In April the city of Houston started forcing residents to use biodegradable bags for lawn debris. We were told that this was for our own good, as it would help the city avoid fee increases and thus save citizens money. When citizens complained about the bags, the city responded that the bags were fine. The city is wrong on both counts.
The bags are more expensive and hold less. But I have no choice in the matter. Only one size is available. I must use the city-approved bags or build a compost pile so large that I will surely receive a visit from the health department.
The bags have a conical bottom, which makes no practical sense and significantly reduces the amount the bags can hold. The tops consist of some stupid butterfly design that match the bottoms in their impracticality. But again, I have no choice in the matter. I must use these stupid bags if I want the city to haul away my yard debris.
I can normally fill 4 or 5 bags when I clean my roof. The process takes about an hour. I attempted to do this over the weekend with the city's new eco-bags, and after 30 minutes of struggling to fill 2 bags and clearing about 10% of my roof, I gave up. I'm not certain what I'm going to do, but it is clear that it will take much longer than it has in the past. Of course, the fact that I must waste hours on this project is for my own good, not to mention the good of the planet.
Just to be clear, I'm as "environmentally friendly" as the next guy. I think that human beings should exploit the hell out of the environment, but I think that we should be friendly to one another as we do so. And that friendliness consists of respecting property rights and engaging in voluntary trade. I think that a society in which individual rights are recognized and protected is the only environment proper to human beings, and it is the only environment in which individuals can truly be benevolent and friendly.
In such a society landfills would be privately owned and trash collection would be provided entirely by private companies. I would be free to accept the terms of the trash collection company--including the use of "eco-bags"--or not. That of course, is not the kind of society that we live in.
Instead, my own judgment is rendered moot by the dictates of petty politicians who want to pander to the ecology crowd. My choices are simply wiped out by the stroke of a pen, while I am told that it is for my own good. The arrogance of those who make such claims is superseded only by willingness to use force to impose their values on me and all of Houston. And that, just like the biodegradable leaf bags, sucks.