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Beverage Container Showdown: Plastic vs. Glass vs. Aluminum

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With summer winding down, it’s hard not to spend every waking (and maybe non-waking) minute outside. That means a whole lot of hikes, cookouts and outdoor fun. You’ve got a handle on green camping hacks and eco-friendly picnic essentials — now let’s zoom in on beverage containers.

Beverages are essential when it comes to outdoor soirees. When picking them out at the store, you’re faced with a few options: plastic bottles, glass bottles or aluminum cans. What to choose? The decision can be daunting for environmentalists. We’re here to give you the lowdown on which of these receptacles gets the planet’s stamp of approval.

Step 1: How They’re Made

We see beverage containers constantly — lining the shelves of the grocery store, filling coolers at BBQs, quenching a beachgoer’s thirst. Just how did they get there?

Plastic

Plastic manufacturing starts off with oil and natural gas. These raw materials are converted into smaller pieces called monomers, and are then chemically bonded together to create long chains, known as polymers. These polymers are the plastic you see in the form of water bottles, food packaging and much more.

To get to the crude oil and natural gas needed to produce plastics, we must head for the earth’s crust. However, oil and natural gas is buried beneath layers of bedrock — that’s where drilling comes in. Drilling for oil in our pristine oceans and fracking for natural gas in America’s West is destroying our environment.

Glass

Liquefied sand, soda ash (naturally occurring sodium carbonate), limestone, recycled glass and various additives make up the glass bottles we use to hold our beverages.

Using limestone prevents glass from weathering and is thus a valuable raw material for glass containers. The sedimentary rock is typically mined from a quarry — either above or below ground. In terms of the environment, limestone mining may contaminate water and contribute to noise pollution. Limestone mining can also destroy habitat for animals who live in their cave ecosystem and can form a permanent scar on the landscape.

It’s safe to say that the raw materials that go into making glass bottles are widely available in the U.S.

Cans

New aluminum cans are almost always made from bauxite, a mineral that the U.S. gets from mines in countries like Guinea and Australia. The mining of bauxite is harsh on the planet — raw bauxite is discovered by way of open-pit mining, essentially scraping a pit into the landscape and leaving environmental destruction behind. Bauxite mining contributes to habitat loss and water contamination, as well as a slew of other negative environmental impacts, like increased erosion.

Step 2: Transport

When getting from here to there, each container has a different footprint.

Plastic

The environmental cost of transporting plastic bottles can exceed even those of creating the plastic bottle in the first place. This isn’t always the case — it depends on the distance of transport — but it’s a throttling idea.

For short distances, plastic bottles have a low transportation footprint. They pack tightly — companies are definitely responding to greener consumers and are keeping sustainability in mind when designing the shapes of their bottles. They’re also very lightweight, meaning less fuel is consumed during shipping.

Glass

There’s one big, undeniable eco-unfriendly aspect of glass bottles — they’re heavy. The transportation of glass bottles requires significantly more energy than their lightweight counterparts. Glass is fragile, too, so they can’t be packed into a truck as tightly as aluminum and plastic can.

Cans

Americans love cans because they are small, lightweight and airtight. Turns out, the planet does, too. Their size means they save fuel — more cans can fit into a smaller space and their light weight means less gas to get them from point A to point B. Because aluminum isn’t particularly fragile, cans use less cardboard packaging when transported as well, meaning more room for more cans.

Step 3: Where They End Up

Empty — now what? Each of these containers is recyclable. Here’s how they match up.

Plastic

The recycling rate of plastics is actually quite low — in 2014, only 9.5 percent of plastic material generated in the U.S. was recycled. The rest was combusted for energy or sent to a landfill where its fate is uncertain — it can either find its way out and pollute our planet or sit there for up to 500 years before finally decomposing.

