House Republicans are congratulating themselves for defeating biodegradable cups in congressional cafeterias, surely the greatest challenge facing our country. But for once, Democrats are fighting back, if by “fighting back” you mean “saying words.”
Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called out the trash factor in a tweet on Monday:
@NancyPelosi #SoBeIt GOP brings back Styrofoam & ends composting–House will send 535 more tons to landfills #TalkAboutGovtWaste
Christ, 535 tons, really? Well, in April 2010, Pelosi’s Green the Capitol initiative credited House cafeterias with generating 650 tons of compostable material since the project started in 2007. Her claim that eliminating Congress’ composting program would suddenly create 80 percent as much waste in one year invites skepticism. But: The report also says there are 5,000 House staffers on Capitol Hill. They’d each have to throw out less than a pound of trash per working day to make that “535 tons” figure a reality. When you look at photos of the new regime’s trash accomplishments, that doesn’t seem remotely far-fetched.
Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) had some fighting words about health:
“We know that these styrofoam cups, which recently replaced the compostable cups in our cafeterias, are connected with human carcinogens — just ask the EPA and the International Agency for Research on Cancer,” Honda said in a statement. “Or ask McDonalds, who stopped using them years ago. These cancer-causing cups leach toxic chemicals, which threaten our health, our reproductive systems, and our environment as the nation’s 5th largest creator of hazardous waste. To claim these cups are part of a cost-cutting measure is completely disingenuous.”
Naturally, Brooklyn-born Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) brings the snark:
At least the 700,000 Americans whose jobs the Republican budget eliminates can sleep better at night knowing that the Republicans have made the world safe for Styrofoam.
Is it going to do any good? Maybe more than usual? The Washington Post reports that the Committee on House Administration has ordered a “feasibility study” on “reusable dishware” as an alternative. Millions of American families just looked up from scrubbing the dishes and shouted out “it’s feasible, you out-of-touch caviar-bags! Now what about those jobs?”