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The War on Coal and Plastic


We’re winning the war on coal as more and more coal-fired electrical generating plants close or switch to natural gas. At last count, since President Trump took office, a coal-fired electrical generating plant has closed roughly every 15 days. Of course, the President is very coal friendly, but basic economics have prevailed in spite of political pressure, and with plentiful, low cost natural gas and renewable energy flooding the market, even more plants will close during the next few years. As liquefied American natural gas, carried in huge tankers, penetrates more European and Asian markets, coal-fired plants will be closing all around the world. Coal is slowly becoming the fuel of the past, and as the coal mines close, the net amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere will drop precipitously. It won’t completely solve our global warming problem, but it will make a dent in it.

The death of coal-fired plants is American capitalism at its best, when a switch to a cleaner fuel is also a switch to a less expensive fuel. Everyone is happy except the coal miners, and since there are only 55,000 miners remaining, the desire to make money trumps political correctness not for environmental reasons, but switching from coal will bring in more money and make fewer enemies. Money drives the wagon in the good old USA, and our President can love coal, but money talks and it says “Shut that damn coal-fired plant down. We can make a lot more money buying that cheap natural gas, and we’ll look like the good guys.”

However, the situation with plastic is a lot tougher to handle, because we use plastic in almost everything we do, and economically we don’t have the financial reasons to switch. However, there are plenty of other reasons to switch from plastic one-use bottles and other one-use items such as plastic sacks, and it boils down to the basic composition of plastic. Plastic is non-biodegradable, and that means it will be with us for centuries. But the problem is not just the use of plastic, it is the extensive use since it was invented until today plastic is connected to almost every part of our lives. Since so much of the plastic manufactured goes into the one-use category, and since the plastic in these items is relatively an inexpensive part of the packaging, the cost is built in to the product, and the difference between re-useable products and one use is minimal. There is really very little financial incentive to switch to reusable containers or to use biodegradable substitutes.

There are a huge number of items made of plastic that we use on a daily basis, and as we continue to use and throw away these same items day after day, we become part of the problem, because we are a throwaway society. That’s right and the mark of a throwaway society if framed in the use one use items of any kind. Of course, throwing away one use items such a paper bags, newspapers, and other items not made of plastic are certainly not an environmentally positive thing to do, but they will degrade and disappear in a few years. However, plastic builds up in the environment and becomes a disposal problem because it continues to grow year after year, and the biggest reason is the one use items.

The U. N. has declared a War on Plastic and various other originations, cities, and countries have joined with the overall goal to reduce the use of plastic. The reasons why the use of plastic needs to be reduced or eliminated for some products is evident. As the world’s population increases the use of plastic become an even greater problem daily. According to published reports a garbage load of trash is dumped into the oceans every minute, and a big percentage of it is plastic.

An unbelievable 60 percent of all products use some plastic. For example, even some milk cartons are lined with plastic. When plastic goes into a landfill the toxins leach out, and since nearly all landfills leak, the toxics eventually end up polluting nearby water supplies. If the landfill trash containing plastic is burned toxic chemicals are released into the air, and breathing that air is unhealthy to say the least. Of course, in the ocean, many animals’ mistake plastic sacks and other pieces of plastic as food, which they ingest, and since plastic won’t digest in any animal, thousands of marine animals die each years from ingesting plastic. The Mediterranean Sea is the most plastic polluted large body of water on earth, and each year, on beaches from Greece to France, there are scenes of dying beached whales and other marine creatures. When an autopsy is done they find the animal stomachs are filled with plastic, blocking all digestion and these sea creatures actually starve to death.

Of course, the cleanup in the environment of discarded plastic items such as water bottles, plastic straws, and other items costs everyone billions of dollar each year since Federal, State and local money is used to clean up the litter in our cities and along our roads that are heavily loaded with plastic. Unless all that plastic is picked up it will be there for hundreds of years.

