Plastic bantastic

Baby wet wipes

Oh, God. Here we go. Another day, another ban. This government may be known as the tax and spend government, but that should be adapted to the ban,?tax and spend government. It is 2007 all over again, only instead of shower heads and light bulbs, now, it is plastic bags and wet wipes. This from Stuff?Quote:

New Zealand’s?Ministry for the Environment is weighing up its options following the UK Government’s announcement that it?plans?to ban wet wipes.

Wet wipes?are?the bane of many sewerage systems around the world. The?hygiene products,?used?for tasks such as wiping?babies’ bottoms and eye make-up removal, often?contain?non-biodegradable plastics,?which means they do not break down as toilet paper does.

Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage said she would “follow the United Kingdom’s initiatives closely”.

“The Ministry for the Environment is looking at options to reduce harmful waste in New Zealand, including single-use plastics as part of this Government’s commitment to reduce waste,” she said. End quote.

It is interesting that we are all set to ban wet wipes, but suggest an impoverished woman should use washable cloths as period pads and the sky falls in. Where is the difference here?

Wet wipes are so useful. The modern world will be a different place without them. For those of us with limited time, wet wipes are a godsend. They are wonderful for people with babies too. I clean my computer with them. I use them as make up removers. I use them to clean the bathroom. They are great. But, of course, they are going to be banned. It is only a matter of time.

The answer is simple. Stop people flushing wet wipes down the toilet. In my office, there is a warning on the back of the toilet door asking people not to flush wet wipes. It really is that simple. It is a behavioural problem, which requires education rather than an outright ban. The product itself is good and should be kept.

I saw someone tossing a McDonald’s bag out of the window of the car on the High Street yesterday. Are we going to ban McDonald’s? Actually, I shouldn’t have asked that, because the health zealots will probably do that one day too.

Governments just don’t seem to get this though. We have the same story with so-called single-use plastic bags. Supermarkets are turning away from them in droves, in a dramatic pretence that they are looking after the environment. The supermarkets cannot believe their luck. Look at the money they will save by not having to supply them for free. Christmas has come early for Countdown and New World. This from another article on?Stuff?Quote:

More than 40 countries across the world?have taken legislative action to reduce their usage of single-use plastic bags.

But it’s something the New Zealand Government has failed to enact in legislation around despite efforts stemming back to 2015.

Associate environment minister Eugenie Sage said in February the Government was looking at options, which would likely boil down to a levy or a ban, but was still months away from taking action.

A petition in favour of a ban reached?Parliament with 65,000 signatories?including former Prime Minister Helen Clark’s and actor Sam Neil. End quote.

Good old Aunty Helen. If there is something to be banned, she will be right in there. She can’t lose the election over it this time, so she will give it everything she’s got. Quote:

More than 15 countries in Africa have either banned plastic bags completely, or charge a tax on them. South Africa was the first country to ban the bags in 2003.

Prior to the ban South Africa declared plastic bags their “national flower” because of how often they were seen caught on the branches of trees and bushes. End quote.

Africa. Well, blow me down. While not wishing to say anything inappropriate about African countries… well, most of them are not the most well-governed countries on the planet, are they? So, if people are not disposing of their plastic bags carefully, well – is that really a surprise? Quote:

Kenyan offenders face the harshest punishments.?Those producing, selling or using plastic bags could risk imprisonment of up to four years or fines of $40,000 (NZ$52,700).

Rwanda’s strict rules have led to rampant smuggling of plastic bags into the country.

Reports plastic bags were being smuggled across the border from the Democratic Republic of Congo into Rwanda followed the country’s 2008 plastic bag ban. End quote.

Hmmm. Yes. Are we still comparing New Zealand with these countries? Because, seriously, I struggle to imagine Customs officials going onto boats and finding illegal contraband in the form of… wait for it… plastic bags.

But then the Greens are now part of the government. So anything could happen. I’ve already started to hoard plastic bags for the day that they are banned. Looks like my stash might be worth something soon.

Plastic bags are also useful. They double up as bin liners, bags for dirty or wet items, bags for disposal of rubbish, and so on. They have a myriad of uses that paper bags will never replace. And while we are talking about paper, has no one given a thought to all the trees that will have to be cut down to produce all the extra paper for the bags? What is that going to do for carbon emissions?

But the whole issue with the supermarkets is a crock anyway. They may be intending to stop giving out free plastic bags, but they still require the use of thinner plastic bags for fruit and vegetables, and wrap almost everything in plastic wrap, particularly in the meat department. So the reduction of plastic in the landfills will be minimal. It is just virtue signalling again, but making life a little harder in the process.

Both wet wipes and single-use plastic bags have multiple uses in the modern world but are under threat. In both cases, the problem is not with the items themselves, but with the disposal of them. I don’t like the idea of turtles dying as a result of plastic in the oceans either, but none of my plastic bags end up in the sea, because I dispose of them properly. Banning things because people do not dispose of them correctly is draconian. Teaching better behaviour is the answer. But the Nanny State is back. Like it ever went away.

 

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