Wednesday, May 28, 2008

China Takes Hard Stance on Plastic Bags

One of the advantages of a centralized government is decisive action when a serious problem comes up. Take plastic bags, for example. They're costly in terms of petroleum. They pile up on sidewalks and parks. They're a menace. Here in the US, the Federal government hasn't done anything Pound360 is aware of to confront the problem. Some cities, like San Francisco have banned them. But entire countries like Ireland and Bangladesh have already done so. And this week, Scientific American reports China will follow suit. What is the US waiting for?

In China, they crank through 3 billion plastic bags a day. That adds up to 37 million barrels of oil each year. Calling this a "great waste of natural resources," China will ban the manufacture of plastic bags starting in June. Also, it will be illegal for shopkeepers to give away plastic bags for free. So it's not an outright ban, but a great first step. And more than the US government is willing to do.

Sorry folks, there are some solutions the market will simply not come up with. That's the problem with capitalism. We only conserve when it saves us money. We only care about the environment as long as gas is around $4 per gallon.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.