environmental protection

What Does the Environmental Protection Agency Do ?

What Is the Role of the EPA?

In the 1960s, pesticides like dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (or DDT) were widely used to protect crops from pests like insects. DDT in particular was considered a cure-all because it was toxic to a wide range of insects, without seeming to cause any harm to cows or other farm mammals. It didn’t readily break down and so only required infrequent applications. And it was insoluble in water or didn’t get washed away by the rain.Environmental Protection

However, in 1962, scientist Rachel Carson published her book Silent Spring. Which was a main catalyst for the movement to protect the environment and thus our own welfare. Her book grabbed the public’s attention who then put pressure on many state. And local governments to enact laws regulating pollution and chemical use. After a few years of varied and disconnected attempts at regulation. It became clear that a dedicated federal agency was needed to sort through these efforts and unite them. In 1970, then President Nixon signed the National Environmental Policy Act (or NEPA), and the EPA now monitors over 100 programs that uphold a dozen major laws.

The stated mission of the Environmental Protection Agency is to “protect human health and the environment.” So they ensure that the living and working environments of those living in the US do not pose a significant risk to our health. They do this primarily through research into environmental conditions. Through educating the public, and through making sure the federal health and environmental laws enacted by Congress are enforced effectively.

Not all of the EPA’s work is fines and sanctions.

They also coordinate volunteer programs for industry players, looking to participate in pollution prevention and environmental conservation. After laws are ratified by congress, the EPA then determines strategies for enforcing those laws fairly. The maintenance of the national standards dictated by legislation is done in cooperation, with state and local governments. As well as tribal governing bodies.

Thus, the EPA does not on its own make laws, but instead is involved before and after those laws are set. Beforehand, the EPA is tasked with ensuring the lawmakers are informed by the highest quality of research. The agency is tasked with monitoring water, air, land. And human health quality and provides the vast majority of this information to the public. In order to gather a range of perspectives, as well as draw from leading researchers in the field. The EPA also awards over several billion dollars in grants and fellowships.Environmental Protection

What Does the EPA Do for You?

The EPA ensures that you have clean air to breathe. The Clean Air Act of 1970 requires that the EPA protect and improve the air quality in the US. As well as protect the stratospheric ozone layer. This includes placing limitations on emissions of harmful substances. Prevention of future air pollution, setting emission standards for motor vehicles and airplanes, and regulating the recycling and disposal of appliances. That incorporate chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs. Without the dramatic reduction in emission of CFCs due in large part to this regulation. The hole in the ozone layer would still be growing. Putting more and more people at risk from the side effects of harmful ultraviolet radiation, including skin cancer.

In 1990, Congress approved the most recent major amendment to the Clean Air Act. Which requires a reduction in the emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides gases. In response, the EPA set up a cap-and-trade program to cut sulfur dioxide emissions under its Acid Rain program.

Acid rain is known to change the chemical composition of soil leading to reductions in agricultural production. And widespread damage to trees. Acidic water can also cause lead and copper to leach into drinking water for those who do not rely on public water supplies. Acidic water vapor in the air can also cause respiratory problems, headaches, and asthma. Even infrastructure is at risk from acid rain which speeds up the corrosion process in metal, and limestone structures including cars and buildings.

The EPA also coordinates an Asbestos Program to provide resources for identifying and managing or removing asbestos. Which has been documented to cause serious respiratory problems.

The EPA ensures that you have clean water to drink and to bathe in.

The Clean Water Act of 1972 makes it illegal to dump pollutants into navigable waters without a permit. And the EPA is in charge of issuing such permits through their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System.

