weather icon Clear

Better to recycle than to ban

Criminalizing the possession of plastic straws is the latest feel-good edict wrought by clueless politicians.

If we are going to outlaw plastic straws, we should form an Environmental Protection Agency SWAT team to pursue and arrest whoever ended the manufacture of return-deposit glass bottles. The perpetrators should be sentenced to cleaning up the plastic debris suffocating Mother Earth.

Our environment was much cleaner with Coca-Cola and other soft drinks produced in glass bottles.

I want all businesses to make a profit. A strong economy makes a nation stronger. Nevertheless, increasing a company’s bottom line with cheaper and lighter nonreturnable plastic has created a worldwide blight. Social media videos of floating and sunken islands of plastic waste are heartbreaking and nauseating. Empty plastic bottles have become a scourge.

Consumers purchase over 1 million plastic bottles every minute. Most of the purchases are driven by bottled water usage in China and the Asia-Pacific region.

Fewer than half of plastic bottles are collected for recycling, and only 7 percent of those are made into new bottles. A recyclable plastic bottle is rarely recycled, and most end up in landfills or the oceans.

In Boulder City, thankfully, plastic bottles are not relegated to the landfill. They are picked up by an out-of-town recycling company.

My taste buds still crave the clear, clean taste of a Coke from an 8-ounce glass bottle. In 1962, a red vending machine near the local newspaper office in Forest City, North Carolina, dispensed a cold one for a nickel — a deal even back then. Yes, I was in the newspaper business long ago, delivering the Forest City Courier and the Charlotte Observer on foot and via bicycle. I was still learning multiplication tables, but I could sell newspapers.

As a military brat aboard Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, I supplemented my grass cutting services and Navy Times and TV Guide sales by collecting returnable glass bottles. Often times, this entailed “dumpster diving.” Returning one bottle yielded a few pennies — nickels in today’s currency. We were recycling glass decades before recycling was cool.

The best dumpsters were near the Marine barracks, especially before an inspection or deployment. This was at the onset of the Vietnam War. I was still young and ignorant of this war until my former Little League coach, Marine Pfc. William George Blanchard, was killed in action. I later learned he was killed on my 13th birthday.

Here we are, a half-century later, and glass-bottled soft drinks are as rare as the readers of my column.

You seldom see wine or beer in plastic bottles. I am sure there is a valid reason, so I did some research.

I asked my friend John Rogan, a New York native who retired to Las Vegas almost 20 years ago. John is a retired state parole officer who rose through the ranks to the executive level during his 30-plus years of service.

Furthermore, he is pure Irish and therefore an adult-beverage connoisseur extraordinaire.

John told me the glass bottle enhances the taste of beer and wine. He jokingly added that after three drinks, taste doesn’t matter (at least to him it doesn’t).

To me, taste always matters, and I am sure a Diet Coke in a glass bottle would taste better, especially since the empty bottle won’t end up in a landfill or in the Pacific Ocean.

The majority of folks want to leave the world a better place. We should gradually bring back the return-deposit glass bottle for water and soft drinks. Entrepreneurs, young and old, housed and unhoused, would do their part to collect wayward glass bottles and return them for 25 cents each.

Banning plastic straws or plastic bottles will not clean up the oceans, regardless of which countries are at fault. However, a shift toward glass bottles with monetary incentives is a good start.

Dan Jennings is a 38-year law enforcement veteran. He can be reached at bcpd267@cox.net.

Alumni events, marriage and a real Nazi

Ron’s column from a few weeks ago inspired me to tell a story about a weird event from my past. Mine is not as exciting as his in that there is no wrestler named Silo Sam. But there is at least one Nazi. And, no, not the current “I disagree with your politics so you are a Nazi” version. An actual card-carrying member of the party.

Las Vegas Veterans’ Memorial to Boulder City?

Veterans’ memorials can be found all over the Silver State. They are well deserved. They honor individuals who served the nation, and also commemorate battles and events regarding the many military anniversaries in Nevada.

City manager bids fond farewell

I may be leaving Boulder City, but it was not an easy decision. From the first time I came in and met the staff and community leaders, I saw a city filled with people who truly care about where they live and work. I am grateful for the opportunities I have had to work with some incredible people.

Is the grass always greener?

Many people in the past played a golf game to cement a business deal, didn’t they? They also played golf to socialize. Has Boulder City recognized lessening play on golf courses? Or, from another perspective, what happens when million-dollar homes are placed around our open space golf course with views of the McCullough Mountains? Do fewer people play golf on the Boulder Creek golf course?

Parting is such sweet sorrow

Shakespeare was the man when it came to comedy and tragedy. His ability to make people feel the intense emotions of the characters is still imitated today. The past few months have been filled with a bit of excited anticipation at City Hall as several longtime and high-level employees have found new roles in other acts. I’m here to borrow some Shakespearean lines, the first being from Ophelia, “We know what we are, but know not what we may be.” (Hamlet)

Me, my brother and Silo Sam

Recently, I’ve been enjoying watching shows on A&E related to professional wrestling back in the earlier days, with profiles on wrestlers I grew up watching as well as classic rivalries.

Let’s talk about the ‘D Word’

OK, as a starting point, I must note that it’s weird to think that I might be writing something that would put me in agreement with the Language Police.

Make a new plan, Stan

A plan is a method for achieving a desirable objective. It’s a program of action, usually memorialized in writing. Plans start with goals and ideas. But ideas alone (even good ones) don’t constitute a plan.

Time to recognize unsung heroes

We have so many functions within the Boulder City Police Department, from school resource officers to road patrol to the detective bureau. The work that they do keeps Boulder City among the “Safest Cities in Nevada” (newhomesource.com, alarm.com) year after year. One unit is the backbone of our public safety response: Public Safety Dispatchers.

Honoring National Public Health Week

In my eight decades of this amazing life, I have worn a great many hats: son, brother, father, major (USAF), grandfather, council member, state representative, state senator.