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The Problem Isn’t The Plastic, It’s The People

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

I don’t know who said it, but whoever came up with the idea that “whatever liberals don’t want to ban, they want to make mandatory,” is absolutely accurate. You name it, they’ve got a plan to force everyone to do it or to rid the world of it. Nothing is too small to escape their crosshairs, not even straws.

Straws are a favorite target, the banning of which is all the rage in Democrat-controlled cities across the country. They pat themselves on the back so hard over this Jihad against straws that you’d think they were giving themselves the Heimlich maneuver.

Now they’re coming for water bottles. Honestly, it’s kind of surprising it took this long.

San Francisco International Airport has banned plastic water bottles from being sold inside the terminal because, they say, it will help save the planet. One traveler, a woman named Debbie Dubois, told a reporter, “I actually think it’s a really positive move. I’m really proud of the city of San Francisco and California for being aware and taking some action to save our planet.”

Yay, planet saved! Not exactly.

You can still buy any other non-alcoholic beverage in plastic bottles, and if you’ve ever bought a bottle of Coke you’ve likely noticed plastic “pop” or “soda” bottles (depending upon where in the country you are – btw: pop is correct) are much thicker than plastic water bottles. Some water bottles are so thin and flimsy they’re like trying to drink out of a Ziploc bag. Fox reported that vice president of the International Bottled Water Association said, “If consumers can’t get a bottled water product in their preferred plastic container, they are likely to purchase a less healthy beverage in a much heavier plastic bottle, which will actually increase the amount of waste generated as SFO.”

While the stated goal of the ban is to bring the airport closer to their goal of producing zero landfill waste by 2021, this “feel good” move will end up producing more waste. At least, that is, until they move to bad the next round of plastic.

Why the Jihad against plastic? Because waterways around the world, particularly the oceans, are becoming littered with the stuff. It’s the same “logic” behind the $.05 per plastic bag tax liberals imposed nearly everywhere they could. 

But the problem isn’t the plastic, it’s the people who toss their trash out the windows of their cars or on the ground wherever they happen to be. Much like everything else, because of the acts of a few, they want to infringe upon or tax everyone else rather than cracking down and fining people who litter. 

By the way, the overwhelming majority of the plastic in the ocean comes from Asia, but taxing and banning things in Asia isn’t an option. American pockets are here, and Democrats love to get their hands in those, especially when it can be wrapped in the idea of saving the planet. 

There is a better way, if liberals really do want to address the problem. 

I grew up in Michigan, a state where you won’t find many stray bottles or cans laying around parks or anywhere else. Why? Are Michiganders super-tidy? Not really. It’s because every can and bottle is worth a dime. 

Michigan has a $.10 deposit on every bottle and can sold. So a pop that costs $.99 actually costs $1.09. When you bring the bottle back to a store that sells them, you get a dime. A case of beer cans is worth $2.40. As a kid, I funded by baseball card habit by collecting empties from parks and softball fields around the city. It was great for kids too young to work - gave us a way to get some money. 

This would work for water bottles in California, plastic bags, or even straws everywhere. If those things suddenly had value, artificial as it is, you’d create an army of kids and homeless people snatching up every stray they could find. They wouldn’t end up in the water, they’d be recycled the second they hit the ground. You want to get rid of plastic bags, make them worth a nickel or dime. Once you pay for it, because they’re so thin, they become worthless the second you get your groceries out of them. If they didn’t rip before that. Tossing them in the trash or on the ground becomes an option when something has zero value. So why not a deposit instead? 

The problem is, while a deposit would clean the streets and waterways, these local governments wouldn’t be able to wet their beaks. And no liberal government is interested in a solution to anything if they don’t get a piece of the action. 

So, politicians and government officials continue to ban and tax without making an impact on what they say their ultimate goal is. Makes you wonder if control, and not keeping plastic bottles, bags, and straws from becoming litter, isn’t really their goal. 

Derek is the host of a free daily podcast (subscribe!) and author of the book, Outrage, INC., which exposes how liberals use fear and hatred to manipulate the masses.

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