In his description of a truly apt Presidential monument, Og offhandedly mentioned the Congressional cafeteria being filled in and a new one built elsewhere and for whatever reason, I decided to look into that.
Couldn't find a peep.* The top search-engine pages were instead clogged with Dire News of a Horrid Tragedy: when the GOP got control of the House, they tossed out Nancy Pelosi's pet "Green Initiative" mandating compressed cornstarch instead of polystyrene foam -- and never you mind that the "green" utensils tended to break. You might wonder why they did so; after all, they didn't convert the Capitol power plant back to coal from natural gas and if they've unscrewed all the cheap-to-operate CFL bulbs in favor good old Edison type, the media hasn't reported it. --Well, you see, the foam and plastic dinnerware is significantly cheaper than the flimsier Green version. (And they're not gonna make Ms. Pelosi take Amtrack or Grayhound now that she's no longer Speaker; so they've got to save somewhere).
Outraged Greenies fumed online (you can find multiple versions of the same malinformed rant), "How dare they! Foamed plastic is a menace! It's not even recyclable!"
Wrong; polystyrene recycles like nothing you've ever seen: it's a thermoplastic, not a thermosetting one, so just heat it up, it melts and you can make new stuff. Electronic hobbyists and model makers dissolve old coffee cups or foam packing "peanuts" in a strong solvent -- typically acetone or tolulene -- and end up with a liquid plastic, suitable for painting onto things or even simple molding. (It's a wonderful RF insulator.) There hasn't been a lot of pressure at the Green end to recycle the stuff; they seem to prefer bewailing how it will never, ever break down in a landfill, not in a million years. --Then let's keep it out of landfills and if you don't like making new CD cases or park benches (et 10^6 cetera) out of it, why not exploit its stability and use it to make building materials?
But the outrage and guilt trips were never about actual solutions; it's about dictating people's choices and burning up tax dollars on a feel-good pyre of self-inflated sanctimony.
I wonder if Congressthings are allowed to bring their own coffee cups to their cafeteria? Not that they would, of course; that would be too much like actual physical labor. Perhaps Ms. Pelosi could get herself a jet-powered coffee cup carrier? (Crew of six, burns a gallon a minute).
* Update: Because it didn't happen! I misunderstood what Og wrote. Which only goes to show.
6 months ago