2008-02-14

Piggly Wiggly on North Avenue Anti-Environment?

I had to stop at the Piggly Wiggly on North Avenue on the way home tonite. I asked for paper, and was told that "we no longer have paper bags and will no longer be ordering them." Sounds like an environmentally unfriendly decision to me. Any thoughts?

17 comments:

Athens101 said...

The fact is that it takes more energy and creates more pollution to recycle things than it does to place it in a landfill. Furthermore, modern technology has evolved to the point where landfills are actually helpful, as they serve as a source of natural gas power which is far cleaner than the fossil feuls more commonly in use.

The only thing it makes any sense to recycle is aluminum cans. Everything else, glass, paper (especially paper; recycling paper kills more trees than making new paper from tree farms does), plastic, most kinds of metals, and everything else you are told to recycle is pure bullshit!

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1444391672891013193&q=recycling+is+bullshit&total=8&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=0

Adrian said...

I would like to hear why plastic bags are so especially environmentally dangerous, especially in comparison to everything else that we're putting in the landfills along with them. I even reuse some of my bags to collect cat and dog waste before they reach their final resting place in the landfill. A lot of grocery stores accept them for recycling, too. If ACC would accept them, I would definitely recycle them through our collection service.

Athens101 has a good point about the usefulness of recycling. We should be aware of the demand for the recycled product and the energy consumed or saved by the recycling. For instance, recycling plastic bottles was a useless fad at one time, but now I understand that the carpet industry uses them and there are better recycling techniques. I don't know the balance of truth on all the recyclable materials, though.

Tim said...

Is there data to support your claims Athens101? I am asking in all sincerity, as I spend a non-trivial amount of time recycling. Am I wasting my time and hurting the environment to boot?

Adrian said...

That's what Penn Jillette is claiming -- that recycling anything but aluminum cans is "Bullsh*t." The video is pretty funny. I couldn't help but stay up half an hour watching it. The show dismissed the concern about landfill space, but considering the cost and difficulty of siting them I think that remains a concern. The economic sense of recycling might really might depend heavily on local factors such as supply and demand of materials and the cost of landfill space.

Tim said...

Well, I didn't watch the video, I have my fonts blown up so I can read and it must have truncated the URL.
Anyway, the assertation that recycling paper kills more trees than producing new paper sounds like something that comes off of talk radio. I don't consider talk radio to be an authoritative source of anything other than selling commercial time.
I'd be curious to know if these claims are backed by actual research and if so, who funded the research.

hillary said...

Also, plastic bags, when recycled, make awesome benches and playgrounds (e.g., World of Wonder on the eastside).

Nicki said...

Plastic bags are generally ok, except that they use more resources to create than do paper bags and they are dangerous to wildlife before they're recycled, like the plastic rings on six-packs. Also, keep in mind that paper bags are more rarely recycled. Very few municipalities recycle them.

robin said...
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robin said...

also, remember the bags for bears program? -- a result of recycling plastic bags.

I've always considered the best recycling to buy reduced packaging. I don't know how much it costs to produce (it would seem to be less, given that there are less materials used) but it's certainly less to recycle and also less if it ends up in a landfill (for some reason).

Model Consumer said...

Wow, I sure am late to this discussion. Here's my 2 cents:

1. I respect Penn and Teller as hilarious comedians and skilled magicians, but they are also practitioners of their own form of bullshit. I've seen their show of the same title, although not the episode linked in athens101's comment. I certainly enjoy it and I'm all for debunking myths and iconoclasm in general. However, it's been my observation that Penn and Teller have their own biases and not everything they say is 100% correct or true either. (Not a surprise.) Having said that, no doubt, it may be possible that recycling is a losing proposition in terms of energy spent, pollution generated, etc. I don't know. But, it sure sounds like bullshit. I could quick google some links to paste in here to back up this point, but that really proves nothing, and you all are big enough to decide for yourselves and do your own research.

2. Plastic bags are environmentally dangerous to wildlife under certain circumstances, as previously pointed out, because they have the potential trap animals. They are also environmentally dangerous because they do not physically degrade until after about 1000 years or so, if I remember correctly.

3. I really hate it that the dominant bag at the grocery store has become plastic. I prefer paper, but as a former bagger myself, I never have the heart to request it, since the preference on the part of the store (and presumably the bagger) is plastic.

4. Paper is better because it's structure and inherent strength more easily lends itself to a more efficient packing density.

