VPIRG’s Plastic Agenda

June 12, 2019

By John McClaughry

The plastic bag ban is sitting on Gov. Phil Scott’s desk. If he signs it, Statehouse Chronicle writer Guy Page reportsa working group created by the bill will set to work to select the next targets on the State of Vermont’s War on Plastic, a subset of the perpetually fruitless War Against Climate Change.

Chief lobbyist Paul Burns of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group – VPIRG – tells us that “The law creates a working group to look at where we go next.” That would be bans on “disposable plastic food service ware, like plates, cups and utensils; plastic film, and single-use ‘printed materials’ including even ‘telephone books’, and also possibly covering store sale flyers.

The VPIRG bill suggests that the working group should consider a policy of “extended producer responsibility” for a producer of a product to “provide for and finance the collection, transportation, reuse, recycling, processing, and final management of the product.” The group should consider “a financial incentive for manufacturers, distributors, or brand owners of single-use products to minimize the environmental impacts of the products in Vermont. The environmental impacts considered shall include review of the effect on climate change of the production, use, transport, and recovery of single-use products.”

I’m no particular champion of plastic bags – BUT this is one more foolish VPIRG nanny state scheme to fight the supposed Menace of Climate Change. Governor Scott should put an end to it.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Gavin Greenewalt June 19, 2019 at 2:41 am

the bag ban is strait up fascism. go on , tell me how it is not.


Boganboy June 21, 2019 at 6:05 pm

The panic merchants have named this era the Anthropocene.

The Carboniferous era dumped huge quantities of carbon waste called coal all over the landscape, and the white cliffs of Dover are made up of junk from plankton. The corpses of mammoths and dinosaurs litter the landscape, and fossilised excrement is an endless entertainment for archaeologists.

Of course the Taliban and Isis have attempted to reduce some of our human junk, like the statues at Bamyan and the old city of Palmyra, to recyclable rubble. But I feel we should follow the example of our predecessors and leave something to amuse the rats or cockroaches that might succeed us. A good thick stratum of plastic to provide fuel for the winter, or to run the air conditioners if the world swelters under global warming, would be a nice present to them.


Beverly June 21, 2019 at 9:32 pm

I wish these climate change idiots would look up to the sky and around them. The night sky is changing. Polaris is not where it was 35 years ago, Cassiopeia has shifted more to the northeast. Even the big supper and Orion has shifted positions.
My biggest question is… do those idiots in Montpelier and Washington think they can legislate the planet to do what they want? Did they legislate the Great Flood of Noah’s time or the Ice Age? I think not! Let’s get rid of these idiots!


Mike June 22, 2019 at 12:16 am

I don’t get how this has anything to do with climate change? Is the single use plastic bag issue more about the ocean? It’s not like making single use plastic bags is at all a major contributor to greenhouse gasses. I think turtles and crabs and dolphin populations are the main things that get affected by single use plastic bags.

Re: fascism – the plastic bag ban is not fascism because fascism is a political philosophy characterized by authoritarian views and a strong central government — and no tolerance for opposing opinions, and a good portion of Vermont voted for representatives that oppose a plastic bag ban and discussed this issue publicly and openly, point and case, Gov Scott isn’t signing it right away because he is worried about what his constituents think, not to mention this is being voted on by the State of Vermont and is not being handed down by the Federal Government so, this action is not something that could be characterized as an authoritarian approach and nor does it come from a strong central government — and ample tolerance for opposing opinions were granted and still are. So vote and be heard.

I’ll grant you this. Single use plastic bags do make a slope slippery and that happens to be my favorite way to get a second use out of my single use plastic bags. 🙂


Thaddeus Cline June 22, 2019 at 2:10 am

Plastic bags take more then a thousand years to break down . And as they do they harm us , animals , and the environment. It takes 22 gallons of water to make one plastic bag .
And just so ya know we can’t keep up using that amount of water .
Plastic bags block ground water . Many of the chemicals in the bags cause problems with woman’s reproductive life , and harm children’s health .
Our costs to put anything much less plastic bags into land fills keeps going up .
So I take it you want costs going up ?
The facts are not hard to find , last time I checked anyone can . But it seems my fellow conservative citizens of Vermont can’t be bothered .
It’s called being responsible and doing the right thing . Something you guys claim we need to do . But when it comes time seems somebody dose not want to .


Tyler June 24, 2019 at 2:17 am

Actually, it takes about 22 gallons of water to make one pound of plastic, which is about 450 plastic bags. The average water usage for one person taking a shower is around 17 gallons, so if the average household takes 3 showers per day and uses 1000 plastic bags per year, they still use more water in one day by showering than they use for an entire year by using plastic bags.


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