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Thread summary:

Seattle Mayor and City council president proposing 20 cent tax on paper and plastic grocery bags, Western Washington recycle conscience, seeking opinions

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Old 05-16-2008, 01:12 PM
 
Location: Tennessee/Michigan
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(AP) SEATTLE - Paper or plastic? Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels and City Council President Richard Conlin say the answer is neither.

The two are proposing a 20-cent fee on disposable shopping bags at grocery, drug and convenience stores.

NewsChannel 5.com - Nashville, Tennessee - Seattle Mayor Proposes 20-Cent Tax On Grocery Bags
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Old 05-16-2008, 01:28 PM
 
Location: Cosmic Consciousness
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Yes, this is in MY world. Western Washington is very recycle-conscious, and it's a daily and complex part of our trash collection life.

The mayor showed the astonishingly huge pile of plastic bags -- that won't decompose in landfill, of course -- that residents of just Seattle city limits throw away every week. Mind-blowing.

I have the feeling the "tax" won't pass the City Council, but it's worth the publicity, I think, to educate folks on the consequences of heavy use of thrown-away plastic, and the massive destruction of trees for paper bags, napkins, etc.
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Old 05-16-2008, 03:13 PM
 
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I've got nothing against recycling, and in fact I recycle and reuse everything, and bury my food waste, but I just don't think this 20 cent tax is a good idea.
It will inordinately hurt the poor, a group that doesn't generally donate much to Mayor Nickel's re-election campaigns.
Also, it smacks of "holier than thou" nanny state mentality. The Mayor likes to take stands that have little relevance, but make him look good, like the City of Seattle agreeing to the Kyoto protocols. Feh.
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Old 05-17-2008, 10:19 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
18,616 posts, read 55,547,642 times
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Angry Recycle the mayor instead

I knew this would be starting soon. Here is my post of 4/1/08 in City-Data Forum > General Forums > House > Green?
I highlighted the relevant line. My error was in thinking too small - 2 cents vs. 20 cents.

Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
There are a few major components to the "green" movement that many people don't recognize or admit.

First, some enterprising folks have used it to create a demand for their business product. The one that comes to mind immediately is the "green" grocery bag. I've nothing against the concept of re-using a bag to carry groceries, although if I were a store owner I would be concerned about people lugging containers INTO my store where they could hide stolen items. What the "green" bags business owners have done, however, is start a campaign using the proper buzzwords to incite those who want to be green. The purpose of that campaign is to eliminate the micro-mole (a type of ultra-thin plastic that is strong, yet degrades quickly in ultraviolet or ozone) plastic bags. Is this a REAL saving of the environment? Of course not. How many of us (raise your hand here) use the micro-mole bags for garbage, cat spit-up, litter pan emptying, baby kuh-kuh, and other types of trash, recognizing it as a low-impact waste bag? I go through at least ten of these a week, and I also use them as cheap gloves for touch-up painting or greasy parts handling. The alternatives are the relatively expensive and less environment-friendly consumer bags sold in stores, and the additional purchase of latex or nitrile gloves, both of which are another chance for someone to make money and add a drain on planetary resources.

Cities afraid of roadside litter, and stores afraid to buck the green movement capitulate to the pressure of these business owners to "save the environment." Plu-ese! Spare me the B.S.. This is a group of businesspeople trying to make a buck and eventually turn a no-cost resource into a profit stream. Mark my words, it'll be less than a year or two before some city or state decides to tax the free grocery bag a penny or two per bag, and it will spread like a tax cancer to the entire nation.

Secondly, true "green" or environmentalist thought is nothing more than a death wish and de-valuing of human life that reduces productivity. People, by the very act of living, impact the environment. The only way to completely eliminate that footprint is to never be born. Now that you are on the planet, trying nobly to minimize the amount of resources you use does a few things. It frees those resources up for people and businesses that WILL happily use them, reducing competition and cost to them; it puts you into a mindset of "Oh, I can't use that, that would be evil to the world," denying you pleasures or resources that often have little real impact; and it turns you into an unthinking willing pawn of any crackpot who CLAIMS that their product is green and good. None of the above is particularly good for you or the environment, and the same line of thought was explored quite thoroughly during the Russian Revolution of 1917, where the rich lost their houses to the state, which then housed starving peasants in them. Follow the espoused concepts of many eco-nuts to their logical conclusion, and you'll end up in the same type of eco-nuthouse.

