By Ernest Barteldes
My recent post in support of New York’s upcoming plastic bag law might not have caused any ripples on this blog, but if you look at the reprint that appeared on the Staten Island Advance a few days later, you’d think I was suggesting some kind of lopsided revolution.
Some of the commenters there were ludicrous – one idiot responded to every supportive comment with something really disparaging and nonsensical (some people really have too much time on their hands!). For instance, when I noted that the NY sanitation department spends over 12 million dollars to collect and dispose of plastic bags that people discard, this person said, “Why don’t you keep your silly progressive ideas to yourself, or institute a higher penalty for discarding bags in the street?”
Clearly, that moron does not realize that having police go after those who trash bags after buying a bottle of coke would cause a major strain on our authorities? I mean, can you envision cops writing tickets for that?
When someone else wrote that many countries around the world (as I had already pointed out) are doing the same thing, the moron said that “All over the world, countries enact all kinds of stupid laws because people vote for nanny state liberals.”
Well, I say, God bless these liberals, because idiots like the above mentioned tool would let the world burn if it meant keeping whatever wasteful creature comfort that might mean.
But there were earlier initiatives that helped reduce waste simply by making folks pay up to avoid waste:
Before 2013, used Metrocards littered Subway stations in New York. Although there were options put in place to refill cards from time to time, most users simply dumped their old transit cards and bought new ones, and many ended up – you guessed it – on station floors and tracks (and forgotten in wallets too). Since the fee was created, the amount of discarded cards reduced dramatically – and as a result, stations have less clutter than they did before. Sure, they can’t be compared to the Paris or Tokyo subways, but it’s definitely an improvement.
Surcharge on plastic bottles
During the Bloomberg administration, the usual 5 cent deposit usually added to glass bottles was added to water bottles as well, and this changed how folks looked at water bottles – instead of simply tossing their old Poland Spring bottles, many have begun reusing their bottles or simply getting reusable bottles instead. The result is visible, since now I see fewer of them on curbs or streets.
Starbucks will give you a small discount if you bring a reusable cup to their stores instead of taking your latte in a paper cup. The same goes with Astor Wines in the East Village, which also offers a small incentive to clients who go the extra mile. Sure, the discount is very small, but on the long run it adds up. For instance, I buy wine once or twice a week. If I always bring my own bag, that could add up to a potential $ 10 at the end of the year – or a cheaper bottle for free.
I am sure there are other examples in other towns – I heard something about mandatory composting laws in Seattle, WA but was unable to follow up. But the bottom line is simple. If we all sacrifice just a little to help, we won’t have to worry about President Trump’s skepticism – we can help our planet on our own.