GreenYes Archives

[GreenYes Home] - [Thread Index] - [Date Index]
[Date Prev] - [Date Next] - [Thread Prev] - [Thread Next]


Re: [greenyes] Plastic from corn?


Without belaboring the war-for-oil argument that Ted raises too much, one should remember that somewhere between 70 and 80% of the oil from the Persian Gulf goes not to the US, but to Europe and Japan. True, the US is the world's biggest oil consumer and markets are integrated, but relatively little of the oil from this region comes to us. It is also true that the Iraqi oil industry will remain a national oil company, not one that is run by US-based multi-nationals, and that the country is planning (and will hopefully) adopt a revenue sharing model like Alaska to ensure all Iraqi citizens benefit from its resource wealth.

On an annual basis, protection of Persian Gulf Oil shipping lanes is a huge subsidy to oil consumers around the world. These costs should be recovered from oil consumers through excise fees, and this would help encourage development of more secure sources of supply (both oil and non-oil). However, it the European and Japanese oil consumers who benefit most from the current system. The US defense of shipping lanes mitigates the price shocks that would otherwise occur more frequently on European and Japanese oil imports, though the consumers in these countries pay none of the financial costs of this service.

-Doug Koplow

_______________________________
Doug Koplow
Earth Track, Inc.
2067 Massachusetts Avenue - 4th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02140
www.earthtrack.net
Tel: 617/661-4700
Fax: 617/354-0463

CONFIDENTIAL
This message, and all attachments thereto, is for the designated recipient
only and may contain privileged, proprietary, or otherwise private
information. If you have received it in error, please notify the sender
immediately and delete the original. Any other use of the email by you
is prohibited.

>>> Ted Smith <tsmith@no.address> 11/30/04 01:41PM >>>
when thinking about subsidies (hidden and not) we can't rule out the cost
of war. I don't remember the last time the US went to war over corn.

Ted Smith

At 12:42 PM 11/30/2004 -0500, Doug Koplow wrote:
>Like ethanol from corn, plastic from corn is a niche product that emerges
>from a very convoluted policy environment. It is clear that farm
>production is heavily subsidized in this country, as are key inputs to
>farming such as irrigation water and fossil-fuel intensive fertilizers,
>pesticides, and transport (via subsidies to oil and gas). I would be very
>surprised if corn based plastic were to be competitive at all absent these
>subsidies, other than in niche markets where biodegradability is a key
>attribute of consumer demand in a non-price sensitive market. Even with
>the subsidies, it is unlikely that corn-based plastics could compete with
>commodity plastic resins made from fossil fuels in production systems that
>exhibit enormous economies of scale.
>
>Do these plastics have a place? I would say yes: in the applications
>whether litter is likely, and where that litter creates significant
>aesthetic or environmental damages. Another application might be to
>contain organic waste streams headed for composting.
>
>Should the environmental community embrace the resins more generally
>because they are more recyclable? Given the enormous environmental
>damages associated with corn production, I would say absolutely not.
>
>Furthermore, it is my opinion that recyclers should be quite aggressive in
>ensuring all new materials that enter the waste stream are compatible with
>materials recovery -- whether that material is blue glass, PET cans, or
>biodegrable plastic. Ideally, there would be materials surcharges on
>manufacturers that produce materials that diminish and degrade the value
>of the recyclable stream. This would ensure they pay attention to the
>disposal side of their product as they are developing it. Absent actual
>fees, political challenges are the least we can do.
>
>-Doug Koplow
>
>_______________________________
>Doug Koplow
>Earth Track, Inc.
>2067 Massachusetts Avenue - 4th Floor
>Cambridge, MA 02140
>www.earthtrack.net
>Tel: 617/661-4700
>Fax: 617/354-0463
>
> CONFIDENTIAL
>This message, and all attachments thereto, is for the designated recipient
>only and may contain privileged, proprietary, or otherwise private
>information. If you have received it in error, please notify the sender
>immediately and delete the original. Any other use of the email by you
>is prohibited.
>
>
>---------------------------------------------------------------------
>To unsubscribe, e-mail: greenyes-unsubscribe@no.address
>For additional commands, e-mail: greenyes-help@no.address

Ted Smith
Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition/Computer TakeBack Campaign
760 N. First Street,San Jose, CA 95112
408-287-6707-phone; 408-287-6771-fax
http://www.svtc.org/ http://www.computertakeback.com









[GreenYes Home] - [Date Index] - [Thread Index]
[Date Prev] - [Date Next] - [Thread Prev] - [Thread Next]