Friday Night Read

I would suggest that a few minutes reading Insty contributor John Tierney’s take on the Great Plastic Hate campaign is well worth the time.

His theory is that it is just a modern spin on the old (and discredited) sumptuary laws of yore, and I can’t say I disagree with him.  (And if you’re unfamiliar with the term — I was — he explains it all in the City Journal  article.)


  1. “Single-use plastic bags aren’t the worst environmental choice at the supermarket — they’re the best. High-density polyethylene bags are a marvel of economic, engineering and environmental efficiency. They’re cheap, convenient, waterproof, strong enough to hold groceries but thin and light enough to make and transport using scant energy, water or other resources.”

    It appears the article is on WSJ behind a paywall. I grabbed the above quote from the preview paragraph. If you’re an old fart, you might remember the switch from paper to plastic back in the 80’s. That was the reasoning back then although they did a damn poor job of educating the public about it, then and now. Stores went that route however because plastic was far cheaper (another great selling point). But if you’ve ever driven past a paper mill you could see and smell the pollution. Paper production uses a ton of water and creates horrible wastes. Plastic is far better in clean manufacturing and better use of resources. Of course I’ve worked in plastic manufacturing for the past 30+ years so I might be a little biased, but I’m also a tad bit more knowledgeable about plastic versus paper than the average person.

    But beware of all current trends. Right now every major manufacturer of plastics is moving toward recycling and re-use instead of virgin production (virgin in this sense meaning pure first manufactured material). My major project for the past two years has been trying to scale up manufacturing of a recycle grade for trash bag use. I can tell you straight up – it will cost more and be lower quality. The only selling point is the “recycled resin” tag on the cardboard box. Enjoy. I can’t fricking wait for retirement.

    1. The point is the joint. The bottom edge of the plastic bag (in quite a few stores) is poorly sealed/joined and breaks to spill the groceries and glass containers (for wine) all over the concrete floor.

  2. John Tierney is always a good read. He researches his subject, and explains it well.
    Whenever I find something he’s written, I will always read it – something I’ve been doing for over 20 years.

  3. The sumptuary laws were created by elites misusing religious ideas to increase their superiority , wealth and power. They were annoyed that ordinary people had rising living standards getting closer to theirs.

    So they used the Climate Change religion to prevent those uppity peasants from doing all the things that the elites wanted to be their sole perquisites. Like driving about wherever they wanted in nice fast climate controlled cars, having long hot showers, washing things with phosphate soaps that worked, working fewer hours per day for their daily bread and even living in large comfortable well heated or cooled homes.

    Whatever is the point of being wealthy or powerful if some working or middle class lout can have nearly the same stuff as one’s glorious self?

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