The future of plastic bags in the ocean


Where would that turtle find 20 cents to pay for that bag?

Where would this turtle find 20 cents to pay for that bag?

There’s been some publicity lately about so-called “dead zones” in the ocean and “pools of ‘garbage’ ” filled with plastic bags and other detritus of consumer capitalism. Some people even say that the thousands and thousands of plastic bags in these oceanic garbage pits are somehow the fault of us in the plastic bag industry.

Heaven forbid! Our responsibility ends with the purchase of our bags — that’s how a market system works, silly.

But even if we did have anything to do with where our clean, sanitary, and convenient disposable bags end up post-disposal, bags in the ocean are simply nothing to worry about.

Yes, these bags may be a threat to endangered sea life. However, since these creatures are already endangered, there are relatively few of them left. That means it’s highly improbable for one of the few left of an endangered species to come into contact with one of our bags. Jut do the math — it’s like a winning lottery ticket getting struck by lightning!

Also, if the boo-hooers about global warming — many of whom are also behind the bag tax — are correct, then that’s another reason not to worry. Because global warming means melting ice caps, which means higher sea levels — and that means more water to dilute pollution like old plastic bags.

Clearly, the problem is solving itself, with good old American working-class ingenuity. The same kind of ingenuity that brought you the clean, sanitary, disposable plastic  bag.

If we outlaw ingenuity, then only outlaws will be ingenious. Is that what we want in our city?


9 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by jrrrl on August 27, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    These “dead zones” or “lyfe(tm) zones” as i like to call them sound like great tourist destinations. Think of the great shows that would have been on our Comcast Cable programming if Steve Irwin was swimming in a lyfe(tm) zone that fateful day.


  2. Posted by Marv Swett on September 16, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    “consumer capitalism.”

    Of course, socialism never created any dead zones.

    What does an economic model have to do with pollution?


  3. Posted by theplasticman on September 16, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    @Marv Swett:

    Au contraire: our consumer capitalist economic model has *everything* to do with plastic bags. Our current mode of economic growth is to buy buy buy — buy for cash, buy on credit, just buy buy buy. The frantic energy of our buy/sell cycles powers the economy, pretty much on the model of alternating current.

    And what makes this buying so irresistibly clean & convenient? Why it’s the single-use disposable plastic bag of course! Just imagine if you couldn’t buy buy buy unless you had a bag in your car — you’d buy less, wouldn’t you? Just imagine if you had to clean out some occasional ickiness from a reusable bag? That’d sure make shopping a whole lot grosser, no? And imagine if we had to pay for the negative externalities of our buying at the point of purchase. No way, no how!

    Sanitizing consumption — keeping it neatly wrapped up in a clean, single-use, disposable plastic bag — is key to our consumer capitalist model. Quite simply, the American economy depends on the plastic bag. That’s why we’re so dedicated to prevent the imposition of a bag tax — because taxing waste is like taxing America.


  4. Posted by Ken Holmes on September 18, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    Hey “heplasticbagman” You say you work in the plastic bag manufacturing business. Which company do you represent? I agree with all you say, but not entirely with how you say it.

    Sure, us plastic bag manufacturers are in business to make as many bags as we can, and make money. But that’s not really the best argument to toss at the enviro-nutjobs out there. They interpret that as being greedy at the expense of everything else – including environmental issues.

    Look, I know that plastic bags aren’t a threat to the enviornment. I know all the facts. But the easily manipulated “green” freaks out there don’t tend to listen to reason. They see someone with the plastics industry defending plastic bags, and they see it as simply lying for profits sake. What we should be trying to do is educate the public about WHY plastic bags aren’t a threat.

    These nutjobs believe everything they read in sensationalist emails forwarded from fellow nutjobs. They jump on the reusable bag bandwagon based on the LIES and misleading “facts” on reusable bag websites. They honestly don’t realize that the reusable bag companies are also out to sell as much of their product as possible. Do they really think that isn’t interested in turning a profit? Do they realize that the BagMonster that shows up to protest plastic bags is actually a trademarked mascot for a reusable bag company?

    Oh, if only I could find a way to market my product by getting my competition outlawed.. .


  5. Posted by ellen on March 20, 2009 at 11:43 am

    wow. At first I thought this was a joke sort of like Colbert . Now I realize you are serious. and perhaps crazy too.

    your comment that your “responsibility ends with the purchase of our bags … silly” highlights how out of touch you are. If capitalism does not begin to demonstrate some responsibility to society, society will need to abolish it. I’ve always been a big supporter of capitalism. It has seemed like the most efficient way to provide maximum happiness for the most people at the least cost. Now it seems to be a system that rewards unbridled greed. Unregulated capitalism is causing environmental degradation that threatens to destroy human life. The meltdown we are seeing in our economy because of unregulated, unrestricted capitalism is only a warmup. The mob is growing angry my friend and capitalism had better change or the people will change it.


  6. Posted by Lea on June 22, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Wow… completely crazy, so why if you are so convinced that the environment is not worth 2 cents, are you trying to make this page look so ‘Eco friendly’ by jumping on the greening factor with the little tree banner and the nice green web layout? Just a coincident… you happen to like the color green? I doubt it.

    And whats with the spelling mistakes… also, how can you say that plastic is not harmful to the environment when there are plenty of scientific studies that show exactly how harmful it is! Look it up, is right, do some research before repeating yourself endlessly and sounding like an idiot.

    Plastic bags are not the main problem, plastic itself is the problem, it does not matter what the plastic is made into, it will not biodegrade, it will only break down into small particles that release chemicals on their way….


  7. Posted by Tim on February 12, 2010 at 9:50 am

    This has to be a joke. because it is ridiculous and not at all supported by facts or evidence. If it isn’t a joke, I still laugh at it because it’s crazy.


  8. Posted by Elin on February 17, 2010 at 10:20 am

    I’ve written essays and articles on this topic for years and what you say is incredibly wrong and MAD!!! Have you even read or seen anything linked to this ever? Doesn’t seem like it by reading this and I recommend you to get some facts to support your statements before speaking about it again. It’s revolting!


  9. Posted by Angry on May 26, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    you are an asshole


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