In 2014, Flint, Michigan, a city of over 98,000 people, had its water source changed from Lake Huron to the Flint River. Despite concerns of sewage and industrial waste contaminations in the river. Since the switch, repeated water boiling advisories have been issued for residents in response. To reports of fecal bacteria in the water supply. Later, potential cancer-causing byproducts of the disinfectants used to combat the bacteria were also reported. Environmental Protection

Although the EPA’s role in this crisis has been complex, in early 2015, the EPA intervened on behalf of a resident. Who reported dark sediment in her tap water, which the EPA tested and determined to have dangerous levels of lead (over twice the level classified as hazardous waste). The EPA continues to test and monitor the water supply as many residents remain without safe tap water.Environmental Protection

Bioplastics and biodegradable plastics

From cars to food wrap and from planes to pens, you can make anything and everything from plastics—unquestionably the world’s most versatile materials. But there’s a snag. Plastics are synthetic (artificially created) chemicals that don’t belong in our world and don’t mix well with nature. Discarded plastics are a big cause of pollution, cluttering rivers, seas, and beaches, killing fish, choking birds, and making our environment a much less attractive place. Public pressure to clean up has produced plastics that seem to be more environmentally friendly. But are they all they’re cracked up to be?

Bioplastics

The theory behind bioplastics is simple: if we could make plastics from kinder chemicals to start with, they’d break down more quickly and easily when we got rid of them. The most familiar bioplastics are made from natural materials such as corn starch, and sold under such names as EverCorn™ and NatureWorks. With a distinct emphasis on environmental credentials. Some bioplastics look virtually indistinguishable from traditional petrochemical plastics. Polylactide acid (PLA) looks and behaves like polyethylene and polypropylene and is now widely used for food containers.

According to NatureWorks, making PLA saves two thirds the energy you need to make traditional plastics. Unlike traditional plastics and biodegradable plastics, bioplastics generally do not produce a net increase in carbon dioxide gas when they break down. Because the plants that were used to make them absorbed the same amount of carbon dioxide to begin with. PLA, for example, produces almost 70 percent less greenhouse gases when it degrades in landfills.

Another good thing about bioplastics is that they’re generally compostable: they decay into natural materials that blend harmlessly with soil. Some bioplastics can break down in a matter of weeks. The cornstarch molecules they contain slowly absorb water and swell up, causing them to break apart into small fragments that bacteria can digest more readily.

Unfortunately, not all bioplastics compost easily or completely and some leave toxic residues or plastic fragments behind. Some will break down only at high temperatures in industrial-scale, municipal composters or digesters, or in biologically active landfills (also called bioreactor landfills). Not on ordinary home compost heaps or in conventional landfills. There are various eco-labeling standards around the world that spell out the difference between home and industrial composting. And the amount of time in which a plastic must degrade in order to qualify.

The global plastics problem

Plastics are carbon-based polymers (long-chain molecules that repeat their structures over and over) and we make them mostly from petroleum. They’re incredibly versatile—by definition: the word plastic, which means flexible, says it all. The trouble is that plastic is just too good. We use it for mostly disposable, low-value items such as food-wrap and product packaging, but there’s nothing particularly disposable about most plastics. On average, we use plastic bags for 12 minutes before getting rid of them, yet they can take fully 500 years to break down in the environment (quite how anyone knows this is a mystery, since plastics have been around only about a century).

In Britain alone (one small island in a very big world), people use 8 billion disposable plastic bags each year. Burning them can give off toxic chemicals such as dioxins.While collecting and recycling them responsibly is also difficult. Getting rid of plastics is extremely difficult. Because there are many different kinds and each has to be recycled by a different process. If we used only tiny amounts of plastics that wouldn’t be so bad, but we use them in astounding quantities. If you’ve ever taken part in a beach clean, you’ll know that about 80 percent of the waste that washes up on the shore is plastic. It including bottles, bottle tops, and tiny odd fragments known as “mermaids’ tears.”

We’re literally drowning in plastic we cannot get rid of. It’s been estimated that 200,000 barrels of oil are used each day to make plastic packaging for the United States alone.And we’re making most of it from oil—a non-renewable resource that’s becoming increasingly expensive.

