by Tom DeWeese, American Policy Center, ©2022

(Jan. 20, 2022) — I am fed up to my burning ears with the carte blanche castigation of plastic. Plastic is one of the greatest inventions ever, not only for modern society, but also for the environment. If plastic seems to now pose an environmental threat, it’s not plastic’s fault – but the fault of the environmental movement itself.

The use of plastic reduces the need for other natural resources. Plastic bags, cups, and plates save the need for more paper. It saves the tress the greens are so concerned about. Plastic tables and chairs and lamps also save the demand for wood. Plastic bumpers on cars eliminate the need for chrome, a natural mineral the greens worried about a couple of decades ago – plastic provided the saving solution. And the use of plastic in cars makes them lighter and therefore more fuel efficient. Plastic makes heart transplants possible. Plastic is used in a wide variety of medical devises, without which people would either die or be denied happy, useful lives. There is no natural wood, paper, or glass substitute.

It’s interesting to note that the decade-old American obsession with bottled water resulted from environmentalist scares over possible chemicals in municipal tap water. Green radicals like the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) spewed horror stories of tap water full of rocket fuel, arsenic, germs, feces, lead, and pesticides.  Plastic bottles provided the solution. Now the pendulum has swung and we’re all supposed to forget the earlier scaremongering over tap water and obey the new scare over water bottles. Crisis to crisis – whatever keeps up the green fundraising and power-building.  It’s also interesting to note that one of the biggest promoters of the return to tap water is the National Conference of Mayors. Many cities are now taxing each bottle used. A classic move – right out of the government handbook. Vilify it and then tax it.

So the mantra goes, plastic bottles and products are filling the landfills. Says one ad (by a water filter company with an ulterior motive to compete with plastic water bottles), America uses enough plastic water bottles to ring the earth several times in a year. Plastic bottles don’t degrade, they say, so they will be in the ground forever. The collectively acceptable answer, of course, is that we simply must ban them and any other use of plastic, if possible.

One corporation using the anti-plastic propaganda is the Whole Foods super market chain which forces its suppliers to provide “sustainable” and recyclable packaging for their products or they will be banned from the store’s shelves. The chain also does not use plastic carrier bags. Instead, it uses either paper bags or encourages customers to bring in their own reusable cloth bags. Whole Foods is a large enough force in the grocery market that such policies force other chains to follow suit. That, of course, is its political strategy.

Whole Foods CEO, John Mackey, is a full-fledged promoter of Sustainable Development as a political policy. He talks of corporations “doing good,” through a policy of “Conscious Capitalism.”  I love the use of those words, “responsible;” “good,” “conscious.” Says who? Rather than a businessman, Mackey is ultimately promoting his own political agenda on the buying public. That isn’t free enterprise; it’s a form of activism designed to covertly enforce behavior modification techniques on the buying public.

In addition, Mackey’s drive to “do good” has a lot of unintended consequences. First, he has helped to perpetrate lies and prejudices to encourage lawmakers to ban valuable products. That causes job loss in that industry. Second, he is taking away the right of choice from those who don’t accept his position. Third, all so-called sustainable policies lead to one specific conclusion – higher prices for consumers. Fourth, his actions may well lead to endangering the health of many consumers. For example, removing plastic bottles for shampoos and conditioners and replacing them with glass bottles will be a hazard in the bathroom when they inevitably fall on the floor.


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