Paper-plastic debate is just a big waste
The Honolulu City Council is foolishly considering following Maui in banning one of Hawaii's most abundant and economical sources of energy: the plastic supermarket bag.
Not only should Honolulu not consider banning plastic bags, it should look into ways to import even more of them. Plastic shopping bags are an essential part of our island's entire energy-generation system. Unlike other islands, we have the HPOWER garbage-to-energy facility which turns rubbish into electricity. This is done by burning rubbish, which apparently frees up microscopic "energy particles," which are then gathered and fed into an "energy particle accelerator" and converted to "electrical proteins," which are then blended with quarks and other subatomic particles into a sort of "energy soup" which, after being allowed to ferment for several days, becomes pure electricity and is fed to our houses.
I'm not quite sure on the science of converting garbage to energy, but I think it goes something like that. And it turns out that of all the rubbish used at HPOWER, plastic shopping bags contain more "energy particles" than any other rubbish -- except for large plastic orange juice jugs -- and create 30 percent more energy than other garbage.
If Maui residents didn't want their discarded plastic shopping bags, they should have loaded them onto the Superferry and shipped that polyethylene gold to Oahu. We might have even bought it from them.
Plastic shopping bags are the future of clean, recyclable energy, and luckily, the United States has more plastic bags than any other country. We are the OPEC of plastic shopping bags. It is estimated that if all the plastic bags in the country were fed into a garbage-to-energy plant, they would create enough electricity to run all the lights at a nuclear power plant for 4,342 years.
And yet, strangely, the Honolulu City Council wants to ban plastic shopping bags from island stores. That's just insane. That's like banning wind from wind farms or banning the water behind the Hoover Dam. If we were to ban plastic bags, we would be left to use old-fashioned paper shopping bags to generate electricity, and those don't contain enough "energy particles" to power one of those dopey eco-friendly ice cream cone light bulbs.
City officials are just lucky that people are throwing away their plastic garbage bags instead of hoarding them. If residents knew how crucial plastic shopping bags are to energy production on Oahu, they'd actually demand to be paid for them.
Ironically, it was misguided environmentalists who demanded that we use plastic shopping bags instead of paper. They said it would save trees. Now there are so many trees growing on the mainland that they have to be burned every summer, releasing millions of unused "energy particles" into the air. We can't let that happen to our precious plastic bags.
Buy Charles Memminger's hilarious new book, "Hey, Waiter, There's An Umbrella In My Drink!" at island book stores or online
at any book retailer. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org