Making better plastics

Ironically, plastics are engineered to last. You may have noticed that some plastics do. Gradually, start to go cloudy or yellow after long exposure to daylight (more specifically, in the ultraviolet light that sunlight contains). To stop this happening, plastics manufacturers generally introduce extra stabilizing chemicals to give their products longer life. With society’s ever-increasing focus on protecting the environment, there’s a new emphasis on designing plastics that will disappear much more quickly.

Broadly speaking, so-called “environmentally friendly” plastics fall into three types:

Biodegradable plastics made from traditional petrochemicals, which are engineered to break down more quickly

Bioplastics made from natural materials such as corn starch

Eco/recycled plastics, which are simply plastics made from recycled plastic materials rather than raw petrochemicals.

We’ll look at each of these in turn.

Biodegradability

Biodegradability

The Problem with Biodegradability

Confusion about which products are legitimately biodegradable. Biodegradability

By definition, most chemicals are biodegradable because they’re capable of being broken down by the action of living things, such as microorganisms.

Biodegradability

However, there’s no universal definition or certification for the marketing claim “biodegradable”. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued general guidelines on what types of products qualify as legitimately biodegradable, and has even sued companies for unsubstantiated, misleading and/or deceptive use of the term on product labels.

Current FTC guidelines state that for marketers to make such a claim, an entire product or package should completely break down and return to nature within a “reasonably short period of time” after customary disposal. The FTC also states that marketers should not make unqualified claims of biodegradability for items destined for landfills, incinerators, or recycling facilities.

BioMass Packaging continues to conform to FTC guidelines for all products we sell and represent.

There’s a vast difference in how long it takes for different materials to break down

How quickly an item decomposes into the earth depends on its basic components, the percentage of its biodegrading materials, and where it is left to decompose.

In a perfect world:

A plastic toy would break down as quickly as a piece of birthday cake;

Substances would degrade into carbon dioxide and water;

Certain chemicals would not degrade into more dangerous substances, like the banned, toxic pesticide DDT. Which breaks down into DDE and DDD — more harmful than the original substance.

Decomposition rates of items in landfills are staggeringly slow due to the absence of sunlight, moisture and air exposure. Some rough estimates of the time it takes for certain products to completely break down in a landfill include:

Apple core: 1 to 2 months or longer, due to lack of microbes

Paper Bag: 1 month

Tin Can: 50 years

Aluminum Can: 80-200 years (if recycled, it can be reused within 6 weeks)

Plastic drinking bottles: hundreds of years (they consist of polyethylene terephthalate (PET))

Disposable Diapers: 550 years

Plastic Bags: up to hundreds of years

Plastic milk jug: 500 years

Glass: 1-2 million years (but if recycled, it can be reused within 6 weeks)

Styrofoam: never (no sign of ever breaking down)

The Solution

Start by reading labels and/or doing online research

For consumers to judge the viability of a biodegradable product claim, they can:

Start by reading the product label

Try to select products that are made of ingredients you recognize as natural

Look for manufacturers who clearly list all product ingredients

Choose products packaged in bioplastic over those in petroleum-based plastic

Do research online to further determine the biodegradability and compostability of certain products, and how long each product may take to break down completely. These would include food items, plastic resins, packaging materials, bags, and consumer products.

Also, a few third-party organizations that offer voluntary standards and labels to companies have created scientifically based, standards and certifications for compostability of certain materials.

Rely on third party certifications for accurate information

Companies voluntarily participate in third party certification programs. To assure their customers that their products behave as advertised. There are several independent organizations that offer certifications, such as:

The Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) is a non-profit organization. That educates manufacturers and the public about biodegradability as it relates to composting bio-plastics materials. And other coatings and packaging that may go into commercial compost facilities. ASTM standards 6400 and 6868 and its Compostable label may be found on products such as garbage bags, service ware, and packaging.

Recycle everything possible

More than 30% of bulk municipal garbage collections consist of paper that could be remade into other paper products. About 70% of materials that are routinely disposed of in landfills could be recycled instead. Other materials like plastic, metal and glass can also be repurposed.

