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Can the federal gov. create a law that orders all plastic products to include a recycling number and prohibit non-recycling plastics?

As the massive consumers we are, each day thousands of tons of plastic is being bought every where in this country; not for what it is itself, but for the product it carries inside; which is the goal of our purchase. All of these plastics come in different shapes and forms, and many of them do not carry a recycling label to properly dispose of it. These wrappings, containers, bags, boxes, etc., without a number that identifies them, end up in the trash. There is no real chance of reusing the containers in most cases, and almost 100% of the wrappings are non-reusable, unless you are a professional hoarder. In my opinion, our government should be responsible for ensuring all of these consumer products have the proper label for disposing / recycling; as well as making sure that no consumer plastic products are made in an irresponsible way. A full cycle of usage should be the end in mind of every business that sells something in plastic, and the government should create a policy that makes businesses more conscious. Almost every week I see regular products now come in a new presentation in a plastic container that is not necessary for the product, just 'innovative'. Take a look at the new coffee k-cups that its use to make an individual cup of coffee every single time. Some brands of towel and toilet paper have packages of 6, 12 or more rolls, with each individual roll wrapped in transparent plastic, inside the main plastic bag that holds all the rolls together.
it might be a good idea in the future for the government to create a system of "rewarding" companies that take greater steps towards sustainability and reduce the amount of un-recyclable products, carbon footprint and waste. There may not be a model already in place in the world, so we could be the first country to implement a national system that tackles the way Americans produces, reduces, reuses and recycles. Social responsibility is a real idea that is here to stay, and the wagon is about to leave us.

  • Jan 25 2012: Plastic is tough to deal with. You might have a tax/pound at the front end to be used for recycling and a clear monetary benefit for recycling for all plastic bottles, not just a few; this would be one way to go. Then, just like glass bottles, we need to be sure that unscrupulous manufacturers just don't dump empty bottles on the market for their recycling fee. What do you do about plastic wrap and baggies that are tougher to code or recycle? Should we require all plastic bags used in the supermarket to be subject to a 5c tax on each bag?

    Clearly we must do more---that plastic island in the Pacific is a real wake up call. Something has to be done. Your goals while laudable are a tough sell to the American public; when convenience conflicts with the environment, the environment tends to lose.
  • Jan 29 2012: Great comment Richard. The idea of the 5c tax on plastic bags at the supermarket sounds very feasible. These ideals could be easy to sell to younger generations. I have experimented that most people 50+ are not likely to change their ways, to benefit our planet. Recycling seems to be a hassle for them, and they don't see the end purpose for it. I believe we are at the brink of that 'generational change', a new, wider mind set that can be the fore front for these green policies. Poverty and lack of education are also a factor that can limit better, more efficient ways of producing, that is why I thought of a national 'proposal' for businesses and companies. It does sound like a hard sell, some communities have already embrace a change only because it affects them directly.