Third, most of the claims by the greenies are overhyped or just plain wrong. Remember back to the 1970s, when it was claimed that we would be drowning in those little triangular plastic parts used in filter cigarettes? I challenge you to go to a beach or park or anywhere that smokers frequented during those years, and find one. Unless thousands of tiny ecologically minded fairies and gnomes scoured the landscape, that plastic decayed or was destroyed.

A favorite non-sensical practical joke played by the eco-nuts on the public is the classic - "Don't let your dog p00p too close to a river, lest it contaminate it during flood stage." Right. And pray tell me, what do bears do in the woods? How do you reconcile saving bears and wildlife with wanting clean rivers? Use some common sense, people, rather than trying to find any excuse to beat others up in the name of ecological correctness.

Fourth, some "green" activities are simply hidden taxes. Recycling started out simply enough, a tax on bottles and cans, so that people would return them to stores and not litter the roadsides. The poor and those who cared could collect the ones that were still tossed out of car windows, and make a few bucks. It was annoying, but worked OK. As the market for metal and paper bloomed, cities decided that recycling would save the world. Yeah, sure. What they really found was that their often highly paid citizens could nobly act as unpaid laborers in the comfort of their own homes, sorting their own trash into more salable clean glass, metal, and paper. Simultaneously, the cost of landfill space could be reduced a little.

When you dutifully wash that organic soup can out to prepare it for the recycle bin, you are paying for municipal water, water that is becoming yet another primary income stream for municipalities at the expense of the environment, and using your labor to support a bloated government that you helped create; a government that has to think up more ways to get money out of you, in order to maintain such necessities as mandated landscaping down the middle of roads, landscapes using pesticides and yet more precious water.

The money made off your recycling labors also goes towards the purchase of mowers and the carbon emitting gasoline to fuel them, along with other dubious "environmental" projects. The farmer who lets his old hay rake and 62 Plymouth rust into a field has less of a negative impact on the environment than the average highly motivated and " green" city dweller.

So, in the midst of all this, when someone asks "Is building an 8500sf house for a single person environmentally green?" it both gives me hope that someone else has realized that the emperor has no clothes, and it makes me despair that we live in a such a non-thinking environment that the question even had to be asked.

Yeah, let's be responsible and thoughtful in what we do. Let's not be mass-consumers and trash producers. But we also need to stop using "green" as an intolerant new-age religion and excuse to clobber the heads of infidels. If you are that dedicated to being green that you can't stand the impact of humanity, please do the planet and your warped ethics a favor and make your exit before another organic carrot is killed in your name.
Rethinking, I realize the proposed 20 cent tax is a feint, a strawman designed to introduce the concept in an "unreasonable" way. It'll get defeated, and then brought back up again with a new lower price, more in keeping with the 2 cents per bag that I posted. I've been around too long to be taken in by many of the tricks of money-sucking politicians and special interest groups.

Recycle the mayor instead. Take him out of the mayor position and put him in charge of a dozer at the landfill where he belongs.

Last edited by harry chickpea; 05-17-2008 at 10:30 AM..
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Old 05-17-2008, 11:18 AM
 
Location: Midwest
4,500 posts, read 7,338,132 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ira500 View Post
I've got nothing against recycling, and in fact I recycle and reuse everything, and bury my food waste, but I just don't think this 20 cent tax is a good idea.
It will inordinately hurt the poor, a group that doesn't generally donate much to Mayor Nickel's re-election campaigns.
Also, it smacks of "holier than thou" nanny state mentality. The Mayor likes to take stands that have little relevance, but make him look good, like the City of Seattle agreeing to the Kyoto protocols. Feh.
Pretty much my thoughts.