Recycling these materials can not only greatly reduce the amount of waste disposed in landfills, but preserve our limited sources of nonrenewable raw materials.

The Benefits of Biodegradability

There are multiple advantages to using and properly disposing of biodegradable and compostable products that:

Are non-toxic

Are better for the environment, dispersing very few greenhouse gases

Take less time to break down than other solid materials

Are made from biomass — organic compounds are completely renewable

Often require less than half as much energy to manufacture

Reduce our dependence on foreign countries’ fossil fuels

Reduce the costs of solid waste disposal

Divert waste from already overcrowded landfills, thereby reducing groundwater and air pollution via methane

Support local, sustainable businesses such as composters

The coming and going of Polylactic acid

Polylactic acid fiber comes from nature (raw materials can be extracted from natural plants), goes to nature (completely decomposed into carbon dioxide and water, and is not harmful to the natural cycle), and the waste water and waste gas generated during its processing are more than other petroleum-based Much less synthetic fiber, so it is a sustainable ecological fiber.

Its fibers, fabrics, and non-woven fabrics are increasingly being used for their excellent moisture absorption and moisture retention, high elastic recovery rate, low flammability and smoke generation, UV stability, good feel and drape.

People pay attention to it. With the maturation of fermentation, polymerization, and molding processing technology, and further cost reduction, polylactic acid fibers will continue to penetrate into all areas of our lives.

I have a Dream

What “Biodegradable” Really Means

For such a common term, though, there is plenty of confusion about what it actually means. If you’re interested in starting an environmentally sustainable business, you’ll have to think about whether your products or packaging are biodegradable.

So, what does it mean for something to be biodegradable? In basic terms, the definition is simple: If something is biodegradable, then, given the right conditions and presence of microorganisms, fungi, or bacteria. It will eventually break down to its basic components and blend back in with the earth. Ideally, but not always, these substances degrade without leaving any toxins behind.

If you’re going to run a green business, you should know how to make sure the materials you use are safely and efficiently biodegradable, as well as accurately labeled. For example, when a plant-based product might break down into carbon dioxide, water, and other naturally occurring minerals.

The substance seamlessly mixes back into the earth, leaving no toxins behind. Unfortunately, many materials—even ones with a biodegradable label—do break down in a more harmful manner, leaving chemicals or other damaging substances in the soil.

In terms of environmental benefits, the best biodegradable material will break down quickly rather than taking years. It leaves nothing harmful behind and saves landfill space. Unfortunately, not everything that’s advertised as “biodegradable” meets these criteria.

What Materials Are Biodegradable?

Some products will biodegrade eventually, but it may take years. Some items are obviously biodegradable. Examples include food scraps and wood that hasn’t been treated with chemicals to resist bugs and rot. Many other items, such as paper, also biodegrade relatively easily. This includes steel products, which eventually will rust through and disintegrate, and some plastics.

However, conditions are important to encourage biodegradability. Products that will biodegrade in nature or in home compost heaps may not biodegrade in landfills, where there’s not enough bacteria, light, and water to move the process along.

Biodegradable ≠ Compostable

Many organic companies use biodegradable packaging for products or produce organic biodegradable products, but the items may not be as biodegradable as customers think. To make matters more confusing, many items are labeled as “compostable.”

Compostable products are all biodegradable, but they are specifically intended for a composting environment. In the right setting, these products break down even more quickly, usually within 90 days. And they leave behind a nutrient-rich organic material called humus. Which creates a healthy soil environment for new plant growth.

Compostable products are all biodegradable, but they are specifically intended for a composting environment. In the right setting, these products break down even more quickly, usually within 90 days. And they leave behind a nutrient-rich organic material called humus. Which creates a healthy soil environment for new plant growth.

For example, PLA, a popular biodegradable material for green companies. It will only decompose into carbon dioxide and water in a controlled composting environment, not in a backyard composting arrangement. According to standards developed by the Biodegradable Products Institute.

