Bloomberg Keeps NYC, USA at #1!
By Seth Hillstrom
Let me be one of many New Yorkers to congratulate New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as well as the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, on their enormous success at the recent ‘Soda Ban’ hearing. With this landmark decision, you’ve all done your part to ensure that both New York City, and the good old US of A remain affixed atop our lofty perch of #1!
Number one at what, you ask? Why ask questions when you can just as easily join in on the “U-S-A!” or “We’re number #1” chants?
Well, for those not already aware – the United States produces more trash than any nation in the world. Just by a little, right? Unfortunately not – at over 1,600 pounds of trash generated per American per year, we’re firmly at the top of the heap. That’s no typo by the way – each American generates, on average, nearly 1 ton of trash every single year. In fact, competing sources estimate that 5% of the world’s population (the US) produces no less than 30% of the world’s trash (with some indicating the actual figure may be as high as 40%.)
Okay – what the heck does this have to do with the ‘Soda Ban’ ruling? It’s fairly simple actually.
The decision was to ban sugary drinks from being sold in containers larger than 16 ounces. No need to get up-in-arms about restricting your personal liberties; Mayor Bloomberg is not telling you that you can’t have as much soda as you like, he’s just saying that if you want more than 16 ounces, you’ll have to buy two, or three… maybe you see where this is going?
For demonstrative purposes, let’s throw some figures out there and take a look at the effect. We’ll be fair and say that Bloomberg is wildly successful, and that by 2015 New Yorkers are drinking 30% less volume of full-calorie ready to drink (those sold to you in pre-packaged containers) beverages. If New Yorkers drink 10,000,000 ounces of RTD soda per day in 2012, and it decreases to 7,000,000 ounces per day by 2015, wouldn’t that be great for everyone?
It could be - except for the fact that the remaining 7,000,000 ounces per day would have to be packaged in containers no larger than 16 ounces, generating a staggering increase in waste production (given that it’s currently packaged in a variety of containers that are much larger, and much more efficient in waste generated per ounce than this.)
With this ban only applying to sugar-sweetened beverages, we can assume a large percentage of the other 3,000,000 ounces per day shift over to alternative drinks in their current packaging – which leaves us where? With little to no waste efficiency from the decrease in sugary beverage consumption, and an absolutely enormous jump in the amount of trash generated per ounce of sugary beverages every single day, simply because Mayor Bloomberg doesn’t believe we possess the self-discipline to close the container and put it away for later (or the individual merit to make that decision for ourselves.)
While the figures here were given merely to demonstrate a point, the message couldn’t possibly be more real. We New Yorkers generate more waste than any city in the US, and the US generates more waste than any other county (by a lot.)
Maybe it’s time for some of us to do our part? Let’s “take out the trash” and kick this ban to the curb, New York style!