5. I've also observed, as a former bagger, that most baggers at grocery stores are not particularly skilled. I'd rather do it myself, but again, I don't have the heart to tell the kid that.

6. Regardless of what bags are available where you shop, the best thing to do for the environment would be to purchase and use your own reusable canvas bags.

Tim said...

I always specify paper bags to use in gathering recycling as I stated earlier. This is off the thread topic a little, but I'll mention it nonetheless. I shop at Publix in Oconee. A lot of the baggers there are mentally challenged kids. Publix excels at providing employment opportunities for them and I appreciate that. Anyway, one of the baggers there really really really does not like bagging in paper. As luck would have it, I usually end up in the line where he is bagging. He always starts out with plastic and I always specify paper. This bothers him, but he complies. However, at some point of the baggage activities, he always puts _something_ in plastic, he will then place that item in a paper bag. I think its a statement thing with him, or a way to assert a little control over the situation. I am always amused at that.
Anyway, you are correct that reusable cloth bags are the way to go.

Model Consumer said...

@Tim,

Yeah, it's not just at that Publix you cite but at many of the local stores, I've noticed that some (not all) of the baggers are apparently developmentally disabled or something similar (not sure what the correct/p.c. terms are, emotionally disturbed, etc...). For me, I know it's kind of weird, and it's just my peculiar personality, this is all the more reason to just let them do their thing and not request anything special.

The ONLY request I do make, and this is something that really does bug me, is that they not put in bags: gallons of milk, bags of ice, and any item that is large and either has its own handle, or is so large nothing else can fit in the bag. I know old ladies might appreciate being able to carry these things in handy plastic bags but for me (and I hope for the majority of shoppers) to bag these items truly is a waste and an environmentally harmful practice. It drives me nuts! (Of course those that know me might point out that that trip is not a very far one...)

Polusplagchnos said...

While a landfill can generate electricity by burning off the methane produced, this is certainly offset by the various toxins that gradually leach into the soil over the many years a landfill will remain in place.

It bothers me that ACC's landfill doesn't make as many diversions for many electronics and mercury-containing flourescent lightbulbs as I'd prefer. I realize these are business considerations, as FCR probably doesn't have any incentive to collect and sell these items as they do cans and glass and PET and HDPE. You really can't sell a flourescent light bulb that's blown out (what's it good for at that point?), and probably safely capturing the mercury is far too cost prohibitive. So, right now, they are put in the main landfill along with all the other waste.

Maybe one day nanotechnology will advance to the point where landfills will be sites of immense treasure for their diversity and availability of materials to build from. In the meantime...

Katie Moore said...
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kmbm said...

Athens101, you, repeat, YOU are the bullshit(ter). That video made me almost vomit in my mouth in its falsity, ignorant cynicism, and utter pig-headedness. My LORD.

Just because it cost more monetary units to go through the "laborious" and "painstaking" process of...(gasp!) recycling does NOT on ANY planet mean that it's not worth it. The government uses tax dollars for recycling purposes because idiots like yourself are wooed by the unintelligent, pottymouth dimwits of the producers of that wretched video.

Again, the video - it is weak. Oh no, they played a funny joke on some environmentally concerned citizens, some of which appear to be "hippie-like" in their styles. Gosh, only liberal, green, ecologically-aware individuals can be ridiculed for recycling. Of course!

The fact of this matter is, video or not, you are wrong, Athens101. You are deadly, dramatically, depressingly wrong and I can only hope that the offspring of your offspring live in a day that sees gas prices less than $10/gallon, or eats vegetables not infested with pesticides because (heaven forbid) locally-grown produce is just plain out of the question (else, it'd be considered to be on the evil "green side" of those..aaahh!...recyclers).

I'd suggest doing your own research on the topic, and more importantly, discontinue allowing such pompous arses on Showtime TV enter into your brain convert your opinions into carbon copies of the 30-minute show. Because, after all, who needs more than 30 spare minutes to understand the vast and profound problems of environmental preservation and intergenerational security?

kmbm said...
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Evonne said...

Wow. I guess I live in my own little world because I find it amazing that this debate is even going on. Should I use paper or plastic? NEITHER. By far the best option (and I think maybe 2 people mentioned this) is bringing your own reusable bag. Every grocery store I've been to lately has them next to the registers for $1 each and unless you are buying for an army, you'll rarely need more than 3 of these bags since they easily hold what would normally be put into 3 or more plastic bags.

If you want to do what is best for the environment, there's just one choice, IMO.