Even better are those businesses that take it a step further and educate their customers, about how to properly dispose of their products. With all of these variables, business owners need to communicate clearly with their customers about what they mean when they say “biodegradable.”

Claims on Plastic in California

When it comes to biodegradable claims, the state is also out in front with regulations limiting the use of certain terms. For example, in Calfornia, it’s illegal to sell any plastic item. Or any item with plastic packaging, that includes a label stating it’s “biodegradable,” “degradable,” “decomposable,” “compostable” or “marine degradable” (or any alternate form of those terms).

Businesses operating or selling to customers in California, will have an extra impetus to be careful with these terms. California tends to have more stringent regulations involving food and product environmental, claims (hence the warning labels stating items have been “found by the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm”).

It’s also illegal in the state to sell a plastic product labeled “home compostable” (or some equivalent claim). Unless the manufacturer holds a Vincotte OK Compost HOME certificate. Vincotte is a Belgium-based inspection and certification organization. Finally, the state bans the use of potentially misleading marketing terms. Such as “environmentally friendly,” when they’re applied to plastic products and packaging.

Biodegradable Tableware

Synthetic Preparation of Polylactic Acid

The synthesis of polylactic acid is divided into direct method and ring-opening method.

At present, industrialized PLA is basically prepared by a ring-opening method. However, the ring-opening method has many reaction steps and high requirements for the purity of the intermediate product lactide, which makes the cost of PLA high.

At the same time, polylactic acid has a large brittleness and poor toughness, which limits its wide application.

the simpler direct method and the synthesis of modified polylactic acid based on the direct method have become one of the research hotspots.

Direct methods include melt polycondensation, melt / solid phase polymerization, solution polymerization and chain extension polymerization.

This subject mainly studies the melt polycondensation, chain extension polymerization of PLA, and the preparation of castor oil-modified PLA-type polyurethanes. Through process optimization and program improvement, a series of brand-new castor oil-modified PLA types with different properties have been prepared. Polyurethane.

The main research contents and conclusions of this paper are divided into four parts. The first part is the preparation of high molecular weight polylactic acid by the melt polycondensation method. Finally, 0.6wt% SnCl2 · 2H2O and TSA (p-toluenesulfonic acid) (SnCl2 · 2H2O / TSA = 1, molar ratio) are obtained by catalytic polymerization of lactic acid at 180 ° C.

PLA with a weight-average molecular weight of 56,000. In the second part, PLA with higher molecular weight was used as raw material, modified by castor oil, HDI (hexamethylene diisocyanate) was used as chain extender, and polylactic acid polyurethane was obtained by bulk polymerization at room temperature.

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Biodegradable Plastic Addictive

Biodegradable Plastic Additive

Biodegradable plastic enhanced with BioSphere Plastic’s Additive is a unique additive package. That when placed into polymers rapidly enhances the ability for plastic to biodegrade in anaerobic and aerobic environments. Plastic when placed into active microbial environments, it begin to decompose at very slow rates by microorganisms.

BioSphere biodegradable plastic additive enhances the ability for the plastic product to decompose by microorganisms. Products that have been treated with the biodegradable plastic additive can see results of biodegradability in landfills, anaerobic digestion systems and aerobic facilities.

Over the past 20 years, more and more emphasis has been placed on living “green”. And being environmentally conscious in the creation of industrial products and solutions. Throughout this time, there have been many different attempts aimed at creating the most environmentally friendly plastic products. This has brought about not only the introduction of biodegradable plastic but also the perfection of its creation.

Application Of Biodegradable Plastic Additives

Many early plastic products that were touted as “biodegradable plastic” were simply a play on words for the public.

Until the Federal Trade Commission cracked down on their claims and created a standard. That now must be attained in order to be considered biodegradable plastic. In essence, the qualifications in order to be considered biodegradable are that the material must be scientifically proven to break down completely.