Glass

Glass bottles are 100 percent recyclable and an estimated 80 percent of recovered glass containers are made into new glass bottles. Once you toss your glass bottle in the recycling bin, manufacturers can have it back onto the shelves in a month. Plus, using recycled glass when making new glass bottles reduces the manufacturer’s carbon footprint — furnaces may run at lower temperatures when recycled glass is used because it is already melted down to the right consistency.

Cans

Like glass, aluminum cans are completely recyclable and are commonly recycled worldwide as part of municipal recycling programs. Aluminum cans can be recycled repeatedly with no limit.

In her book, The Story of Stuff, Annie Leonard notes that we are currently recycling only 45 percent of cans. That calls for a lot of pit mining for bauxite to make new material. According to Leonard, more than a trillion aluminum cans have been trashed in landfills since 1972, when such records began.

And the Winner Is…

If they are made from 100 percent recycled material, aluminum cans should be your top choice when shopping for picnic beverages. Their low transportation footprint and ease of recyclability make them a winner.

However, the extraction of raw bauxite is detrimental to the planet. New aluminum cans are not eco-friendly.

Glass should be your pick if recycled cans are not an option. Glass bottles are made from relatively innocuous raw materials and is, like aluminum cans, completely recyclable. Their bulky size and transportation footprint is their downfall.

Plastic does have a small carbon footprint when it comes to transportation, but it’s tough to ignore the giant carbon footprint when it comes to extraction. Plus, the plastic that doesn’t end up in a recycling bin can be a huge pollutant in our environment, killing wildlife and contaminating ecosystems. With using plastic, the planet is ravaged.

Feature images courtesy of Shutterstock

Read More:
How Many Times Can That Be Recycled?
Which Is Better? Plastic vs. Glass Food Storage Containers
The Verdict Is In: Keep the Bottle Caps On

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Lauren Murphy

Lauren has a B.S. in environmental science, a crafting addiction, and a love for all things Pacific Northwest. She writes from her cozy downtown apartment tucked in the very northwestern corner of the continental U.S. Lauren spends her time writing and focusing on a healthy, simple and sustainable lifestyle.

Latest posts by Lauren Murphy (see all)

Beverage Container Showdown: Plastic vs. Glass vs. Aluminum – August 11, 2017
Is Starbucks Doing Enough to Recycle Its Cups? – July 18, 2017
6 Simple Swaps for a Green 4th of July  – June 30, 2017

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Beverage Container Showdown: Plastic vs. Glass vs. Aluminum

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An urban ag co-working space grows in Brooklyn

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An urban ag co-working space grows in Brooklyn

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The Surprising Green Benefit of Living in the City

Were not in the 60s anymore, Toto. Seems young people these days (aka millennials) no longer dream of moving to the country to try their hand at communal living and organic farming. Instead, they are turning to another way to help green the planetcity living. Huh? Well, unless you live entirely off the grid, most folks have to work for a living, and most jobs tend to be located close to urban cores. City dwelling also offer more cultural diversity, educational institutions, art galleries, museums, and nightlife, often within walking distance. And walking, rather than driving, to work or play is one of the greenest lifestyle changes you could make. Learn more.

Save money.

For families living in suburban communities, the cost of transportation comprises 25 percent of total household expenditures, making it the second largest household expense, exceeded only by the cost of housing itself. Compare this figure to thebudget of urban dwellers, where the percentage allotted for transportation drops to only 9 percent.

Save time.

Theres been a trend over the past 40 years toward what theWashington Postdubs the mega commuteran individual who, in order to get to the job every day, faces a long haul of 90 minutes each way. Do the math and youll see that adds up to an annual total of 31.3 days gobbled up traveling to and from work, an activity that many people rank among their least favorite ways to spend time. One simple solution to an admittedly complex problem is to move closer to your workplace.

Save gasoline.

Although electric cars (and the public charging stations they need in order to drive long distances) are becoming available, most people still rely on gasoline to power their automobiles. Gasoline has a number of drawbacks. To start, gas is expensive. Whats more, as a fossil fuel manufactured from crude oil, it is a non-renewable resource. But the most compelling motivation to reduce gasoline use stems from the fact that it contributes heavily to your carbon footprint. Burning a single gallon of gas produces20 pounds of carbon dioxide.