There is a certain group who thinks a new tax is the solution to all problems on Heaven and Earth.

Now, if we could just tax the bejeezus out of anyone who, in their heart and mind, actually believes the Kyoto Protocols are anything but a control and redistribution scheme...there's a tax I could support.
Somehow I don't think that issue will surface.
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Old 05-20-2008, 12:41 PM
 
3,698 posts, read 10,314,934 times
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Even though the tax isn't in place, I am seeing more and more people bringing canvas bags to the grocery store. I just started using them and they can hold a lot more than the plastic or paper bags.

I don't like the idea of the tax, but in Seattle at least folks are going to start using canvas bags more and more because we're a little more conscious of the waste we generate.
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Old 05-21-2008, 06:02 AM
MB2
 
Location: Sebastian/ FL
3,496 posts, read 8,752,977 times
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I know, I know....here's yet another tax.......*sigh*

But, I have to tell you, in Germany, we have to pay for plastic shopping bags (for as long as I can remember).
Either people bring in cartons, to put their items in, or bring their straw baskets or canvas bags.
Keeping waste down, recycling.....and it's a way of life over there, and seems to work really well.
Don't have a problem bringing my own bags, basket.....with me.
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Old 05-21-2008, 10:12 AM
 
Location: Boise, ID
1,356 posts, read 5,543,017 times
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A legislator in California is proposing $.25 per bag.

I'm all for raising awareness. Too bad that awareness so often turns into a tax proposal.
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Old 05-22-2008, 08:05 AM
MB2
 
Location: Sebastian/ FL
3,496 posts, read 8,752,977 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niners fan View Post
.........I'm all for raising awareness. Too bad that awareness so often turns into a tax proposal.
Exactly....why do all the things (including GOOD things) have to have THAT much hated word "TAX" attached to it?
Let's face it....no one I know of actually "likes" taxes, or cringe, when they only hear that word.
Of course do people resist and revolt against it....because it usually means nothing good.
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Old 05-28-2008, 04:41 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
18,616 posts, read 55,547,642 times
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Angry Plastic not biodegradable? Yeah, right - NOT

Quote:
Originally Posted by allforcats View Post
Yes, this is in MY world. Western Washington is very recycle-conscious, and it's a daily and complex part of our trash collection life.

The mayor showed the astonishingly huge pile of plastic bags -- that won't decompose in landfill, of course -- that residents of just Seattle city limits throw away every week. Mind-blowing.

I have the feeling the "tax" won't pass the City Council, but it's worth the publicity, I think, to educate folks on the consequences of heavy use of thrown-away plastic, and the massive destruction of trees for paper bags, napkins, etc.
Remember how I said that you can't find the little bits of plastic from the cigarette filters from the 1970s? Looks like I was 100% correct. Plastic IS biodegradable, and when the issue is presented to an intelligent and annoyed teenager rather than a heavily funded research lab, the truth comes out.

"Now a Waterloo teenager has found a way to make plastic bags degrade faster -- in three months, he figures.

Daniel Burd's project won the top prize at the Canada-Wide Science Fair in Ottawa. He came back with a long list of awards, including a $10,000 prize, a $20,000 scholarship, and recognition that he has found a practical way to help the environment.

Daniel, a 16-year-old Grade 11 student at Waterloo Collegiate Institute, got the idea for his project from everyday life."

TheRecord.com - CanadaWorld - WCI student isolates microbe that lunches on plastic bags

Note that the kid didn't do anything to genetically engineer a new strain of bacteria, all he did was create a comfortable environment where EXISTING organisms could grow, and determined which ones did best at the task. The organisms already exist. The magic material that contains them? Dirt.

Yep, all that BS about non-degradable plastic is shown to be a lie by a 16 Y.O. boy.

Ready for my next prediction? A company like Monsanto will now claim to have "developed" an improved microbe for digesting plastic, patent it, and charge anyone who attempts to degrade plastic using microbes with patent infringement.

When will people realize that 95% of all of this eco-nut BS is about money? Use your brains and throw the garbage out... of office.
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