And return to nature in a short time frame unless the product can be qualified by stating the period of time for customary disposal, And the percentage of biodegradability in the specified disposal method (IE. Landfill, Digestion System, Compost, Aerobic Facility or Home Compost) . The creation of such materials can be costly and complicated, but Biosphere is solving those issues.

Through years of research and development BioSphere has created some of the highest quality biodegradable plastic additives. While maintaining affordability no matter what size of industry or product you may be creating material for.

Not only is the quality and affordability putting this product in the reach of thousands of companies, but we have also tailored our material to fit, within the requirements set out by the FTC to increase the speed by which the biodegradability of plastic takes place. And the testing which is sought after, making it the fastest in the market today.

Principles Of Biodegradable Plastic Additives

Manufacturing with BioSphere’s biodegradable plastic additive will give microbes the ability to secrete acids and consume your product, turning the products into Ch4, Co2, biomass and water, in the fastest time frame on the market. BioSphere’s biodegradable additive enhances the ability for microbes to consume the plastic at a much faster rate by adding in key features to the polymer.

BioSphere’s biodegradable plastic additive works within a three tiered system. Within the tiers are the secrets to not only how the additive works so efficiently and easily, but also contains the keys to making it individualized for companies specific needs, and fine tuning the degradation to be at its maximum effect.

Without changes to your physical properties, without changes to final product’s shelf life, without an increase of resin used. This results is an end product that is 100% shelf stable (unlike products manufactured with the use of oxo-degradable additives).

Whether you are currently using a biodegradable plastic or additive, partnering with BioSphere is clearly the next step in producing the next generation of your biodegradable plastic product line. Your product will be able to solve the market’s demand for an earth friendly solution, all while keeping your manufacturing costs in line.

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About Biodegradable Plastic Application

Biodegradable plastic is plastic that decomposes naturally in the environment. This is achieved when microorganisms in the environment metabolize and break down the structure of biodegradable plastic. The end result is one which is less harmful to the environment than traditional plastics.

Biodegradable plastics can be composed of bio-plastics, which are plastics made from renewable raw materials. There are normally two forms of biodegradable plastic, injection molded and solid. The solid forms normally are used for items such as food containers, leaf collection bags, and water bottles.

Making Biodegradable Plastic

Traditional plastic is made with chemical fillers that can be harmful to the environment when released when the plastic is melted down. Biodegradable plastics are made from all-natural plant materials. These can include corn oil, orange peels, starch, and plants. With biodegradable plastic, you get a substance made from natural sources that does not contain these chemical fillers, and does not pose the same risk to the environment.

The process of making biodegradable plastics begins with the melting down of all the materials. That mixture is then poured into molds of various shapes such as plastic water bottles and utensils.

Regular Plastic vs. Biodegradable Plastic

After formation, regular plastics hold carbon. When they are disposed of and begin to decompose or when they are melted, that carbon is then released into the atmosphere.

Biodegradable plastics do not release carbon, because no carbon is involved in the manufacturing process. Methane and other forms of pollutants could also be released from traditional plastic when they are recycled and burned. This is not the case with biodegradable plastics, which do not contain those polluting materials.

Aside from a slightly higher cost to produce, biodegradable plastics hold many advantages over standard plastics, with a lesser impact on the environment being one of its greatest advantages.

One of the many positive aspects of biodegradable plastics is that they are able to be broken down by naturally occurring bacteria, which again will be beneficial to the environment.

Pros and Cons of Biodegradable Plastic

Biodegradable plastics do have some drawbacks. For example, they do not decompose unless they are disposed of properly, meaning that biodegradable plastics must be treated similarly to compost. The natural breakdown of the plastic will not occur if it is simply tossed in a landfill with other trash.

This is something that concerned citizens will need to be mindful of. Some scientists also suggest that greenhouse gases are locked, within the plastic and are released into the atmosphere when composted. However, everything used in the production of biodegradable plastic is natural. As such, these plastics do not contain the harmful chemicals and materials that traditional plastics do.