Of course, there are many things we can do, and one of the keys to reducing plastic is to shop friendly. Bring your own reusable bag and turn down those plastic bags, and stop buying one use items made of plastic.

However, the restrictions on the use of plastic are beginning to occur. States, cities, and other municipalities are passing laws forbidding the use of plastic straws and other one use items. Starbucks has a pilot program in London to reward customers who buy their coffee in a reusable cup. It’s cheaper than a throw away one use cup, and Starbucks has placed containers around the stores area where the reusable cups can be dropped off, and be recycled, so get ready to use a second hand cup when you buy a Starbucks, because it will happen along a host of other restrictions that will reduced the use of plastic.

Well, the bottom line is always money, and most of the new restrictions don’t actually do away with things like plastic bags, but they hit you with a penalty, which is a code word for extra money. Some states have already placed an extra charge to use plastic bags, and that will ultimately be the way to cut down on the one use items even here in Arkansas. Someday we will catch up to the national trend to do away with one use items, and I know you are wondering how. Well, if Walmart charged you $1.00 to use a plastic bag, wouldn’t you carry your reusable bag to the store? Of course you would, and it’s coming. Some cities primarily on the west coast have already passed legislation to restrict the use of one-use eating utensils and others are following suite. In five years plastic straws will be gone as well as most one use sacks, eating utensils, and those will soon be followed by Styrofoam.


27 Comments on "The War on Coal and Plastic"

  1. Coffeeguyzz on Sun, 14th Jul 2019 9:33 am 

    ” … but they will degrade and disappear in a few years …”.

    Not exactly.

    Everything that is put into a landfill that decomposes – including the expensive, compostable food containers and eating utensils – breaks down and produces that eeevil METHANE!

    Thatsa right. The demonization of natgas is justified cuz methane bad, sez the Save The Planet folks.

    Meanwhile, everything that the above article advocates using in lieu of plastic creates this same gas when it breaks down.

  2. joe on Sun, 14th Jul 2019 9:43 am 

    Lng is a child of low interest rates and the strong dollar. The world doesn’t want US gas, its being force down their necks. Look what’s going on with NordStream2 and Turkstream. Obama tried to coup Erdogans ass over that one. Now Turkey is buying the S400. Keep it up America, gas is the future for sure……

  3. Duncan Idaho on Sun, 14th Jul 2019 10:35 am 

    1995 — MP3 digital file format introduced. Inspires MTV, M13 machine, M3 (Great globular cluster Messier Object 3), Boston street gang M-13, BMW M3.

  4. Up in Smoke on Sun, 14th Jul 2019 11:20 am 

    Too bad some of these coal power plants are being converted to biomass, aka wood pellets, which is driving industrial scale deforestation in the Southeast US. Biomass was been erroneously classified as carbon-neutral and is being used to make up for the intermittency of wind and solar.

  5. Sissyfuss on Sun, 14th Jul 2019 8:34 pm 

    I ran a Tricounty recycling operation in the late ’80s and we try to recycle as much plastic as possible and encouraged people to use of was if it. We were defeated by convenience and commercialism in our endeavor. To get the masses to participate in the protection of the environment they will have to be forced because they’ve been brainwashed since birth to trash the Earth.

  6. Go Speed Racer on Mon, 15th Jul 2019 12:49 am 

    We need to re-open all the coal-fired
    electrical power plants.

    Not only will it Make America Great Again,
    but also they are fantastic for dumping
    in old sofa’s, old tires, and garbage,
    and mix that in with the coal.

    The black smoke coming out of the tall
    smoke stacks is very pretty, and can
    be seen for miles and miles.

  7. Sissyfuss on Mon, 15th Jul 2019 7:57 am 

    “Encouraged people to use less of it.”
    Sorry, forgot to proofread.

  8. Chrome Mags on Mon, 15th Jul 2019 8:21 pm 

    Let’s have a peak oil dot com collective moment of silence for Trump’s (dead) dream of a revival of coal fired plant’s across our great land from sea to shining sea.

