Author Raven West

It’s Not Plastic v Paper that’s the Problem. It’s People


In the opening scenes of the movie “Independence Day”, Jeff Goldblum’s character was furiously taking soda cans out of the general trash and putting them in the recycle bin complaining to no one listening about how pollution was going to destroy our planet.

All the while the aliens were on their way to do that very thing and no amount of recycling was going to save the planet or anyone living on it.

Flash forward some 23 years. Cities across the country are passing laws that ban plastic straws! Plastic straws are now the “enemy” we have to destroy before they destroy our planet.


You don’t have to be a “MIT-educated technological expert” to know it’s not the material that’s the problem, it’s the people. People create garbage and people, in general, don’t care about the environment.

While it might make a few, very few, people feel good that they are using paper instead of plastic to improve our environment, the fact is that’s not necessary true.

See: Paper vs. Plastic Straws: Is Paper Really Better for the Environment?

What these paper v plastic laws do, in fact, is create a new revenue stream for the government with fines ranging from $100 to as much as $1,000 depending on how the ordinance is written.

Why stop at straws? Let’s make a law to get rid of ALL disposable plastics including diapers, water bottles, and the garbage bags we put our garbage IN!

Let’s not stop at being forced to sip our soda from a disintegrating straw. If we’re going to be serious about our disposable plastic problem, then let’s make a law to force of us to bring our own reusable containers to a restaurant to avoid having to throw out non-disposable plastic containers. Or be charged extra to request them, like the straws.

Better still. Let’s fine every single person who leaves a restaurant with their take-out in a plastic bag, including fast-food drive ins. Can you imagine the amount of money the government would make just by staking out one local McDonalds?

When are we, as concerned citizens, going to take personal responsibility and voluntarily act to change without having the government force us to with laws that only serve to increase their revenue?

Apparently, not anytime soon.

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