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October 5, 2008 - 8:33am

LeRoy dairyman talks with D&C about immigration and energy

posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, farm bureau, Dale Stein.

LeRoy resident and Genesee County Farm Bureau president Dale Stein gets to talk politics in the Democrat & Chronicle this morning.

Spoiler alert: He says he is voting for John McCain. He says that's his personal decision, not an endorsement from the Farm Bureau.

Among his concerns are the high cost of energy and immigration.

"Too much of this country believes we have enough labor, and we don't," said Stein, who owns Stein Farms in LeRoy, Genesee County.

The labor shortage hasn't affected Stein's own farm but he said it has caused 25 percent less cabbage to be grown in western New York because farmers knew they wouldn't have the workers for harvest.

Congress won't talk about it because they won't get re-elected," said Stein, president of the Genesee County Farm Bureau.

On energy, he favors more drilling and nuclear power.

Stein's energy costs have increased 40 percent in two years, and now his electricity bill is $7,000 a month. Electricity powers the milking system and the fans that keep the cows cool.

C. M. Barons
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I hope Stein and McCain are very happy together. Off-shore drilling will neither increase U.S. domestic supplies nor lower petroleum product prices. It costs too much to drill- the only recourse will be to sell the oil to higher-price markets like Japan. Nuclear generated electric is far more expensive than any other mode of generated electric power. Currently there are no federally approved design-plans because designers refuse to submit plans for approval. It would be at least a decade before new construction could begin. Every recent plant has been stalled or abandoned due to MASSIVE cost overruns. No one will fund new plants because they are white elephants- power companies hand the cost directly to consumers bills! Stein would be better off erecting a few wind-powered generators. ...I guess that wouldn't give him an excuse to endorse old what's-his-name.
John Roach
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So your plan is to do nothing. We all know conservation will only take us just so far. By definition, conservation means using less of “something”. What will that something be? Any oil found anywhere will again by definition increase supplies. When Bush dropped the federal ban on drilling for our own oil, prices dropped. Of course they dropped again later due to less use with high prices and the scare in the economy, but they did drop just on the fear the US would drill for it’s own oil. As for nuclear, do you mean the French and Japanese are smarter than Americans? Do you really believe that? Both countries see the light and are getting most of their electricity from nuclear plants. Why can’t we? Solar and wind will never be able to supply all the electric power we need, but nuclear can. But again, while other countries go forward, we are banned from supplying our own needs. Electric cars? Where will you get the additional electrical power? Not from wind alone. In fact around Genesee County wind generation is being made illegal. Get more electrical energy from clean coal? We could, but the liberals are against clean coal and have been for 20 years. Hydrogen will work for cars, when we get it going, but it will not run your computer or give us electric power for everyday living. We need more oil now from here. Keep the money in the US. If you want all the social programs promised by the candidates, then we can not be sending our money overseas.
Howard B. Owens
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Oil = Increase supply, decrease (or worse case, maintain) price. Nuclear = Cost overruns and delays in a large part caused by anti-nuclear advocates. Solar and wind = good part of energy mix, but not a solution in itself any time soon (though I read of some break through in solar recently that got more energy from a smaller space. Natural Gas = Huge, untapped domestic supplies. There's even a process to convert to combustion engine fuel (gas). Such gas is more efficient to make than ethanol. Ethanol = Expensive, not great for environment, inefficient to produce, takes farm land out of food production and drives up cost of food. Not a great option. Improved technology = Auto makers, for example, making great strides -- especially GM -- on more efficient hybrid vehicles. Government Incentives = Outside of ethanol subsides, this is one of the few instances where it makes sense for government to meddle in the free market. In most innovation, the market drives the need for change and only works because innovation can be started (often) at relatively low cost, and lower cost for consumers; but in this case, alternatives are expensive and market demand isn't really present to drive innovation. A Manhattan Project for alternative energies makes sense. Bottom line: It's going to take a mix of alternatives to wean us off not just foreign oil (which is a bit of a misnomer when used in context of price/supply and demand, because commodity markets are global) and oil completely. It can be done, but it will take time, investment, national will and require taking no possible source of energy off the table.
