Alternative materials to plastic?

I think leather, stone, and wood are also good alternatives to plastic.


Bamboo and hemp?

Serious question: what is wrong with plastic? dangerous? hazardous?

Plastic is not bio-degradeable… most materials are not bio-degradable?

I’ve never been able to find or hear a good answer about why plastic should be replaced and phased out

edit: what about glass? I notice glass packaging has disappeared


This is most obvious but surely it has a big CO2 footprint.

The problem for the in the closet Malthusians are that they try to pawn off ideas that won’t reduce CO2 as reducing CO2. There is a catch 22. Anything that reduces the demand for a stream of output from a refinery just makes that stream cheaper. These are mostly by products. If you stop making the primary product, then you can’t have all the nice things that come along with plastics. Thus, your stuck. You cannot eliminate the primary output for oil and have plastics and if you try to eliminate plastics before the primary output, the by products become really cheap and no CO2 was reduced.

It is the same with flaring. If you don’t have an outlet for what is being flared and you cannot flare, then you don’t get the oil. If you do have an outlet, the supply is large and thus the cost is low. Compare nat gas on a cost per btu to oil. Even with all the power plants converted to gas, we have a large excess.


Do we incinerate most garbage/trash/waste including plastic?
Is burning plastic problematic?

I would say let’s recycle plastic but I know recycling is at least 95% a waste of time.

I actually recycle aluminum at home. But I also know recycling is a waste of time.
I get mad when I see people recycling glass. Even on TV shows from the 1970s like Mary Tyler Moore the characters are recycling glass! Sahara Desert hasn’t run out of sand yet.


This reminds me. When my employer at the time formed a group of technical employees to reduce CO2. The guy that was appointed the chair of the plastics area asked. Isn’t it best to use plastics because they are not burned. It is a form of CO2 sequestration. He got talked too.


We need to talk about your flair.

Oh, you said flare, not flair. Never mind.


Yeah, I don’t give a rat’s patootie about the CO2 footprint or recycling for that matter. My wife likes to put stuff in a recycling bin, which I refer to as “offerings to Gaia.” When it comes to waste disposal, I’m monotheistic; there is only One True Trash.

And just think of all the carbon emissions that could be avoided if there were only one kind of trash truck roaming the streets — not to mention all the energy wasted in the pointless recycling racket end-to-end. Not quite as bad as sacrificing virgins atop of ziggurats but equally pointless.


Penthouse privileges, moving on up like the Jeffersons


Since this thread is turning to recycling, it may be useful to remember that circa 2018-2019 China stopped bulk trash purchases which effectively destroyed the business case for recycling in most US cities and towns.

Previously, the $/ton paid by China ensured that municipalities could sustain split recycling that ensured their residents could enjoy their well deserved virtue signaling. Absent Chinese demand, the costs of sorting and separating trash could no longer be offset by an income stream, hence a massive reduction in local efforts to browbeat residents into living up to the virtuous level of recycling that was previously encouraged.

2019 NatGeo piece remarked

That convenience was cast in a new light last January, when China, the biggest importer, stopped buying most recycled waste. After 25 years as the world’s salvage king, China refused to buy any recycled plastic scrap that wasn’t 99.5 percent pure–a move that upended a $200 billion global recycling industry with profound consequences on both sides of the world. (Read more about that here.)

Bales of trash piled up in California, in the U.K., in Australia, and elsewhere, as exporting nations scoured the world for new buyers. Across Southeast Asia, recyclers operating in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia bought, but were quickly overwhelmed by, the sheer volume that China once easily absorbed.

There is a new twist that one could hypothesize is related to the ongoing decriminalization efforts of our betters. With the increase in petty theft and shop stealing, retail stores have significantly increased the size of the packaging that accompanies many convenience items. Buy perfume, medicine, or even fresh fruits and chances are these days they come wrapped in a large rigid plastic container that makes it harder for vibrantly diverse “shoppers” to stick the item in their pocket or backpack and leave without paying.

Thus the amount of incoming plastic in our households seems to be on an inexorable increasing path at the same time that we continue to be “encouraged” to recycle. NYTimes had a recent piece on the current efforts to switch from plastic trash bags on the curb to containers and it touches upon the recycling impact.


The images in that article are truly repulsive. Thanks for the reminder of what a crap-hole NYC is. I haven’t been there for a decade or so. Not sure if it’s gotten worse or if my tolerance for ugliness has decreased.


This brings to mind a book by Larry Niven, Ringworld - Wikipedia .

ringworld cover

The civilization that made that world and originally populated it brought to it a mold that would eat plastics. Not a good idea as it devoured the insulation on electrical conductors bringing on the downfall of their civilization.

Now the real worry is if the same thing will happen on earth…


Probably both :wink:


Both Is Good Road To El Dorado GIF