Two states reduce plastic pollution while oil companies are sobbing

Great news! Washington and Oregon have taken critical steps toward reducing plastic pollution.

Plastic waste is devastating for marine wildlife, microplastics threaten human health, and plastic production is an increasingly major driver of global warming. That’s why it’s such good news that more and more states are putting our planet over plastic.


And how is this to be achieved?

Oregon already has a bottle bill that probably gets many bottles recycled.

Are they banning all or some plastics? Plastic straws, knives and forks, plastic bags? Or taxing them?

And what about all the others. Shampoo bottles, toothpaste tubes, detergent bottles. Are they banning synthetic fibers like nylon, polyester, lycra, spandex?

Sounds like whole new world? What substitutes wiil be allowed? Wood and metal furniture? Glue allowed?

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Washington State outlawed lightweight plastic grocery bags. They substituted heavy-duty, reusable plactic grocery bags that cost 8 cents. I do reuse these, but I noticed that few shoppers were carrying bags full of reusable bags into the supermarket the way I do. Apparently others noticed as well because these have also been discontinued. QFC went to paper bags. Walmart sells nonwoven fabric bags for $1 apiece.



Banning plastic bags sadly is only a token compared to what needs to be done.

Recycling is the better solution. Encouraging manufacturers to use more recycled plastic in packaging is a step in the right direction. Buying more recycled raises value and gets more recycled. Getting the public to recycle is another challenge.

Requiring use of natural materials like paper or starch instead of plastic will help. Remember cellophane? That’s cellulose from cotton or wood pulp. Remember rayon? That’s cellulose.

Plastic dinnerware can probably be replaced with molded starch. Remember paper mache? Remember when wall paper paste was laundry starch?

If we want to get rid of plastics, consumers probably need to pay more. Are they willing?

Once again those most concerned seem to be a small, but vocal minority. Industry uses plastics because they are inexpensive and do the job.

The bigger problem is having ALL the companies use the same material AND color. Black plastic does NOT get recycled–it gets burned or buried. White/clear plastic MAY get recycled. Multi-color probably is burned/buried because how do you recycle it?

OK but they make railroad ties out of recycled plastics. Deck boards can be made from recycled plastics.

In St. Louis, Ameren is installing deep purple “composite” telephone poles. They are fiberglass made with unsaturated polyester resin probably using cobalt catalyst which turns them purple. They can also use thermoplastics, ie recycled plastic.

There are plenty of places where color is not an issue. Mostly we need to get our act together to make this happen.

We are really experts at making excuses why thus and so cannot be done. Mostly we need someone kicking b@tt to make it happen.


I’ve been using fabric grocery bags for 15 or more years now. The fabric is some kind of plastic material, but it lasts for years and is easy to wipe clean. I think the heavier weight plastic bags are just as bad as the light ones. People still just throw them away.

I keep the bags in the car, so they are there when I go grocery shopping. I also have light weight mesh produce bags so I don’t have to use plastic ones from the store.