NYC Addresses “Environmental Anxiety”

A recent New York Times article reads:  “If you’re one of the many New Yorkers who worry about throwing away plastic bags but seem only to acquire more and more, then help is on the way.”

Yes! It’s New York City bureaucracy to the rescue! A city whose budget has already been drained by expensive—and not necessarily energy efficient—attempts to collect, sort, and recycle glass bottles to save sand now wants to tackle the terrible guilt New Yorkers suffer from using plastic bags. But rather than collect the bags themselves, the city council voted to force retailers to do the job. So this time, the cost will come as higher prices rather than higher taxes. What will New Yorkers get in return? Councilwoman Christine C. Quinn says that it will relieve “environmental anxiety” that New Yorkers currently suffer because they use one billion plastic bags a year.

But I say—those people who live with such silly anxiety can chose an alternative and leave everyone else alone. The reality is, as I pointed out recently, plastic isn’t necessarily better than paper or other alternatives! It’s convenient and some people actually like it. In fact, that’s why it’s so popular. But government bureaucrats can’t resist yet another opportunity to waste other people’s money, and possibly more energy, by setting up yet another government mandated recycling program. When will they ever learn?