Blog Proposition Vote Compass 2019

Proposition 21: Single-Use Plastics

This question is totally fine, as it’s basically an agree/disagree again, with no real ambiguity of the current state. However, the single-use plastics thing is still kind of weird because while of course throwing away plastic is bad for the environment, the blanket language of these kinds of laws means that there’s no real distinction between different kinds of plastics, especially the kinds of plastics which are currently being developed.

I think we can all agree that current replacements for single-use plastic items are worse in almost every way, and the only things we’re actually replacing only contribute very minimally to plastic waste. Instead, what I think we should actually be doing is doing research in one of a few things:

  • Biodegradable plastics which otherwise have the same properties as non biodegradable plastics (this really should take that long if we put some thought in to it, and the profits this research would yield would surely be VERY high).
  • Bacteria which break down commonly used plastics, so that these materials will break down normally in nature the same way trees do when bacteria evolved to break down wood pulp.
  • New materials which are somehow easier to recycle or require less effort, to account for human nature/laziness.

Plastics were only developed in the 20th century, and science has come so far in the years since that I have no doubt that our best scientists working on this for a few years could crack it no problem.

Summary: This question is fine, but I think the policy itself is much more complicated than ‘ban single-use plastics’ if we can get biodegradable plastics.

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