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Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Hawaii Recycle First Coalition debunks plastic bag ban
By News Release @ 7:00 PM :: 10995 Views :: Energy, Environment

HB 2125: Measure history and text  (Passed Environment Committee)

KITV: Even biodegradable Plastic Bags Could Cost Customers 20 Cents

There Is No Such Thing As Environmentally Friendly Litter:  Members of the Hawaii Recycle First Coalition respond to the Rise Above Plastics Rally

We share the goal of the Rise Above Plastics coalition to make Hawaii a litter free place.  However, we believe efforts to promote recycling and educate people about litter prevention are much more effective means to reduce waste and protect our environment.  No litter, including plastic, belongs in the ocean.  Plastics belong in the recycling bin—not targeted for bans or taxes.  Protecting our shore lines and eliminating ocean litter has no geographic or political boundaries, so solutions must involve international partnerships and be global in scope.  We can do our part by enforcing litter laws, encouraging and promoting recycling programs and remembering to reuse our own shopping bags regardless of their material type.

In addition:

·    Ireland is often cited as having reduced plastic grocery bag usage by 90+% after taxing each bag.  Not told when the statistic is cited is that overall sales of other plastic bags shot up 400% as consumers were forced to purchase replacement bags for the grocery bags they once were able to reuse. (Source: PIFA, 2004 (also validated by the Scottish Parliament ERDC Committee – Economic and Rural Development Committee) PIFA/Mike Kidwell Associates 2006)

·    For every seven trucks needed to deliver paper bags, only one truck is needed for the same number of plastic bags, helping to save energy and reduce emissions

·    Every major store now sells reusable bags so shoppers can bring their own

·    About 90% of Americans reuse their plastic bags for such things as trash disposal, lunch bags and pet pick-up

·    In the United States, nearly 80% of polyethylene, the type of plastic used to make plastic bags, is produced from natural gas, not oil.  This includes feedstock, process and transportation energy (U.S. Department of Energy’s and National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s U.S. Life Cycle Inventory Database. See: http://www.nrel.gov/lci/ Data also available as a report: Franklin Associates, LLC. Cradle-to-Gate Life Cycle Inventory of Nine Plastic Resins and Two Polyurethane Precursors. 2007.  See: http://www.americanchemistry.com/s_plastics/sec_content.asp?CID=1930&DID=7832)

·    The biodegradable and compostable bags currently on the market will only degrade in a professionally-managed, large-scale composting facility.  They will not breakdown in the natural environment, in a home composting device or in a landfill

·    It is currently estimated that there are fewer than 100 suitable composting facilities in the United States.  Where composting facilities are not available, “compostable” bags will be sent to a landfill.  There are no composting facilities anywhere in the State of Hawaii

·    Plastics can be recycled into valuable things like durable backyard decking, home building products, city party benches and new plastic bags

·    The Ocean Conservancy’s recommendations for addressing marine debris include:

a.    Expand public and private partnerships to monitor and reduce marine debris

b.    Fund increased research on the source and impacts of marine debris

c.    Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

d.    Seek better technological solutions

e.    Support the inclusion of comprehensive ocean management in all climate change initiatives

f.    Engage in community efforts like the International Coastal Cleanup



RELATED: Hint to Hawaii: Plastic Bag Ban overturned by Calif. court -- no EIS

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