Save the planet.

In recent years, theres been a lot of buzz about taking steps to make homes more energy-efficient:installing energy-saving HVAC systems, replacing worn-out appliances with Energy Star certified models, and sealing and insulating the house exteriors. However, the Environmental Protection Agency advises thatlocation efficiencyis even more important to the health of our environment thanenergy efficiency. By this logic, the most eco-friendly home of all would combine energy-efficient features with a very walkable location.

Think like a millennial.

Millennials (young adults born between the mid-1980s and the early years of the 21stcentury) prefer walking to driving by a whopping 12 percentage points according tosurvey results. When theyre not driving, they like to bike to their destination, whether it be work, shopping, or entertainment. Compared to older age groups, they are much readier to live in attached housing, rather than the traditional single-family detached home in the suburbs, in order to shorten their commuting time.

Check theWalk Score.

If you are planning a move, consult the Walk Score for any property you might want to rent or buy. Based on accessibility to such facilities as schools, grocery shopping, restaurants, cultural activities, and parks, the score is calculated based on an ideal of 100. Anything over 70 rates as very walkable, while 90 plus is considered a walkers paradise. Not surprisingly, homes in cities tend to score highest on the scale.

Push for green spaces.

Some municipal governments are beginning to fund out-of-the-box oases such as green roofs and linear parks. Push your locality to add more and maybe even create your own community vegetable plot or roadside guerilla garden. Urban green spaces improve the air quality, soak up stormwater, and may evenreduce crime ratesin the area. Besides, they provide a pretty view when youre out walking.

By Laura Firszt, Networx.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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The Surprising Green Benefit of Living in the City

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Airlines Treat People Like Dirt Because the Republicans in Congress Let Them

Mother Jones

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Policymakers reacted swiftly this week to the outrageous viral video of police officers forcibly removing an innocent passenger from an overbooked United Airlines flight. A new passenger bill of rights, including regulations on bumping people from flights, was announced on Tuesday—by Canada’s transportation ministry.

Here in the United States, at least one party has a long history of siding with the airlines at the expense of their passengers. “It’s an ongoing frustration that we haven’t had good cooperation on the Republican side,” says Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumers League. “Their constituents are being mistreated, just like Democratic constituents. I’m disappointed and frustrated.”

In 2016 alone, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) introduced 22 different consumer-protection riders to a funding bill for the Federal Aviation Administration. Among other things, the proposals would have placed a moratorium on seat-size shrinkage, required more transparency about ticket fees and passenger complaints, promoted competition between airlines, and ensured that passengers had the right to sue airlines instead of being forced into arbitration. (See the complete list below.) None of the proposals made it through the GOP-controlled Senate.

“The degrading treatment of this United passenger is the latest example of a major US airline disrespecting passengers and denying them their basic rights,” Blumenthal wrote to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao on Tuesday. “Your agency must conduct a swift, sweeping investigation into United Airlines and the industry practices that led to this incident.”

Congressional Republicans delayed for years the passage of the handful of consumer protections that exist for airline passengers. During the George W. Bush administration, GOP senators killed a passengers bill of rights that, among other things, would have restricted how long people could be confined to a grounded airplane without food and drinks. In 2011, the Obama administration enacted a stricter version of the rule administratively, adding requirements that airlines reimburse passengers for lost bags, disclose extra ticket fees on their websites, and compensate bumped passengers financially.

“The Republicans can be viewed as the party of big business, whereas Democrats are more for personal rights and equality,” says Rainer Jenss, director of the Family Travel Association. One provision his group backed that requires airlines to let families with children sit together on flights free of charge became law last year—but only after it attracted support from a Republican congressman who’d had a family member get separated from his kids during a flight, Jenss says.

