Plastic bags could find unlikely pal in Florida recycling proposals

No place in Florida would be able to ban the ubiq fake rolex uitous plastic shopping bag as San Francisco did last year until at least February 2010 under a proposal heading for debate today.

But in even an odder twist, the state mandate on local governments would be attached to an environmentally inclined plan to require airports and state vendors to recycle glass, aluminum cans and plastic.

Recycling bills offered by Rep. Janet Long, D Seminole, and Sen. Dennis Jones, R Treasure Island, were going nowhere until major industries opposing them and top lawmakers figured out a way to get something they wanted, too.

Powerful lobbyists for Publix, retailers, newspaper company Gannett and Associated Industries of Florida want the plastic bag protection, fearing a hodgepodge of local regulations against plastic bags that would cut revenues. The protection would apply to grocery bags, dry cleaning bags and ones that protect newspapers.

“It benefits anybody in a business that uses plastic bags,” said Rep. Stan Mayfield, R Vero Beach, who will offer the changes to HB 301 during floor debate today. city to go paper bag only, but other cities and countries have taken up the idea.

Environmental advocates have pressed for bans in Miami Dade and Sarasota counties, hoping to do away with what they consider a bane against nature.

“If you ban some fake rolex thing and want to recycle it, let’s make sure there’s a market out ther fake rolex e,” said Keyna Cory, chief lobbyist for Associated Industries.

Jones said his recycling bill (SB 692) was also languishing in the Senate until he l fake rolex earned Wednesday it could re emerge with the changes, too. Though he said he has yet to decide if he’ll support a plastic bag provision.

“At this point, with only six days left, I think we take a chance to move it,” Jones said.

Also on the House floor, Mayfield and colleagues are expected to seek to require state vendors and airports to recycle only if it is “economically feasible.”

The changes have prompted Rep. Rick Kriseman, D St. Petersburg, to remove his name as a co sponsor of the House bill, questioning the new versions including the pre emption on local government regulations.

Long said she had questions about the ultimate makeup of the bill, but the plastic bag protection for a few years might be justifiable and help put recycling on the front burner.

“Would it be better to develop a statewide standard that really addresses plastic bags? I think it could,” she said.

Plastic bags could become biofuel source

My household accumulates quite a number of plastic shopping bags. Most come home with me from the grocery store. I use them to line the little garbage pail that sits under the kitchen sink and the wastebasket that’s in the bathroom. I also have the joy of using them to pick up poop de fake rolex posited by Buster Brown, my faithful mutt from the pound.

But if you don’t have uses for the plastic shopping bags you bring home, what do you do with them? Researchers hope that one day perhaps sooner rather than later your bags may be turned into alternative fuels such as diesel. That’s right, plastic shopping bags could help power diesel engine ca fake rolex rs and pickup trucks.

It’s not as pie in the sky as it may sound. Converting shopping bags into fuel requires less energy than it produces. The key is the high temperature breakdown of plastic in the bags done in the absence of oxygen, or anaerobically. His research write up was recently published in the journal Fuel Processing Technology. in 2009, the last year for which figures are available. Of these, only about 13 percent were recycled.

Some of the rest were doubtless reused for household purposes, like mine are, and after that headed to landfills. But many of the bags aren’t recycled or reused and go either directly to landfills or are released into the environment as litter.

Plastic bags that become litter blow around and cause a number of problems beyond being an fake rolex eyesore. They can kill animals that ingest them or become tangled with them. In the oceans, they compose part of what’s termed the Great Pacific Garbage Patch of floating trash.

“Over time, this material floating in the oceans breaks into tiny pieces. It’s ingested along with plankton by aquatic animals,” Sharma said in an email.

The material in plastic shopping bags has been detected in the oceans near both the north and south poles. It’s also a problem in the Great Lakes. Because the plastic apparently takes centuries to fully degrade in nature, the issues that the bags pose are long term.

But Sharma and his colleagues have an alternative use for the bags. Once the plastic is broken down anaerobically in a lab, it yields a variety of useful chemicals including solvents, engine oils, gasoline and natural gas. The bulk of the material produced is an alternative diesel fuel, one that Sharma and his co workers found to be a good blending component for regular diesel.

“This approach can also be applied to other low value plastics as well,” Shar fake rolex ma wrote to me.

I’ve often thought that there’s no single solution for pollution problems. And while turning plastic bags into diesel may only work for some bags, it’s an interesting approach to getting rid of what otherwise would be trash while producing a valuable commodity.

Plastic bags could be a thing of the past

Eradicating those unsightly plastic bags that hang in trees and clog landfills may not be in the bag just yet but the idea is reaching a fever pitch in Canada and around the world.

On Tuesday, Whole Foods Market, the world’s largest natural food retailer, announced it would stop giving out disposable plastic bags at the checkout counters. stores aim to be free of bags by Earth Day on April 22 of this year. And earlier this month China launched a countrywide ban barring shop owners to hand out single use bags. “We just don’t need them.”

Saxby, an Australian native, was one of the first people in North America to champ fake rolex ion a ban in her adopted home of Rossland.

About 10 years ago, the budding environmentalist worked in a retail store in Australia, where incidentally the federal environment minister is currently seeking to ban all ultra thin plastic bags by the end of the year.

She said she would question why she had to give customers a bag even for the tiniest item. It was then on a trip to Coles Bay in Tasmania that she became really passionate about doing something about the problem.

“It was really cool what was happening there because it’s such a tourist attraction and all of these thousands of tourists who came to see the national park were also witnessing a town without plastic bags and really seeing it work, she said by phone from her family home in Brisbane.

The village of Coles Bay, which attracts about 25,000 tour fake rolex ists a year, became the first community in Australia to ban the bags in 2003. The move was copied by dozens more communities in Australia and across the globe.

So Saxby brought the idea home. She took the idea to city council last year in Rossland.

“I said Rossland, let’s do this and the whole town got excited,” she said. “There was an overwhelming fervour.”

The town vied to be the first town in North America to go bag free, but that honour landed in the lap of the small community of Leaf Rapids, Man., on April 2, 2007. With just over 500 residents, city officials handed out more than 5,000 free cloth bags. Leaf Rapids is about 980 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg. city to adopt a ban in March after efforts to impose a tax failed, while New Jersey is seeking to be the first state to phase out bags after government implemented a bill in November.

Large global cities are also jumping on board.

“It’s happening everywhere now,” says Saxby, “Vancouver, Toronto, Whistler all these places are looking at options and are committed to reducing or eliminating them. Reusable bags are everywhere.”

The idea is gaining worldwide momentum. There are now restrictions or bans in Ireland, Taiwan, Kenya, Uganda, Zanzibar and South Africa, among others.

The chief administrator in Leaf Rapids, Martin Van Osch, says the whole community is willing to use the cloth bags to do their shopping. Local businesses could be fined $1,000 for ignoring the ban, but no fines have been levied.

“It’s a good thing because people are learning that plastic bags are not free. There’s a price,” says Saxby.

It’s estimated that plastic bags take about 1,000 years to break down in the environment.

The tricky part of the equation for many Canadians is the perennial question: plastic or paper? But environmentalists say using paper isn’t the answer either. Opponents say they use too many trees, create more greenhouse gas emissions in manufacturing and take up more space in landfills.

Environmentalists argue that consumers must look at other options.

“We wouldn’t oppose a ban, but we currently propose a tax,” said the leader of Canada’s national Green Party Elizabeth May, fake rolex noting a federal ban is hig fake rolex hly unlikely in Canada.

“We need to convince consumers that, on so many levels, these are not essential products,” she says. “It’s a created false need.”