    But there may be hope yet. Maybe Trump can push for Iron built steam engines that run on coal. “Now here’s a 1900 steam engine agricultural plower that I say should make a come back. And the best part is, it runs on super clean coal!”

  9. Shortend on Tue, 16th Jul 2019 4:29 am 

    People need to be forced…exactly Sissyfuss..
    People won’t changed until they are FORCED to change…otherwise it is always the easy (convenient) way out for them.
    This should be a good show when BAU ends.
    Not for the faint of heart.

  10. makati1 on Tue, 16th Jul 2019 4:56 am 

    The ‘force’ is coming…think polar vortex, non-stop rain, or, like in Europe, excessive heat/drought.

    Or think a major war that the US is so desperate to start before the US economy crashes. Can the internet zombies, the druggies, the snowflakes, the dumbed down, brainwashed, debt chained, average American handle such a change? I doubt it. But as Shortend said, it will be a good show, for those not involved. Pass the popcorn…

  11. makati1 on Tue, 16th Jul 2019 5:00 am 

    Oops! I forgot all the shakin’ going on on the West Coast. Faults loosing up everywhere and at least three semi-active volcanoes there that may be affected. Are YOU prepared?

  12. Davy on Tue, 16th Jul 2019 5:01 am 

    “US Beekeepers Lost 40% Of Honeybee Colonies Last Year, UMD-Led Survey Finds” zero hedge

    “The survey asked more than 4,700 beekeepers managing 320,000 colonies from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, represents about 12% of the nation’s estimated 2.69 million managed colonies. One of the most significant concerns respondents had about the winter colony losses is varroa mites, an external parasitic mite that attacks and feeds on the colony. “We are increasingly concerned about varroa mites and the viruses they spread, said vanEngelsdorp. “Last year, many beekeepers reported poor treatment efficacy, and limited field tests showed that products that once removed 90% of mites or more are now removing far fewer. Since these products are no longer working as well, the mite problem seems to be getting worse,” vanEngelsdorp said. “But mites are not the only problem,” continues vanEngelsdorp. “Land use changes have led to a lack of nutrition-rich pollen sources for bees, causing poor nutrition. Pesticide exposures, environmental factors, and beekeeping practices all play some role as well.”

  13. Davy on Tue, 16th Jul 2019 5:18 am 


    “Just outside the LED-lit depths of the Bay Area’s newest and most futuristic indoor farm, a robot arm grabs a row of seedlings and sticks them into a hydroponic planter. An even larger robot arm then flips the planter vertically and sends it onward to become one thin sliver of a 20-foot-tall wall of arugula, baby kale and beet leaves. South San Francisco vertical farm company Plenty has unveiled its biggest, most efficient and most automated farm yet in its hometown. Called Tigris, it grows produce hydroponically — without soil — with LED lights year-round. Unlike outdoor farmers, Plenty’s engineers don’t have to think about the seasons, pests or what plants will grow best locally. While Tigris is specifically designed for leafy greens, Plenty CEO Matt Barnard said the company has test-grown nearly 700 varieties of plants within the last year…According to Plenty, the new farm can grow 1 million plants at a time in a facility around the size of a basketball court and process 200 plants per minute, thanks to strides in automation. The new farm means Plenty will be able to greatly widen its distribution to grocery stores and restaurants…inside these vertical farms, everything is intentional and nothing happens by chance, according to engineers. “We have only one sun outside, but here we can choose the exact light spectrum and intensity based on what we want the plant to taste like,” added Izabelle Back, an engineering manager at Plenty…Anthony Secviar, chef-owner of Michelin-starred Palo Alto restaurant Protege, described Plenty’s greens as “delicious, vibrant, luscious” and “aesthetically immaculate.” He also remarked on their unusually lengthy shelf life and the lack of need to wash them as being a huge boon for busy chefs…Plenty plans to implement solar and wind power at future farms. The company also claims Tigris uses less than 1% of the amount of land and less than 5% of water compared with conventional outdoor farms…Some crops, like wheat, are too expensive to grow indoors at scale to be realistic ventures, but the vertical nature of Plenty’s farms doesn’t represent a barrier, according to Plenty chief scientific officer Nate Storey. He said plants adapt to the verticality and support themselves — Plenty has even grown watermelon, which didn’t start dropping to the floor until they reached 20 pounds. “There’s nothing that won’t work,” he said. “The question is, do the economics make sense today?”