Mark Potwora
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Howard you got it right..it takes a bit of everything to make this plan of being energy independant.Oil is still part of it ,like John stated above..And this oil drilled off shore is not to be sold overseas,that was part of the ok to start drilling again..until we take every gas engine car off the road,dont forget those small gas engines,and all those semi trucks,and those that heat their homes with oil,we need it..we need more..but as Howard stated it is time to also start the change to a new era in energy technology .I dont know how you get around CM Barons,but im sure you use oil in one way or another ,how do you mow you lawn,do you drive a car or take a bus,how does the food get to the store you shop at..probably has to do with oil somewhere in all that...maybe you got a windmill in your yard.....drill baby drill
Howard B. Owens
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Mark, no new technology has ever totally replaced an old technology. There are people who still use manual typewriters and you can ride a buggy in Central Park. We'll always have some sort of gas/oil burning engines. So, yes, you are right :) And I love reading that I'm right about something. It happens so rarely!
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Does CM BARON realize that green energy, that he thinks we should be on is costly..he states that nuclear is costly..whats the point..what ever we do it will cost .Oil is the cheapest energy we use..so if its about money then he should be on the side of oil...Nuclear is all part of the solution. And if they really want it now , as seen in the 800 billion bail program they can ok any thing they want as fast as they want..you sure dont need public input any more.so quit with the it will take 10 years for something to happen line..thats old..why is it allright to have nuclear bombs laying all over the place but not electrical producing plants..we have powered many ships and subs in the navy with this kind of power,with no major trouble.
John Roach
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Natural gas is one way to help solve the problem, but again, the enviro. nuts will not allow us to drill for it. They would rather we become a 3rd world country than drill for gas that could last for years.
C. M. Barons
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The primary obstacle to American energy independence is the blind spot that the oil/energy lobbey has created. Americans cannot see beyond oil. I heat my home with geothermal energy. I don't burn oil or gas. The heat in the ground is free. There are electric cars. The reason we don't drive them- the car companies won't manufacture them. Why? Because the oil companies don't make money on electric cars. It's pitiful. We were the leaders in research and development. Now we are the victims of our own gullability. The French lead in nuclear plant building because they have a design and the technicians to build them. That does not mean that nuclear generation plants are economical or safe. It merely indicates that the French are building them. You really need to analyze the driving force behind our energy options. It is quite simply greed. If the energy source isn't profitable, then those who profit from selling energy are not going to market it. I cannot understand why a city like Rochester that has a historical relationship to water power is not using the pre-existing dam and waterway to generate electric for its streetlighting etc. I suppose it doesn't want to compete with R G & E. Why don't cities like Batavia invest in geothermal systems that would distribute hot water throughout the city for home heating? Why don't villages erect their own windmill farms and distribute electricity to the residents at cost? You folks don't ask the right questions.
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...and Mark- my name is Barons, not baron.
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I totally agree, C.M. I have been following the inevitability of peak oil for several years. There is a candidate running for state office in the 51st district by the name of Don Barber. He actually is running on these kinds of innovative energy and environmental solutions. http://barberforsenate.com/main/ I read the anti wind mill letters to the editor and I have wondered if municipal ownership or even some kind of home rule solution may be a more appealing approach to renewable and sustainable energy, locally. Wind mills might be looked upon in a more favorable light, by more people, if the benefits were staying in each community instead of the energy being shipped off to who knows where with profits going out of the area. People that may otherwise have a disdain for wind mills (for whatever reason) might accept them more if they saw their energy costs lowered.
Mark Potwora
