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Small Business Management Article

Sunrise; Sunset – Revisited

By

Raymond D. Matkowsky

Last May I wrote an article entitled Sunrise; Sunset which discussed examples of four laws that definitely should or should not be repealed depending on their effectiveness. That article can be obtained here. It has been six to seven months and it may be too early to tell if these laws will be successful. However, there are cracks and unintended consequence already appearing.

Plastics And Single Use Plastic Grocery Bags

When it comes to plastic items other, other than grocery bags, there has been no change. Plastic recycling has been mandated in many localities for years. However, 90% of plastic items never make into recycling and go into a landfill. Plus, recycled plastic is too degraded and must be mixed with virgin plastic to be useful.

This is an example of a law that should be removed from the books. It does not do what it was intended to do. Municipalities are paying huge costs for very little benefit. Residents of these municipalities are paying higher taxes to cover these costs.

Plastic grocery bags ban has caused a great deal of unintended consequences and an increase in the amount of plastics going into the landfill. I was initially told that 70% of plastic grocery bags are reused. I am now told that this number is closer to 90%. 90% of bags are reused at least once. 80% are reused twice. 70% are reused three times. Contrary to what the myth is, this is not a single use item!

Many grocery outlets are using non-woven bags instead. If you get groceries weekly and they are put in three bags, you have twelve bags by the end of the month, 72 bags in six months, and 144 bags at the end of the year. Unlike plastic bags, grocery stores are not allowed to take them back for sanitary reasons. People do not know what to do with all of these bags accept throw them in the garbage with all the other stuff that goes to a landfill. There is no savings in this because by weight more material is going into a landfill.

Because grocery bags are not being reused, people are buying unbanned plastic bags to replace the grocery bags that they would normally use. This is just replacing one bag for another. These bags then go into a landfill. The quantity of individual items is not less. Commercial products are thicker, so by weight, the landfill is actually increasing the amount of plastics they are taking in.

The legislator that sponsored the ban in New Jersey USA is now having second thoughts. His suggestion is to go to paper bags. This comes full circle. The reason why grocery stores went to plastic bags was because legislators were complaining we were killing too many trees for paper grocery bags and not replacing the trees fast enough.

This is also a bad law. It should be repealed. We do not have to wait a year to come to that conclusion. Our legislators are guilty of “shooting from the hip” rather than thoroughly investigating the ramifications of a new law.

Bicycles

The State of Colorado instituted what they call is a “Safety Stop” law. It allows bicyclist to treat stop signs as yield signs. Red lights are treated as a stop sign and then one can proceed through the intersection. Most accidents that have occurred since the new law was passed seem to happen at intersections. Drivers considered bicyclists as scofflaws prior to implementation. They feel the law codifies their behavior. Sponsors claim it would make the streets safer. Colorado is listed as one of the ten most dangerous states for bicyclist.

Information as to a comparison of accidents before and after the law’s implementation is hard to come by. All that we can say so far is that accidents between automobiles and bicyclists are still happening all across the state. We will have to wait longer for more definitive answers.

Electric Vehicles (EV)

California is planning to stop the sales of gasoline powered vehicles by 2035. As a researcher I do not feel that electric vehicles are consumer ready. This is not to say that I do not believe that electric vehicles will never be ready. What I am saying is that they need more work and that 2035 is too soon given the typical consumer product lead time. However, there is already trouble brewing on the horizon.

California has recently undergone a heat wave and years of forest fires that have disrupted the electricity grid. To a lesser degree, typical storms have caused various power outages. In addition a recent study indicated that not only does charging time increases with colder weather but an EVs range is cut anywhere from 9 to 63%. Your more expensive vehicles fall in the lower range levels and your more consumer typical vehicles at the high end.

California also has had a constant increase in electricity demand. Much of the same is true for Texas. The other grids are questionable and will probably have to be expanded also. This will take time. In the future, heat waves are expected by some to be more frequent throughout the United States (U.S.) and Europe because of climate change. All of this is going to test EV usage.

During the last heat wave the governor of California asked the population not to recharge their cars because it would tax the grid too much. California, the biggest EV market in the U.S., has more than a million battery-powered vehicles in operation, accounting for about 6% of all passenger vehicles on the road. The rest of the U.S. accounts for 1%. Europe accounts for 9.9% of registrations. If a small number of vehicles will tax grids, what would 100% compliance do? As it stands now the electric grids are not ready for electric vehicles and California may be putting itself in a very bad position not only for the general public but for businesses too.


If you have any comments, let us know. Email me at rdm@datastats.com. We will try to print it in our next newsletter.

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