September 30, 2008, - 12:09 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
On this site, we’ve discussed the many, many examples of the hypocrisy of the “green” movement and the celebrity eco-hypocrites.
Now, there’s yet another example, based on something we’ve touched on before: various retailers’ elimination of plastic bags–or bags altogether unless you pay for them, as in the case of IKEA–in favor of those permanent coated canvas bags they ask you to buy from them and reuse.
It’s a pet peeve of mine. I don’t like it when I’m at IKEA and they ask me to pay a nickel for a bag because the gazillionaire old man who owns the company and lives in the United Empire of Madonnastan (what I call Europe–they love her and Islam) decides I have to subscribe to his politics, not just buy his products and make him rich. Whenever I’m at any retailer that is trying to phase out plastic bags, I make a point for asking for them, and I always say, “I want one because I’m against the environment.” Of course, I’m not. I have to live and breathe the air, too. I just don’t think my plastic bag is the horror of horrors they think it is, and I like to mock them and play the role.
Back to those coated, reusable bags they want you to use. The whole idea is not as “environmentally-friendly” as they’d have you believe, despite the enviro-Nazi politics they try to press upon you. And when you buy them, your money goes to the Chi-Coms:
It’s manufactured in China, shipped thousands of miles overseas, made with plastic and could take years to decompose. It’s also the hot “green” giveaway of the moment: the reusable shopping bag.
The bags usually are printed with environmental slogans as well as corporate logos and pitched as earth-friendly substitutes for the billions of disposable plastic bags that wind up in landfills every year. . . .
But well-meaning companies and consumers are finding that shopping bags, like biofuels, are another area where it’s complicated to go green. “If you don’t reuse them, you’re actually worse off by taking one of them,” says Bob Lilienfeld, author of the Use Less Stuff Report, an online newsletter about waste prevention. And because many of the bags are made from heavier material, they’re also likely to sit longer in landfills than their thinner, disposable cousins, according to Ned Thomas, who heads the department of material science and engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. . . .
If each bag is used multiple times — at least once a week — four or five reusable bags can replace 520 plastic bags a year, says Nick Sterling, research director at Natural Capitalism Solutions, a nonprofit focused on corporate sustainability issues.
Wow, that’s a big if.
The nonwoven polypropylene bags, made in China, should last about five years, says spokesman Steve Linders [of CVS].
The bags are made in China from nonwoven polypropylene. The materials are recyclable and decompose without contaminating groundwater, says spokeswoman Erin Pensa [of Walmart].
This new bag costs 50 cents but has less recycled content than Wal-Mart’s $1 reusable bag. The company says it wanted to offer shoppers a cheaper option.
The bags are made in China from nonwoven polypropylene that contains 30% recycled material, says spokesman Mike Black [of Staples]. . . .
The nonwoven polypropylene bags, made in China, are part of a larger green initiative, says spokeswoman Kelly Groehler [of Best Buy].
Yup, the common denominator is that China is laughing all the way to the bank at our faux-greenness bizarre-dom.
Many of the cheap, reusable bags that retailers favor are produced in Chinese factories and made from nonwoven polypropylene, a form of plastic that requires about 28 times as much energy to produce as the plastic used in standard disposable bags and eight times as much as a paper sack, according to Mr. Sterling, of Natural Capitalism Solutions.
Hmmm . . . doesn’t exactly sound more eco-friendly to me.
Some, such as the ones sold in Gristedes stores in New York that are printed with the slogan “I used to be a plastic bag,” are misleading. Those bags are also made in China from nonwoven polypropylene and have no recycled content. Stanley Joffe, president of Earthwise Bag Co., the Commerce, Calif., company that designed the bags, says the slogan is meant to point out that the bag itself is reusable, taking the place of a disposable plastic bag.
But get this: The plastic bag Nazis don’t really have as their goal for you not to use plastic bags any more. Nope. Their goal is far more sinister. They want you to get used to using the reusable coated bags and then to get used to less then thorough bathing. It’s used as an analogy, but their goals are severe. The analogy is no accident:
Getting people to actually use the bags is another matter. Maximizing their benefits requires changing deeply ingrained behavior, like getting used to taking 30-second showers to lower one’s energy and water use. At present, many of the bags go unused — remaining stashed instead in consumers’ closets or in the trunks of their cars. . . .
Sarah De Belen, a 35-year-old mother of two from Hoboken, N.J., says she uses about 30 or 40 plastic bags at the grocery store every week. Late last year, she saw a woman at the supermarket with a popular canvas tote by London designer Anya Hindmarch and promptly purchased one online for about $45.
But Ms. De Belen says she soon realized she’d need 12 of them to accommodate an average grocery run. “It can hold, like, a head of lettuce,” she says. Besides, she adds, it’s too nice to load up with diapers or dripping chicken breasts.
Thank G-d Americans aren’t the complete lemmings I thought they were. Disposable plastic bags are not going to be our death. Much less so than worshipping blindly at the PC group-think alter of environmental correctness and faux-green.
Like I said, the ChiComs are laughing at us . . . all the way to the bank.
When we become their China–after generations of such stupidity–they won’t be having us manufacture reusable bags. Bet on it.