  14. Davy on Tue, 16th Jul 2019 5:51 am 

    “A Pathway To 350 PPM Part 2: Carbon Farming Can Deliver” clean technica

    “Reforesting the tropics Since 1950, we have lost approximately 50% (7.5 billion hectares) of our tropical forests, and scientists estimate that number will increase to 80% by 2030 unless significant action is taken to stop deforestation. More than 80% of deforestation of tropical forests has been for agriculture, with a significant amount being to support livestock. In the Amazon alone, 91% of the 700 million hectares of land deforested since 1970 has been for livestock pasture. By converting this pasture land in the Amazon back to forests, potentially 15.9 billion tonnes of CO2e q/year or 29% of our current GHG emissions could be sequestered. Afforestation of grasslands The creation of new forests on lands that never were or have not been for a very long time is called afforestation. Scientists have determined that over 20% (730 million hectares) of the world’s grasslands have enough rainfall to support trees, and they also determined that afforestation of pasture land in the USA could sequester on average 8.4 tonnes of CO2eq/hectare per year. Those values would equate to the potential for 6.1 billion tonnes of CO2eq to be sequestered each year from afforestation of these suitable grasslands globally. Some will argue that managed cattle grazing techniques that mimics historical migratory herds is the way forward for carbon sequestration of grasslands. Although beneficial, managed grazing provides about 1⁄2 the sequestration potential of afforestation and after 20-30 years, a saturation point is reached where off-gassing of N2O offsets CO2 being sequestered. Although carbon saturation is an issue for all carbon farming practices, mature trees can be harvested and replaced with new ones which prevent carbon saturation from occurring. Managed grazing also doesn’t address the substantial methane emissions generated from the digestive processes of ruminants (cattle, sheep etc.) or their manure. The livestock industry is responsible for 14.5% (7.1 billion tonnes CO2eq/year) of total anthropogenic GHG emissions and methane from ruminant livestock like cattle is the largest contributor. This is slightly more than the emissions from the entire transportation sector which is responsible for 14% of GHG emissions. Carbon farming solves many of the world’s problems Both afforestation and reforestation of cattle pasture lands will not only relieve logging pressure on existing natural forests which themselves are important carbon sinks and harbor much of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, they would also provide the raw materials to supply a growing trend away from the use of CO2- intensive steel and concrete in building construction in favor of wood-based alternatives like laminated timber. Drastically improving the efficiency of how much land is used to produce our protein and calories by switching to plant-based or more land-efficient animal sources, will also make it much easier to sustainably produce enough food to feed the world’s growing population. Aside from a dietary shift and global tree planting effort, this pathway to 350 PPM requires that we eliminate fossil carbon consumption. The generation that is alive today will determine the future of humanity. Therefore, we must act accordingly and clean up our carbon footprints by reducing consumption. Specifically, we need to stop the use of fossil carbon to power our transportation, home heating, cooking appliances, and other power tools. When feasible and available, install solar on our roofs or buy our electricity from green energy sources. We must buy less, share more, practice repairing over replacing, and avoiding disposable consumer goods. Lastly, we need to shift our diets towards land-efficient food sources so we create the space for trees. This is one of the most powerful tools we have for returning atmospheric greenhouse gases to non life-threatening levels, solving a host of anthropocentric environmental problems, and getting us out of this mess.”

