundred years after being thrown there.


As an archivist, paper is a pretty stable medium, more than you would think.

But yeah, you're right: even veggies and such take forever to biodegrade in landfills due to the lack of oxygen.

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