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Best Frelling Rant!! Good job V. Good Job Tom!!!

by sinchyld / June 21, 2007 12:19 AM PDT

I usually loathe the Veronica fanboys and their endless adoration of all things V, but... V's Epcot rant? Fracking great!

I mean she went on and on til she was dang near hostile. I could just see her in a field of mickey mouse shaped squash, just stabbing them with tridents. choking disney characters with usb cables even.

Then when she dropped the fricking A, I burst out laughing on the train.

Greattttt

Very molly-esque. if not worse even! Ahhh we needed some hostility on the show.

But Tom, quit picking with the lady when you already see she's on the warpath! Nyah on second thought, that made it even funnier because he just kept goading her along, just stoking the fiiiiire. heh heh

Towards the end I just thought to myself: That girl needs a hug. a role model. something.

great job.

p.s. if i skip past the iphone info and your anti-capitalism, socialist ridiculousness, the podcast get's reaaaaal short. Guess i'll just live with it.

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(NT) Loved the Cptn' Planet ref :D
by Zombie Bender / June 21, 2007 1:58 AM PDT
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Epcot's use of styrofoam
by Pat Berry / June 22, 2007 4:52 AM PDT

Actually, I wasn't much impressed with Veronica's rant. She seemed to think that there was something environmentally harmful about a piece of styrofoam sitting in a landfill. There isn't.

She wanted to know why Epcot didn't use "biodegradable clay pots" instead of styrofoam. That makes no sense. Clay pots aren't biodegradable. Archaeologists have dug up clay artifacts that are tens of thousands of years old.

Here's another point worth considering. Biodegradation is a chemical process that releases carbon dioxide and methane, both of which are greenhouse gases. If Veronica is concerned about global warming, she should be trying to PREVENT biodegradation wherever possible. In fact, she should be advocating carbon sequestration -- locking up carbon in stable chemical forms that will keep it out of the atmosphere. For example, by converting it into styrofoam and burying it in landfills.

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oh yeah
by earlysound / June 22, 2007 1:46 PM PDT
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Throwing away styrofoam
by Pat Berry / June 23, 2007 2:53 PM PDT
In reply to: oh yeah

That's correct. There's nothing wrong with throwing away styrofoam if it's disposed of properly (i.e., buried in a landfill).

The Wikipedia paragraph you link to cites three issues:

1. "Styrofoam takes a very long time to decompose in the environment." True, and as I pointed out before, this is a GOOD thing if you're trying to keep greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. But, more to the point, "in the environment" means that it's littering the ground or floating in a lake, river, or ocean. The whole point of a landfill is to take things like styrofoam OUT of the environment and bury them safely.

2. Styrofoam "has been documented to cause starvation in birds and other marine wildlife." Yes, if they eat it. Which means we're still talking about styrofoam in the environment, not in landfills. If it's properly disposed of in a landfill, birds and marine wildlife will not encounter it and cannot be harmed by it.

3. "In the categories of energy consumption, greenhouse gas effect, and total environmental effect, [styrofoam?s] environmental impacts were second highest, behind aluminum." This has nothing to do with landfills -- it's talking about the production of styrofoam, not the disposal of it.

So I stand by my statement that styrofoam buried in a landfill is not harmful.

Now, we can talk about the environmental impact of producing styrofoam if you like. but it's important that you examine the environmental impact of whatever you are proposing to replace it with. In the case of the Epcot gardens, you suggested that the styrofoam be replaced with clay pots. In environmental terms, are those better or worse than styrofoam? The firing of pottery involves heating it to temperatures of 1000 degrees or more in a kiln. If the kiln isn't electric, that means burning fuel of some sort and releasing the waste gases and ash into the environment. If it is electric, then we have to examine the generating plant that produced the electricity.

I don't have any idea how much pollution is produced by making clay pots. It may pollute less than manufacturing styrofoam; it may pollute more. Without specific numbers to compare, we can't make a rational choice.

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Just dumping it in a landfill is good?
by mattlp / June 24, 2007 12:41 AM PDT

If placing styrofoam in a landfill is ok, why have 20 communities banned styrofoam (per the Wikipedia article?)

The fact that styrofoam can't break down is a serious problem. It's part of the disposable society. Just toss it out after you use it. I don't know the sheer volume of styrofoam that is produced and disposed of each year. It must be massive. Styrofoam cups are only used once. Then where do they go? The landfill. The problem is that eventually we are going to run out of landfill space. In a recent podcast didn't Tom say that a bay area landfill used to be used for drag racing? The fact is that most large metro areas, and many smaller ones, are having problems on where to put all this garbage. And, yes, this is an environmental problem.

I think our basic disagreement is that you seem to think there is nothing wrong with landfills. I do.

Back to the original point. Styrofoam breaks very easily. It can only be used once for most uses besides packing material. Clay pots can be used many times. How many times more than Styrofoam? I don't have any idea. But if Epcot's approach ever went mass market, clay pots over styrofoam would mean a lower impact on landfills.

The funny thing is that several times I've been on the tour Veronica was on. I never realized the issue w/ styrofoam. Good for you, Veronica!

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Styrofoam and landfills
by Pat Berry / June 24, 2007 5:14 AM PDT

"If placing styrofoam in a landfill is ok, why have 20 communities banned styrofoam (per the Wikipedia article?)"

For the same reason that politicians do anything: they believe it will get them reelected. That doesn't mean they have any valid scientific basis for their actions.

"The problem is that eventually we are going to run out of landfill space."

No, that's not a problem. All of the solid waste that the U.S. produces in the next thousand years will require landfill space amounting to .1% of the country's area. There are plenty of environmental issues that we need to worry about, but landfills are not one of them. (Coal-fired power plants worry me a lot more. But that's another discussion.)

"The fact is that most large metro areas, and many smaller ones, are having problems on where to put all this garbage. And, yes, this is an environmental problem."

No, it's a political problem. People automatically oppose the construction of a new landfill anywhere near them. I should know; there's been a landfill project in the planning stages for a decade in my home town, and the delays have been entirely political in nature.

"Back to the original point. Styrofoam breaks very easily. It can only be used once for most uses besides packing material."

I agree with you. There are many uses that styrofoam are not well suited for. In fact, the Epcot garden that Veronica described is one of them. If you're building a support structure for growing plants, why on Earth would you use something as fragile and non-durable as styrofoam? If you ask me, they should have built it out of wood.

I even agree with your point about packing material. I've noticed that Amazon.com uses air-filled plastic pouches instead of styrofoam loosefill now, and that seems like a better solution to me.

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