Random... Instead of banning straws, we should ban balloons, especially the helium ones.

If you didn't know, helium is used for a variety of medical applications, like MRIs. We have limited supply and balloons account for about 7% of the use.

Balloons should cost $100 a pop, given the limited supply. Pun intended.

@KARiley40 Not mutually exclusive? I suspect more disposable straws are present these days than disposable balloons (certainly more plastic I have consumed comes from the former than the latter). At any rate, a better goal to state than banning plastic straws is "mostly eliminating them" (leaving accessibility cases intact)

@cwebber But yeah, omg, the plastic wrap drives me bananas. Like no, I do not need a tiny plastic window in my otherwise paper bag so I can see the loaf of bread I know I just stuck in the bag. And little things like that.

I know there is big stuff out there, fishing nets come to mind, but I also know, we've got a lot of work to do, including the small things.

@KARiley40 sounds like we agree :)

I am trying to figure out how to change my purchase habits to reduce the amount of disposable plastic I use. I have considered doing a "month of almost no disposable plastic" but society has constructed itself in such a way that it feels like it would take an enormous amount of energy. That seems like a huge warning sign (and reason to do it).

@KARiley40 We need larger regulatory changes which target industrial production, "consumer" changes aren't enough.

But they are a starting place. Just look at how *easy* it is to be a vegetarian today compared to say, the 1970s when Peter Singer and co started arguing for it... Animal Liberation included some recipes mainly because most Americans couldn't fathom what a vegetarian diet would even *look* like. Consumer demand *did* drive a change there.

@cwebber @KARiley40 disposable packaging has been leveraged by producers to externalise their costs. They don't pay to maintain landfills so it just becomes "someone else's problem". If one form of disposable packaging is banned they will just switch to different disposable packaging.

Perhaps if the producers of such waste were made responsible for the actual disposal costs they would be more motivated to actually reduce wasteful packaging.

@msh @cwebber I agree and it used to be that way. Soda bottling companies used to be responsible for the bottles. They would offer you a discount on your next purchase if you returned the bottle to the vendor.

Annndddd then that commercial about littering and the crying native american came along... and we shifted the blame to consumers.

I think we should go back to companies shouldering the blame.

@KARiley40 @cwebber Where I live there is still a deposit/refund system in place for most beverage containers somewhat resembling this (a deposit is charged by the retailer and the consumer can redeem the deposit by returning empties to a depot). The operation of depots is at least partially funded by the beverage industry.

These days far less reuse is done than recycling as we use less glass bottles, but it still helps.

Perhaps this model could be extended to other industries.


@KARiley40 with today's technology this is even more feasible. Imagine if we could use the barcodes to direct all the disposable packaging back to the manufacturer and get a deposit refund?

Then the manufacturers would have to deal with the mountain of garbage themselves? Like, even buy land for landfills and pay for people to bury it for them?

They'd sure learn to love reusable containers fast.


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