This Blog Post is Full of Crap

Your Local Pollution Reducer

As Cara and I have noted previously, many municipalities are seeking to limit or completely ban plastic bags in grocery stores.  Good for the environment, right?  Well, maybe.

How shall I put this?  Plastic supermarket bags, while terrible in many ways, are particularly good at the removal of a particular form of non-toxic canine waste that often afflicts our urban and suburban areas.  Indeed, they might be the perfect vehicle for this sort of job.  One major complaint about plastic bags is that they are disposable, but for this particular sort of job, disposability is a requirement of the task.  (And anyone who is a dog owner I think will agree with me that paper bags just don’t do the trick as well).

Yes, yes; people can purchase plastic bags specifically marketed as useful for this task.  But that is just the sort of thing that is inconvenient enough for lots of people simply to avoid.  Put another way, if municipalities ban the plastic bag, there might be another sort of street pollution that goes up.

And no: I’m not volunteering to be the Principal Investigator on such a project.

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Reader Comments

4 Replies to “This Blog Post is Full of Crap”

  1. Nitrogen, or decaying plant matter, is relatively plentiful in the neighborhood with all the necessary ph mixes. Urine is another more concentrated source. Calcium (egg shells) and potassium (pot ash) are also present in sufficient quantities. Phosphorus is in poop which composts relatively easy if you sufficient dry plant matter and do not mix it with water (including urine.)
    The problem with the plastic is threefold- one you are using a scarce and dangerous resource (oil) to remove a relatively useful resource- phosphorus. Two you create conflict by dispersing your food source to other people’s landuses- from the Yanomami to the Aiwa and the Gwithcen. And three the regulatory structure around the consumption pattern for (garbage) disposal and (sewer) treatment develops the taxing authority that no one can stand.

  2. Nitrogen, or decaying plant matter, is relatively plentiful in the neighborhood with all the necessary ph mixes. Urine is another more concentrated source. Calcium (egg shells) and potassium (pot ash) are also present in sufficient quantities. Phosphorus is in poop which composts relatively easy if you sufficient dry plant matter and do not mix it with water (including urine.)
    The problem with the plastic is threefold- one you are using a scarce and dangerous resource (oil) to remove a relatively useful resource- phosphorus. Two you create conflict by dispersing your food source to other people’s landuses- from the Yanomami to the Aiwa and the Gwithcen. And three the regulatory structure around the consumption pattern for (garbage) disposal and (sewer) treatment develops the taxing authority that no one can stand.

  3. Jonathan and Cara, As the owner of two border collies (both of whom are avid readers of Legal Planet) I feel compelled to introduce you to poop bags made by Bio Bags. Not only are these bags recyclable, they are compostable. Tom Adams

  4. Jonathan and Cara, As the owner of two border collies (both of whom are avid readers of Legal Planet) I feel compelled to introduce you to poop bags made by Bio Bags. Not only are these bags recyclable, they are compostable. Tom Adams

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About Jonathan

Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic – Land Use, the Environment and Loc…

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