  15. Davy on Tue, 16th Jul 2019 9:59 am 

    “I Love Spam Madly, Deeply, Unironically” Lenny

    “I am skilled at classical French cooking. I have a Higher Certificate from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust. I also, however, love Spam. (In case you were wondering, Spam pairs well with Gewürztraminer.) I kept kosher for a few years (long story). When I broke away from the dietary laws — because I was quitting smoking and could not maintain so many forms of self-abnegation at once — the food item I cheated with was Spam. It symbolizes both the part of me that is Korean and the part of me that is American — two identities that are difficult to unite. More important, I associate Spam with relaxation, being present, and not worrying about what you can’t control. Why? Because Spam evokes beaches, pineapples, funny tropical shirts: i.e., Hawaii. It’s the one place in the world where I can be un-stressed-out, and it happens to be the only U.S. state that loves Spam as much as I do. Mainland Americans have given me no end of grief for this. First rule of Spam Club: You never talk about Spam Club. Otherwise, you risk social death. Case in point: When I was at university, my friend Mike told me that his freshman-year roommate threw out Mike’s Spam and gave him $5 to cover the cost. But Mike and I both had a really good excuse for this embarrassing proclivity: We’re of Korean extraction, and Korea is the world’s largest consumer of Spam outside the United States. How did Korea become hooked on the laughingstock of all supermarket products? The meat that was so ridiculous that Monty Python created not only a sketch around it but an entire Broadway musical? A bit of history: Spam has been manufactured by the Austin, Minnesota-based Hormel Foods Corporation since 1937. It became widespread in Korea during and after the Korean War (1950 to 1953), when the U.S. government shipped loads of Spam to Korea, at a time when fresh meat was hard to come by. Korea was by no means the only beneficiary of this largesse; during and after WWII, the U.K. also turned to Spam to supplement monthly meat rations. In fact, articles on Spam’s role in wartime Britain bear titles such as “Spam: Did It Save the Nation?” (Here are some nostalgic British WWII-era Spam recipes.) Unlike the U.K., however, where they poke fun at Spam, Korean Spam consumption was unironic. While modern-day Brits no longer regularly eat Spam, it has remained part of the diet in Korea. In September 2017, Korean sales of Spam reached 1 billion tins. And Spam’s Korean co-distributor, Cheil Jedang, announced in January that its top-selling New Year gift box was Spam. In my day, the tins were usually packed in velvet-lined boxes and wrapped in white satin ribbon. Spam is an important part of Korean home cooking. It’s the sine qua non ingredient of kimchi jjigae (stewed kimchi) and budae jjigae — literally “army stew.” My mother, a biochemist with a particular fear of foodborne illnesses, was virulently anti-pork, making it sound like a veritable menagerie of revolting organisms — trichinosis, tapeworm, hepatitis, all reproducing at exponential rates. Yet we always had Spam in our pantry. Apparently Koreans are now accepting their love of the lowbrow: David Chang, the Michelin-starred Korean-American chef, is extolling Spam. Spam’s enduring popularity in Korea surprises me, because I had assumed Koreans were now prosperous enough to abandon any food item that you need a key to open. This is a common phenomenon, though — hardship habits die hard. Some Germans raised on the substitute coffee product “Ersatzkaffee” — either during the Second World War or subsequently in the former GDR — occasionally used the bad stuff over real coffee much longer than was necessary. Wartime food is a symbol of survival.”

  16. JuanP on Tue, 16th Jul 2019 11:11 am 

    OOps I am JuanP not Davy. I posted this:

    Davy on Tue, 16th Jul 2019 9:59 am
    “I Love Spam Madly, Deeply, Unironically” Lenny

  17. More Davy Identity Theft on Tue, 16th Jul 2019 2:10 pm 

    JuanP on Tue, 16th Jul 2019 11:11 am

  18. Go Speed Racer on Wed, 17th Jul 2019 1:55 am 

    Hi there Makita,
    Been awhile. Having a good summer?

    Hey about volcanoes. The biggest problem
    with volcanoes is they often just sit there.

    Or the lava will pour out, but not much
    smoke. So what we can do, is dump old tires
    into the top of the volcano. The lava
    will set the tires on fire and there will
    be lots of black smoke.