Not all Republicans, after all, are airline industry lapdogs. On Tuesday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie asked the TSA’s Chao to suspend the federal regulation permitting airlines to overbook flights and remove passengers as a result. “This conduct is abusive and outrageous,” Christie said in a press release. “The ridiculous statements, now in their third version, of the CEO of United Airlines displays their callousness toward the traveling public with the permission of the federal government.”

The airline industry, however, favors Republicans. In the most recent election cycle, United Continental Holdings gave them $547,000, versus $497,000 for Democrats—a split that roughly mirrors the industry’s spending patterns. The main airline lobbying group, Airlines for America, leans far more toward Republicans: It donated about $85,000 to Democrats in the latest cycle. It gave nearly six times that much (about $478,500) to Republicans and conservative groups, according to OpenSecrets.org. In 2015, Politico reported that House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Penn.) was actually dating Shelly Rubino, an Airlines for America executive. Republicans “are literally in bed with the industry!” says the National Consumers League’s Greenberg.

She hopes the United scandal will convince Republicans to end their love affair with Big Air: “I think Congress is going to be under a lot of pressure to take some decisive action because of what people saw in that video.”
______

Here’s what Sen. Richard Blumenthal proposed last year to keep airlines in check.
But not one of his amendments made it past Mitch McConnell et al.

A commission on airline competition
A Government Accountability Office study of international airline alliances and their immunity from antitrust laws
A moratorium on seat size shrinkage
A review of aircraft evacuation procedures
Establishing a private right of action under federal consumer protection law
Establishing a private right of action under state consumer protection law
Requiring research on ways to avoid toxic air on planes
Banning the use of e-cigarettes on commercial aircraft
Requiring air carriers to disclose ancillary fees to consumers
Requiring the Department of Transportation (DOT) to consider additional protections against canceled or changed reservations
Extending the Advisory Committee for Aviation Consumer Protection through September 2022
Requiring an airline to forward all complaints to the Aviation Consumer Protection Division
Improving access to aviation consumer protection information
Modifying requirements for a study on air carrier fees
Modifying requirements for passenger seat assignment
Modifying requirements for the review of flight delays and cancelations
Permitting the DOT to investigate and take action on unfair and deceptive practices relating to travel insurance contracts
Authorizing state regulation and claims relating to reward program contracts and frequent flyer contracts
Providing refund of baggage fees when baggage is damaged during transit
Increasing the civil penalty amount for violations of aviation laws
Invalidating mandatory pre-dispute arbitration and class-action waivers in certain air travel contracts
Prohibiting carriers from limiting consumer access to carriers’ flight data

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Airlines Treat People Like Dirt Because the Republicans in Congress Let Them

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Which Airline Kicks Off the Most Passengers?

Mother Jones

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With “involuntary deplanings” in the news, Nate Silver points us to some data that’s oddly intriguing. Here’s how often passengers are kicked off flights on the Big Four airlines in the United States. It comes via the Department of Transportation’s latest monthly report:

Delta overbooks at a far higher rate than any other airline. However, it uses an innovative Coasian auction system during check-in to persuade passengers on overbooked flights to give up their seats for cash payouts. As a result, it has by far the lowest rate of forcing people off of flights even when they don’t want to go.

By contrast, Southwest—which has been taunting United over the Dr. Dao incident—has a slightly lower rate of overbooking than the other airlines. However, they apparently have a pretty crappy system for handling overbooked flights, which gives them the second-highest rate of forced deplanings.

United, ironically, isn’t bad on this score. Their overbooking rate is about average, and their “involuntary deplanings” rate is quite low. Depending on how you feel about things, Delta would probably be your first choice on the overbooking front, but United is a solid second.

Like it or not, about 40,000 people a year are kicked off planes against their will. Some of them were standby passengers who knew this might happen. Some weren’t. Given those numbers, the interesting thing isn’t that United had to remove one of these folks by force. The interesting thing is that apparently it’s never happened before.1

1It hasn’t happened while cell phones were recording the whole thing, anyway.