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Can i call you CM...
C. M. Barons
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Be my guest- that's what my friends call me!
Howard B. Owens
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CM, the idea that American auto makers are in the pockets of big oil is outmoded. First, until recently, there hasn't been sufficient consumer demand to warrant the investment. Second, it's being done. Now. General Motors is betting its entire future, its very existence on the Volt.
The Volt will rely on its electric motor, powered by its new battery, and will go up to 40 miles without using a drop of gas. For the nearly 80% of Americans who drive less than 40 miles a day, that would mean they could effectively eliminate gasoline from their lives. After 40 miles, the Volt's gas engine switches on, but unlike the Prius', it doesn't make the car move an inch. Rather, it generates electricity and feeds it to the battery, much the way an emergency generator in a hospital keeps the lights on during a blackout. This allows you to go an additional several hundred miles before you need either a fill-up or a charge-up. "With [past electrics] people had to change the way they lived," says Andrew Farah, the Volt's chief engineer. "I want a vehicle that doesn't ask them to change at all."
GM expects the volt to be in production by 2010. That's a hugely accelerated time line for bringing any new car into production. This is like GM taking all of its cash, walking into a Las Vegas casino and placing it on red. If the bet works, it's a game changer not just for GM, but for American auto makers and American consumers and our place in the world. Fortunately, more than 33,000 people have already said they want to buy the car. More useful information here.
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You seem to want everything but more oil and gas. Why? Why not your ideas and more drilling/ What is it with you guys that you can come up with all the ideas that will take longer than the "10" years you always say it will take to get more oil and gas (you have been saying 10 years since Bill Clinton). All your ideas are good, but not enough and you know it. Why not more oil and gas along with your ideas. No ducking the question.
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#1- it isn't that I am unnecessarily impatient. Jimmy Carter forecast this situation with great urgency 30 years ago. Unfortunately, the nation went into denial and elected Ronald Reagan. He assured us in his grandfatherly voice that all was well. ...And it wasn't. We sat back while our great rail system was dismantled for scrap. We let businesses move manufacturing overseas. We kept re-electing politicans of both ilk who did nothing. Now we face the greatest challenge of our generation and everyone is wandering around with hands in their pockets: "What do we do?" We've been lied to so much, we forgot it was coming. I won't apologize because I was paying attention 30 years ago. ...And for those that have some sentimental attachment to gas-fueled vehicles- does that mean no more NASCAR? Sheesh! Get serious. We've more important things to worry about. #2- what's to like about oil and gas? Their use creates toxic by-products. Our dependence on oil equates to submission to foreign suppliers because our reserves amount to less than a year's usage. The handwriting is on the wall and we bump around wringing our hands- anxious to drain the last drop. #3- the whole economy is tied to energy and we've moved our plants to god-knows-where, we have to drive to the mall because our local stores went out of business eons ago, and we work a half-hour away because the local factory went south... #4- who's watch did all this happen on? Who do we tar and feather? Oops! Tar. That's an oil product. If you had the choice between free geothermal heat and paying $600-a-month for oil heat, which would you choose? Some act like opting out on oil is sacreligious. I guess I never got off on the John Wayne wildcat oil drilling movies... Being coated in oil hugging Martha Scott... Wooping it up with Gabby Hayes... When I think of oil coating, I think of the Exxon Valdez.
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In regards to why now... Why waste the money drilling? Put our resources into developing renewables. We can still buy oil on the world market.
