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Re: E-M:/ Bottle-return debate

Enviro-Mich message from Rane Curl <ranecurl@engin.umich.edu>

On Wed, 23 Aug 2006, Claire Maitre wrote:

I do believe that we should hold manufacturers responsible for their choice to create single use plastic everything, including beverage containers. They should have to deal with the problem they've created.

This comments reminds me that there are two aspects to recycling, such as of containers: protecting the environment and resource recovery. At a time when "peak oil" is on many people's minds, the fact that oil is also the source for plastics is of some importance. Something like 20% of our total oil use is for the production of plastics. Discarded plastics of all sorts, such as plastic bags, are also environmental litter, as well as potential sources for reuse, or represent other potential products made from oil.

I was tempted to do a simple calculation of the waste associated with newspaper sleeves. These weight about 3 grams so, as gasoline, that would power an auto getting 30 mpg for about 160 feet (over 10 miles per year at one per day). Trivial and not worth thinking about? However consider how many are used daily, almost all of which go immediately into garbage, and then extend that to all plastic bags and bottles. Wasted plastics are also a large part of both the oil energy and resources problem.

--Rane L Curl

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