2024年4月11日 星期四

California Tried to Ban Plastic Grocery Bags. It Didn’t Work. 加州試圖禁止用塑膠袋購物 失敗收場

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2024/04/12 第480期 訂閱/退訂看歷史報份
紐時周報精選 California Tried to Ban Plastic Grocery Bags. It Didn't Work. 加州試圖禁止用塑膠袋購物 失敗收場
At Harvard, Some Wonder What It Will Take to Stop the Spiral 哈佛品牌遭到侵蝕 全美各大學戒慎恐懼
California Tried to Ban Plastic Grocery Bags. It Didn't Work. 加州試圖禁止用塑膠袋購物 失敗收場
文/Hiroko Tabuchi

加州試圖禁止用塑膠袋購物 失敗收場

Almost a decade ago, California became the first state in the United States to ban single-use plastic bags in an effort to tackle an intractable plastic waste problem.


Then came the reusable, heavy-duty plastic bags, offered to shoppers for 10 cents. Designed to withstand dozens of uses, and technically recyclable, many retailers treated them as exempt from the ban.


But because they didn't look much different from the flimsy bags they replaced, lots of people didn't actually reuse them. And though they came emblazoned with a recycling symbol, it turned out that few, if any, actually were recycled.


The unhappy result: Last year, Californians threw away more plastic bags, by weight, than when the law first passed, according to figures from CalRecycle, California's recycling agency.


Now, lawmakers are trying to fix that. A new bill seeks to ban all plastic bags offered at the checkout line, including the heavy duty kind. (Shoppers would still be able to pay for a paper bag.)


"It's time for us to get rid of plastic bags all together," said state Sen. Ben Allen, a Democrat and a sponsor of the bill.


By some accounts, California's initial plastic bag ban was a well-meaning but failed experiment, an environmental rule that backfired and inadvertently made the matter worse. "We didn't worry about the carve-out for these thicker bags in the early days," said Mark Murray, director of Californians Against Waste, an advocacy group. "It just didn't seem like they were going to be the thing that they ultimately became."


Some advocates say the initial ban would have been effective if properly enforced. The ban, adopted in 2014, allowed for plastic bags to be sold to shoppers only if they were widely recycled in California.


Daniel Conway of the California Grocers Association said retailers had "followed the letter of the law." He said he hoped new legislation would clear up any confusion that remained over the thicker bags.


"We see this as finishing what we started," he said. "People are really starting to accept that they bring reusable bags with them when they go to the grocery store."


At Harvard, Some Wonder What It Will Take to Stop the Spiral 哈佛品牌遭到侵蝕 全美各大學戒慎恐懼
文/Anemona Hartocollis

哈佛品牌遭到侵蝕 全美各大學戒慎恐懼

When 70 university presidents gathered for a summit at the end of January, the topic on everyone's mind was the crisis at Harvard University.


The hosts of the summit treated the university, battered by accusations of coddling antisemitism, as a business-school case study on leadership in higher education, complete with a slide presentation on its plummeting reputation.


Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a professor at Yale University's School of Management, organized the summit. "Despite near 400 years of history, the value of brand equity is nowhere near as permanent as Harvard trustees think it is," he said in an interview.


Many presidents attending the summit saw the erosion of Harvard's brand as a problem not only for the school, but also by extension for the entire enterprise of higher education. If Harvard could not protect itself, then what about every other institution? Could Harvard's leadership find an effective response?


There was a hint of a more assertive approach by Harvard on Monday, when the university announced that it was investigating "deeply offensive antisemitic tropes" posted on social media by pro-Palestinian student and faculty groups.


Harvard took the action at a time when the House Committee on Education and the Workforce has begun to scrutinize its record on antisemitism. On Friday, the committee issued subpoenas to Harvard's interim president, the head of the school's governing board and its investment manager, in a wide-ranging hunt for documents relating to the university's handling of campus antisemitism claims. The threat of the subpoenas led PEN America, a writers' group that defends academic freedom, to warn against a fishing expedition.


There is also a lawsuit against Harvard, calling the university "a bastion of rampant anti-Jewish hatred and harassment," as well as federal investigations into charges that the university ignored both antisemitism and Islamophobia on campus.


There is evidence of reputational damage: a 17% drop in the number of students applying to Harvard for early admission decisions this year. Other Ivy League schools saw increases.


The attacks "have obviously unsettled Harvard, in terms of its highest leadership," said Randall Kennedy, a Harvard law professor. "They have undermined morale. It has been a very effective attack."


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