    Everybody knows volcanoes should have
    black smoke pouring out,
    so this will work great.

    Lastly the steel belted radials, the steel
    will mix into the lava, and that will
    recycle it.

    So we need to get going on this. We
    can dump the old tires into the volcano
    using helicopters.

  19. Go Speed Racer on Wed, 17th Jul 2019 1:57 am 

    Also, we can get some old mattresses
    and sofa’s to dump into the volcano also.

    Technologically speaking the results
    will be the same. Volcanoes look better
    with black smoke, and the steel will be
    recycled into the lava.

    I used to think my best possible idea was
    clean up Fukushima by setting off a
    Fusion bomb in the parking lot.

    But this tires & volcanoes, might be my
    best idea yet!

  20. Davy on Wed, 17th Jul 2019 5:38 am 

    You go “Speedy “Go Speed Racer” Gonzales”

    “I’m with Davy on this one. I hope Trump turns himself into a dictator so that he can send all the democrats to Auschwitz in railroad cars.” ~~~Speeder~~~

    Gee, thanks speeder. I quoted you verbatim. Now JuanP can’t claim we are not on the same page.

    You know, ‘Great minds hate alike.’

  21. JuanP on Wed, 17th Jul 2019 5:48 am 

    You go “Speedy “Go Speed Racer” Gonzales”

    “I’m with Juan on this one. I hope Trump turns himself into a dictator so that he can send all the democrats to Auschwitz in railroad cars.” ~~~Speeder~~~

    Gee, thanks speeder. I quoted you verbatim. Now makati1 can’t claim we are not on the same page.

    You know, ‘Great minds hate alike.’

  22. More Davy Identity Theft on Wed, 17th Jul 2019 8:45 am 

    JuanP on Wed, 17th Jul 2019 5:48 am

  23. Go Speed Racer on Thu, 18th Jul 2019 1:20 am 

    It’s too bad this chat board has gone
    to shit. Yeah who is the loser in
    mommy’s basement that keeps posting
    under other people’s names?

    Used to have champions on this website,
    like Mr. Rockman. Haven’t seen him in

    Yup, send all the liberals to Auschwitz.
    Why you need repetition.
    Liberals are destroying America.
    So Trump and the Revolution will destroy
    the liberals. Put the liberals into the
    ovens. Connect hoses to the tank engine
    exhaust. Pump it in. Let nature take
    its course.

    Your guts will lube our tank tracks.
    – Donald Trump 2020.
    F U loser liberals.

    Nixon vs McGovern 1972.
    Who in the fuck do you think won.
    Just stay home and don’t vote,
    dumb liberals.

    And put a Nazi Gestapo Guard onto this P.O.S. chat board. anybody who posts under fake
    I.D., gets the firing squad.

    Make this chat board great again.

  24. Go Speed Racer on Thu, 18th Jul 2019 1:22 am 

    Here is the faggoty pink-armband liberal
    who posts under fake ID on this chat board….

    trying to fight back against
    Go Speed Racer and his gun collection.

    check it out!

  25. makati1 on Thu, 18th Jul 2019 4:10 am 

    Go, you better add in the Cons if you want to clean up America. Better yet, kill off all the elite billionaires that really run the country. Isn’t it fun watching the US self destruct?

  26. Go Speed Racer on Fri, 19th Jul 2019 1:45 am 

    I’m just loving Trump’s latest.
    Go back to your shithole countries!
    Ya! Amen!
    But do ya think … are there enough
    deplorables to re-elect him?

    The deplorables love the rhetoric.
    Archie Bunker in the white house! Whats
    not to like?
    But the swing voters might be tired of him.
    Uh oh. So re-election is not assured.
    oh well.

  27. Richard on Fri, 19th Jul 2019 10:37 am 

    Yes convenience equals time, and perhaps money to all of us. The modern society is going to tolerate that.

    Sadly, this is our way.

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