The benefits would seem to outweigh any potential drawbacks, but the question of whether or not biodegradable plastics will someday replace traditional plastic is still a matter of debate.

Some biodegradable materials do contain small pieces of metal. There is concern that when biodegradable plastics break down, those metals will be released into the environment. However, to date there is no evidence of that causing any significant issues.

For more information:

Biodegradable Plastics: Are They Better for the Environment: Find out if biodegradable plastics are better for the environment than traditional plastic.

13

Plastic ban: Overturn a previous ban on plastic bag bans

Michigan has legislation on the table right now that would ban the ban of plastic ban, a situation that started during the 2016,lame duck session before Gov. Gretchen Whitmer took office.

Bans and restrictions on the use of plastic bags, are widespread across the country and around the world. The rationale of the bag-banners is straight-forward: Plastic bags are non-biodegradable sources of pollution. That scientists say could take hundreds of years, or even a millennium, to break down.

Americans use 100 billion plastic bags a year, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

What’s more, according to Waste Management Inc., only 1 percent of plastic bags are returned for recycling, the rest ending up in landfills.

In August 2014, California became the first state, to enact legislation imposing a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags.

The regulation applies to larger retail stores, and also requires a 10-cent minimum charge for recycled paper bags, compostable bags and reusable plastic bags, at certain establishments. Since then, only Hawaii and New York have joined California with statewide bag bans.

Michigan’s ban on bag bans

In the final days of 2016, former Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley signed Senate Bill 853 into action. While former Gov. Rick Snyder was on vacation. The bill, proposed by Republican Sen. Jim Stamas, banned the banning of plastic bags in Michigan, on the grounds that a plastic bag ban would create a patchwork of regulations, that large corporations would have too much trouble, complying with and small businesses could not afford.

While more prevalent in coastal states, bag bans have not found much footing in the Midwest.

Only two places in the Midwest: Evanston, Illinois, and the Cleveland suburb of Orange Village have plastic bag bans. Several other cities and counties such as Oak Park, Illinois, have passed bans, that have yet to go into effect or have been pushed back, that would implement a tax on plastic bags to deter usage.

Michigan is not the only state to have implemented a ban on bans.

Idaho, Arizona and Missouri all have similar laws in place. The arguments are the same, with proponents in those states defending them, as a way of protecting businesses, from having to comply with additional regulations.

Michigan’s ban on bag bans was spurred by an attempt to enact a ban in Washtenaw County. In early 2016, the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners, which is seated in Ann Arbor, voted in favor of a new ordinance imposing a 10-cent fee on both paper and plastic bags, dispensed in grocery stores throughout the county. The backlash from the Michigan Restaurant Association, and other large businesses was significant enough to prompt Senate Bill 853.

Bipartisan ban on the ban on bans

Earlier this year, Rep. Robert Wittenberg, a Democrat, introduced and the movement to ban the ban on bag bans. Wittenberg introduced House Bill 4500, which would allow local municipalities to once again decide, how they want to regulate plastic bags, or if they want to regulate them at all.

This would overturn the decision made in 2016, and essentially ban the banning of plastic bag regulations on a local scale.

“We aren’t trying to ban plastic bags. We aren’t trying to force any regulations on anyone in fact. We just want local municipalities to be able to decide for themselves,” Wittenberg said.

The bill does not require any local communities to ban plastic bags, merely giving them the option to do so. The bill has received bipartisan support from co-sponsor Republican Rep. Gary Howell.

“To me, this isn’t a partisan issue. I’m a strong advocate for local decision-making and local control, and the folks who are against this are the retailers,” Howell said.

Supporters of House Bill 4500 hope it gains traction in the coming weeks, and months to put a dent in Michigan’s plastic bag consumption.

“It’s going to be a long slog,” Howell said. “But we have to keep the pressure on, and fight for what is right for the people in these areas, not just let it be dictated from Lansing.”