It's been announced that Tasmania in joining South Australia and the ACT in banning the sale of the supremely useful plastic bag. I thought Queensland were planning on the ridiculous ban as well, but maybe they had an attack of common sense.
So what effect does the banning of plastic bags have? Well, in South Australia, they banned them some years ago. On our last trip, I noticed they seemed to have a lot more blowflies than they used to - they're almost an endangered species in NSW and Victoria, and I think largely because almost all rubbish is in plastic bags, making it too difficult for them to find places to breed.
What environmental benefits does the ban have? (Aside from encouraging rats and flies.)
They used to say that plastic bags last 10,000 years or some such nonsense. These days, a plastic bag is lucky to see three uses before falling to bits. I bought one from Target once, a nice big one, but it dissolved into a million tiny pieces before it could be re-used even once. Useless!
So what are their uses and how much will we miss them?
1. To line the kitchen bin. So instead of tipping a mess of filth into a bigger bin and then having to scrub a smelly bin, now we tie off the top, sealing inside the smells and the wettish things, (like chop bones) and dump it in the bigger outside bin.
2. Been swimming? Use a plastic bag to keep the wet swimmers from making everything else wet.
4. For your lunch. Sandwiches go stale when wrapped in paper (no matter what some will pretend.) They stay fresh much longer in a sealed plastic bag.
5. At the beach? Keep a plastic bag in your pocket in case you see shells that you want to keep. This applies to all sorts of other things - a plastic bag has the property of folding up small and being there when needed.
6. Doing the washing? Kids been playing in the mud? Use a plastic bag to keep dirty, wet things from contaminating the whole wash.
7. Ants around? Seal off the leftover crust with honey in a plastic bag, otherwise the ants will find it for sure.
9. Propagating flowers? Put your cutting in the soil, a few sticks around and a plastic bag over. (Though a cut-down plastic bottle is more convenient.)
There are numerous other uses. I'm sure you can think of a few yourself. Here are just two more for your consideration.
The most interesting use - It was in a book called 'Vector' by Robin Cook. (good book)
The character used 'impermeable plastic bags' to safely hold the Anthrax spores.
The most important use, and the one that most definitely benefits the environment. Note that I said 'benefits.' Young women's used sanitary pads, old people's used incontinence pants, used baby-wipes and baby nappies, the gross end-product after someone has cleaned their abscessed wound...
We need plastic bags. These things are not suitable to just toss in with the other rubbish. And those hopeful people who say we should simply use newspaper? Have they never noticed that newspapers get wet and soggy and then fall to bits?
Plastic bags are supremely useful. It is just stupid to ban them.
I cannot actually remember why plastic bags have become the scapegoat for all sorts of environmental problems. They are an infinitesimal part of the harm that people do, and play a substantial part in minimising the harm that people do.
No. If you are concerned for the environment, have two children instead of three, one instead of two, and vey definitely, four instead of fourteen (but preferably two.)
Over-population is the root cause of almost every environmental problem we have. It is over-population we need to tackle, not the humble and supremely useful plastic bag.
|Just too many people,|
not too many plastic bags.