Plastics: yesterday’s future, today’s convenience.
Reading a report from Jefferson City, Missouri, I learned that I already knew something that the politicians in Missouri didn’t: The difference between polystyrene and polypropylene.
Polystyrene, when expanded, makes that wonderful white stuff we usually call “Styrofoam.” Polypropylene makes dishwasher-safe stuff like Tupperware.
Anyway, the solons of the great state of Missouri, concerned about floating debris from abandoned foam coolers on the state’s waterways, banned the wrong plastic. Instead of polystyrene, they banned polypropylene.
So now, slobs who leave their beer coolers out on the river still run free (along with responsible styrofoam users), while tidy folk who take Tupperware to the river could be nabbed and put in jail for a year.
It appears an innocent mistake. Lawmakers, trying to avoid brand names, wanted to get technical. They were just incompetent. Opponents of term limits might blame Missouri’s term-limited, less-than-exhaustively experienced reps. But everyone knows that this happens as much or more with the most calcified legislators.
Anyone could make the mistake, really. For the life of me, it’s simply a fluke that I remember the difference between the two poly-substances. Maybe it was because I once knew a girl named Polly.
In any case, the goofy law will not be enforced. It will almost certainly be amended in the next session.
And Missourians will remain free to pop and seal their Tupperware lids even at the river.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.