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Plastic Straws, Stirrers And Bottle Caps, Oh My!

Jolly Sunshine Limited | Updated: Jun 06, 2018

Plastic straws, drink stirrers and untethered bottle caps are being banned in the European Union and California. Now add Alaska Airlines to the list. The company just announced it will ban straws and drink stirrers on its flights. That means that I’ll now have to stir my Bloody Mary with my finger if I fly Alaska! Game supply and game card sleeve and trading card sleeve and soft card holder.

Let’s face it: Banning straws and drink stirrers is a meaningless, feel-good gesture that will have absolutely no impact on the tons of marine litter in the oceans, most of which comes from Asia-Pacific. (A recent National Geographic article noted that the Yangtze River in China is the largest polluter with 330,000 metric tons of trash flowing into the ocean each year.) Game supply and game card sleeve and trading card sleeve and soft card holder.

The People’s Republic of California, of course, is proud of the way it “villainized” plastic bags a number of years ago, and is now making drinking straws and untethered bottle caps the next target. Bills recently introduced, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times by Rosanna Xia (5/28/2018), include one that “would prohibit retailers from selling single-use plastic bottles with caps that do not remain tethered to the container after opening.” It was introduced by Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderone (D-Whittier) and Assemblyman Mark Stone (D-Scotts Valley). Game supply and game card sleeve and trading card sleeve and soft card holder.

Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), who co-authored the straws and caps bill, introduced another bill that would require warning labels on clothing made of more than 50% synthetic material because the microfibers could shed during washing, noted the LA Times article. Game supply and game card sleeve and trading card sleeve and soft card holder.

California conservatives and manufacturers groups are pushing back against these bills, but evidently not hard enough. “The concerns from the Plastics Industry Association, California Chamber of Commerce, International Bottled Water Association, and dozens of others have been more measured. Most have backed off on the straws bill, acknowledging that giving customers the option to request one was a reasonable compromise,” said Xia in her article.

I take that to mean that the Plastics Industry Association is basically saying, “hey, it’s just straws and drink stirrers, and untethered bottle caps which can be easily affixed to the bottles.” However, most caps are made from a different type of plastic than the bottles and go into different recycling streams. The Association of Plastics Recyclers (APR) had recommended that the caps be taken off the bottle for recycling. Now, thanks to better recycling technology and to make it easier for consumers, the APR recommends leaving the caps on—the recycler will sort them during the wash process, in which HDPE and PP will float to the top and PET will sink, with each being sent to a different recycling stream.  Game supply and game card sleeve and trading card sleeve and soft card holder.

Looking at a photo that accompanied an article appearing in my daily National Geographic that showed a “river” of trash—you literally cannot see the water—running through a slum area in downtown Manila in the Philippines to Manila Bay and finally into the ocean, I know there’s a problem. The Philippines does not have the infrastructure to handle the mountains of trash that people throw away every day. Straws and drink stirrers seem to be a miniscule problem when one looks at that photograph. Game supply and game card sleeve and trading card sleeve and soft card holder.