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#!) Actually, Richard Nixon was the one who first warned us about the energy crises we would face. Carter followed on, but like all the other since, he did nothing. Congress killed the railroads by buying union votes with super highway construction and giving tax breaks to auto related industries. Pure fact, there were more United Auto Workers than there were railroad workers, so there were more votes to buy. Our manufacturing jobs went overseas in the 80’s and 90’s due to our tax policies. We would not let our businesses write off expenses as fast as Japan and Asia would. We also taxed them at a higher rate than Japan and other Asian countries. So they left. We could have stopped it, but we wanted to gorge them for every penny we could. We won and they left. #2) We have enough oil, gas and coal, in our own country, to keep us going until hydrogen, solar and nuclear can take over. However, a bunch of liberals have stopped us from using our own resources so that we have to send our money overseas. Other countries get our money and the jobs that money would create, not us (thanks a lot). #3) Why did factories go south? For the same reason they went overseas. Our politicians looked at them as the cow that never stopped giving, and then cried when the cow left. We loved taxing them; everyone thought it was free money. #4) Who’s watch, look in the mirror. We kept voting for anyone who said he’d make the other guy pay. We voted for people who always say solutions will take too long, so just use less and less and send your money overseas so they can have the jobs. We vote for people who drive our biggest companies out of the US, then turn around say why did they move?
C. M. Barons
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I do not believe that BIG companies are as important as you seem to think. The relationships that BIG companies have to Wall Street, politicians and international intrigue is dangerous. The important businesses are the local ones- our neighbors; the folks we can know and trust. There are some things I dearly miss from the "good old days:" the Hall Bakery that delivered bread and rolls, the Elm Dairy that delivered milk and the farmer from Apple Tree Avenue who delivered eggs. I miss the grocery stores, appliance store, hardware store and meat market that used to be on Lake Avenue. The daily commuter stops at the New York Central rail station. That was Bergen in 1959. Big business did not improve on that. Big business destroyed that.
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John and Howard are so correct on this issue..Oil is still part of this solution ..All this talk about electric cars is crazy. One charge and you go 40 miles.then what stop plug in and wait x amount of hours till that cars can be use again.Remember when you buy a gallon of gas you also pay tax on that for road and bridges,where will that revenue come from when you are using electric power for your car.Also CM this rail system that you talk about being took apart..how would that be powered.Some things get shipped by rail but most of it is by truck or air because most manufacturer's use just in time methods of delievery,Trains dont' cut it.they dont want two weeks of inventory hanging in trains...fed ex ,ups ship mostly by trucks or planes..overnight delievery is were we are at..I believe some people not you but some liberial thinkers would have us go back to the pony express..You go on vacation for a week you fly across country ,not ride a train for days when you can get there in hours..Train are good in highly dense populated areas.Why does amtrack lose so much money,why do all public transportation have to be subsided by us tax payers..Hes a thought,back during Carter era,car company were imposed will higher gas mileage standards,they were only getting 10-12 mpg..Today they on average get 20-22 mpg but we import more.Does having less domestic produced oil have anything to do with it..Can the average person afford this new technology.For now the gas engine will rule..
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Mark, two points about GM's electric car ... Something like 80 percent of people use their vehicle less than 40 miles a day. (I don't know the exact number, but it's huge). For me, a 40 mile charge would be sufficient 6 out of 7 day of the week. Just recharge at night. Also, the Volt has a gas-powered engine, but instead of being used to power the drive train, it recharges the battery. In other words, you could go hundreds of miles without plugging into a wall socket. CM: As for wasting money on drilling. A) oil companies would pay, and while they might use some of that money for alternative energy R&D, and they all have some sort of R&D going on that, it's not like it's taxpayer money to build new facilities; B) Drilling would generate profits, so it's hardly a waste. Drilling more takes away NOTHING from pursuit of any alternative.
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Was it big business that destroyed your fond memories or was it our helpful government? Many small businesses say time after time the increase in minimum wage will drive them out of business. They plead to be exempted from the increases. They can only charge us so much for bread, butter and eggs. You raise their cost, you drive them out. You can make good arguments for the minimum wage, that’s not the issue, but there is a downside to every well intentioned law like this. Small farms are being driven out not only by big business, but by regulation. If you have too many cows or pigs, you get a million rules and regulations. Make an error, they sue you you. The rules and such might be needed, but they cost lots of money, driving out the little guy or stopping him from getting big enough to survive. Again and again, good intentions destroy business. From Washington to City Hall, everyone wants something for free or for the other guy to pay for it. Do you really think that if we were business friendly again, with fair tax rates (like the flat tax or value added tax) business would leave the US in droves? When we gave business a reason to stay here, even when other countries paid their workers almost nothing, our companies stayed here. It wasn’t until business became “evil” and a tax target that they left our shores.
