Your Non-Plastic Bags Are Killing the Earth, Hippies.

Ah, it’s Earth Day: the day when millions of unwitting schoolchildren across this country will be brainwashed into believing there really are: 50 simple things that can save the Earth from the devastating effects of modern industry, and where high schoolers will be force-fed copies of: An Inconvenient Truth while being excoriated on their rampant embraces of consumerism, right before they drive their gas-guzzling SUVs out of the parking lot and to their jobs at rainforest-depleting fast food restaurants.

If only Captain Planet hadn’t been plowed under the massive snowfall we’ve all experienced as part-and-parcel of Global Warming.

Anyway, Earth Day is rife with environmentalist-fueled irony. It has been from the beginning. After all, the guy who: founded Earth Day celebrated his commitment to reducing, reusing and recycling by killing and composting his girlfriend. And all of those electric cars that people like Ashton Kutcher spend hundreds of thousands on to alleviate their guilt over contributing to the death of their planet? Seems no one’s figured out what process provides their fancy Earth-saving vehicles with magical electric power.

And then there’s plastic bags, the current bane of the environmentalists in California, who are seeking to have them outlawed because every time you use a plastic bag for your groceries, an adorable unknown species in the Amazon dies.

A drive to ban most stores from handing out single-use plastic bags got an important boost Monday when the California Grocers Assn. announced its support for a bill.

The measure by state Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) would prohibit the bags in grocery stores and pharmacies beginning on Jan. 1, 2015. Shoppers would be urged to bring their own reusable cloth or plastic bags or would have the option of paying the actual cost of a paper bag, estimated at 10 cents or less.

Of course, you’re wondering, aside from inconvenience and the potential for distressing and dangerous gastric illnesses, what could possibly go wrong when you ask people to abandon plastic grocery bags for reusable or paper ones? Well, the Progressive Bag Alliance just released a study on the environmental impact of “alternative” grocery containment measures, and it turns out, by switching to reusable and paper bags, you’re actually sort of killing the earth: faster.: 

Plastic bags, it turns out, generate around: half of the greenhouse emissions caused by manufacturing and recycling brown paper bags. Plastic bags generate about 80% less waste overall than paper bags, they consume less space in landfills, require 70% less energy to manufacture than paper and alternative reusable bags, require 1/7th of the truck fleet to move around (thus saving on fossil fuels) and have a smaller carbon footprint: than any of their reusable alternatives.: And as it turns out, plastic bags are the one thing Americans really like recycling. 9 out of the last 10 years, recycling rates for plastic bags has grown exponentially – even jumping up by 24% just last year.

Those reusable cotton bags that everyone sells? Yeah, it turns out, they’re not actually recyclable themselves, so: “to ensure that they have lower global warming potential” than a single use of a plastic bag, they have to be reused at least 131 times before being thrown out. Assuming one trip to the grocer a week, it would take 7.5 years of using same reusable bag before it better performed than a plastic bag used only three times. You’d had better hope we’re good at manufacturing them. Or that China is, which presents a whole ‘nother set of problems.

So today, while you’re celebrating Earth Day by driving in circles around hippies, spraying aerosol cans out your windows, remember to add a little celebration for the plastic bag. It is, after all, the first hippie-driven endangered species. That we know of.

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