John Roach
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Mark, I think he forgot what trains run on.
Mark Potwora
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Im not saying the electric cars cant be part of all this drive get off overseas oil..like you said the car will still have a gas engine as part of it..whether its for charging or not We have hybrid cars now..it is all about miles per gallon using less..Me personally think that natural gas hold the best prospect for running transportation..But at least you have an open mind and still see that oil will still be part of all this..alot think that we should totally do away with all carbon based fuels,that crazy...it should be a goal but not until it can be replaced with something that is affordable to all..what is the cost to be off the grid as the greenies put it..put up a windmill and solar for your house and plus maintain it all,the cost is too great
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Actually, I haven't forgotten what trains run on. They run on electric motors- nevermind the diesel generator- it produces electric power for the electric motor. When the trains are in a city, they shut down the diesel and take power from the third rail or overhead lines. One of the great technologies abandoned along with passenger rail service was the idea of using super-conductor magnets to power trains at great speeds between cities. It was all electric and highly energy efficient.
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Also- before you sell the electric car short- be sure and view the documentary "Who Killed the Electric Car?" http://www.reformation.org/who-killed-electric-car.html Curious? Is there any connection between John Roach and Jack Roach? Seems to me there was an automobile dealership under that name...
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---on the same note- check out this beauty http://www.teslamotors.com
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There is no connection to the other “Jack” Roach. I met him once around 1983 and I have met his son once or twice. Now, let’s get back to your train. You blow off the need for diesel fuel to run the train generator. What will you use? The use of hydrogen (My favorite) and other fuels for cars will work. We all know it, but until then and during the cross over, you need oil. Even if hydro cars were for sale now, not everyone will be able to afford one. Right now many people can not afford a new car. The new cars with new technology will cost a lot when they first come out, so what do the poor do? Do you want them to walk? Mass transit will take up to 30 years to bring back and you know it. What do the poor do until then? Why are you really against using our own oil and natural gas right now while the change over takes place. Keep our money here, in the US, to help create jobs here and not overseas. Don’t you think keeping our money in this country is a good idea? It’s clear you don’t like coal, another fuel we have lots of. We don’t need oil from overseas if we use our own oil/gas/coal. I would bet many of the items in you house are plastic – oil based, many of the clothes we wear are synthetic, again oil based. What will you do to replace these things? And don’t say recycle. We all know we have to recycle and we also know that will not replace the growing need for these items. Recycling is just another part of the solution, not the answer (I like the idea of using tires for blacktop, but it costs too much money to do right now with all the “regulation”).
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Don't forget the Chevy Equinox Fuel Cell. Okay, I'm prejudice (just a tad) since my son works on this project and he brought the car to Batavia a month ago. But, this car makes more sense than an electric car that needs to be recharged. The 220 heavy duty line needed to recharge an electric car is not normally found in today's homes. The expense to install it, then to pay for the electricity (not counting the fossil fuel needed to provide the power)negates the positive reasons for owning an electric car. The Volt eliminates this expense, but it is only one solution. "Project Driveway" is the first large-scale market test of fuel cell vehicles with real drivers in the real world. Why? Because hydrogen fuel cells use zero gasoline and produce zero emissions other than water vapor. They're a sustainable technology for a better environment. And they ultimately reduce our dependence on petroleum. Equinox Fuel Cell (not for sale) is an electric vehicle powered by the GM fourth-generation fuel cell system, our most advanced fuel cell propulsion system to date. The electric motor traction system will provide the vehicle with instantaneous torque, smooth acceleration, and quiet performance, with the ability to reach a top speed of 100 mph. Green Car Journal has recognized the Chevy Equinox Fuel Cell with its 2008 Green Car Vision Award,®(1) the first time the magazine has recognized a limited production vehicle for its forward-thinking technologies. The Equinox Fuel Cell won the award over several nominees, including the Honda FCX Clarity and Toyota Prius Plug-In. http://www.gm.com/vehicles/results.jsp?fuel=30MPG&sort=fuel
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When you mention plastic- you HAVE to suggest recycling. The whole disposable culture born of the 1960s is based on cheap plastic items with built-in expendability. We need to broaden opportunities to recycle plastic. We need to get out of this disposable attitude- build products that last decades not 6 months. The techno-toys: computers, game boxes, televisions amd small appliances; design them to last. If they need to be upgraded every so often, provide a method for upgrading that doesn't involve trashing the entire piece of equipment. Start utilizing the plant fibres like hemp that are renewable, inexpensive and durable. ...And YES- the money we don't throw down oil bore holes will be available to invest in research and business incentives for alternative energy. As for passing the cost of drilling along to consumers- sheesh! The cost of transportation is high enough! Do you want to witness the impact of added expense- say $3.00 per gallon?
Mark Potwora
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CM do you think green energy is cheap...right now its very costly..Its all about cost...right now if you want, on your electric bill you can switch to a green supplier,but many dont because it cost so much more per kilowatt..what about all these chemicals that will be in the rechargeable batteries .That is the storage method for most of these windmills,solar and electric cars.Your so called alternative energy.They don't last forever and will need to be replaced.
Howard B. Owens
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When there's more supply of oil, meaning prices remain stable or go down, how is that passing the cost along to consumers? What gets passed along to consumers is when oil supplies are artificially constricted -- either by OPEC or US policy not to drill -- and gas prices go up. That's sticking it to the consumer. More drilling is the most consumer friendly thing you could do. That will make gas cheaper (or at least stem/slow down increases), not more expensive. Basic supply and demand commodity. Oil is a worldwide commodity. It doesn't matter where it's drilled or where its sold, the price is set on a global basis. We could drill every ounce of oil in US territory and ship it all to China, and US prices would be no different than if it were all physically retained in the US. If we kept all our oil, than China would just theirs from Iran or Saudi Arabia, at the same price they would have got it from us. And US companies would sell it to us for the same price they would have sold it to China. Again, it's a global commodity. All commodity markets are global, be they soybeans, corn, gold, wheat, etc. The cost of drilling is already factored into the price. US companies wouldn't want to drill if oil wasn't already selling at a price that made such drilling potentially profitable. High prices make harder-to-get oil more lucrative and attractive to go after. As for recycling, here's an interesting article from the New York Times (you know, the liberal New York Times) on recycling:
Does a 5-cent deposit on a soft-drink can help the environment? Mandatory deposits encourage recycling and reduce litter, but these programs typically spend $500 for every ton of cans and bottles collected, which makes curbside recycling look like a bargain. States without mandatory deposits -- like Texas and Washington -- have proven that the most efficient way to reduce litter is to hire clean-up crews, which pick up a lot more than just bottles and cans. Recycling takes money that could be used for other clean-up efforts: when New York's Sanitation Department started its recycling program, it cut back on street cleaning. Are reusable cups and plates better than disposables? A ceramic mug may seem a more virtuous choice than a cup made of polystyrene, the foam banned by ecologically conscious local governments. But it takes much more energy to manufacture the mug, and then each washing consumes more energy (not to mention water). According to calculations by Martin Hocking, a chemist at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, you would have to use the mug 1,000 times before its energy-consumption-per-use is equal to the cup. (If the mug breaks after your 900th coffee, you would have been better off using 900 polystyrene cups.) A more immediate environmental impact has been demonstrated by studies in restaurants: the average number of bacterial organisms on reusable cups, plates and flatware is 200 times greater than on disposable ones.

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