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Which Airline Kicks Off the Most Passengers?

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3 Essential Zero Waste Items to Keep in Your Car

No matter where you go, taking a zero waste trip can be pretty challenging.Disposables are king on the road!

If you want to make it tothe end of your trip without gathering up a collection of paper coffee cups and throwaway plastics, youhave to be prepared. Luckily, (now that the weather is getting warmer) I’ve had the chance to test out my very own Zero Waste Car Kit. And let me tell you, it has saved me a number of times.

You never know where the open road will take you; these amazing, portable, lightweight zero waste items will ensure you’re always prepared for whatcomes your way.

Here’s what I keep in my car.

3Essential Zero Waste Items to Keep in Your Car

1. Mason Jar

Why I Love Them

I honestly believe that amason jar is one of the most versatile items on the planet. Theyseal water-tight, making them perfect for solid foods, soups and cold drinks. Perfect for restaurant leftovers! Need to use it for coffee in a snap? Pack a mason jar cozy to protect your fingers while you sip your coffee.

Where to Find Them

Mason jars are very easy to find. I highly recommend checking out your local thrift stores to see if you can find a range of sizes for your pantry and your to-go kit. Not interested in buying secondhand? Save and wash jars from sauces and nut butters or visit any of your local big boxstores.

What You’ll Spend

Mason jars are definitely your most affordable jar option out there, especially if you choose to buy secondhand. Expect to spend between $0.50 and a couple of dollars. Nice!

2. Cloth Napkin

Why I Love Them

If you eat out a lot, definitely stasha cloth napkin or dish towel in your car or purse. This item will come in handy if you needto pick up a sandwich or a pastry, or need to wrap something for transport. Most places will gladly hand you your food item on your clean cloth napkin. They’re also great for wrapping bulk goodieslike crackers or nuts.

Where to Find Them

Odds are you already have plenty of cloths to choose from in your kitchen. Pick one that isn’t too thick (you want to be able to tie it closed) and that is made froma natural fiber that washes up well. If you don’t have any kitchen cloths to spare, pick one up locally.

What You’ll Spend

If you’re buying new, expect to spend between $5 and $15 for a pack of 3-5. However, you can definitely find secondhand linens as well! Just be sure to sanitize and wash them before use.

3. Cutlery Kit

Why I Love Them

Few fast fooditems sneak up on me more than plastic straws and disposable cutlery. This is why I keep a cutlery kit that includes bamboo fork, knife, spoon and chopsticks, and a stainless steel straw in my purse. Pick one up and start refusing those disposables at restaurants!

Where to Find Them

Amazon.com has a number of lightweight, nicely wrapped cutlery kits to choose from. You can also opt to make your own, or assemble some silverware from home. Just make sure it includes all the items you need. Feeling even more minimalist? Look for a convertible multipurpose tool that is a fork, spoon and knife all in one!

What You’ll Spend

Most of the cutlery kits I’ve seen range between $12 and $20 online. I purchased my To-Go Ware kit for about $15. If you want to save money, just stash a few pieces of silverware from your kitchen.

What do you think? Will you create a Zero Waste To-Go Kit like this one?

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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3 Essential Zero Waste Items to Keep in Your Car

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Auto Execs Will Be Pleased With Trump’s Latest Gift to the Industry

Mother Jones

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At an event for auto workers near Detroit, Michigan, on Wednesday, President Donald Trump will announce his latest gift to industry executives: the start of a potentially protracted process that will ultimately weaken carbon pollution standards for cars and trucks by reversing one of the last actions the Environmental Protection Agency took under President Barack Obama.

The EPA in January finalized a midterm review evaluating the program’s progress in which EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy affirmed the pollution standards that requires U.S. car manufacturers to raise efficiency from 27.5 miles per gallon to 54.5 mpg by 2025. Now, the Trump administration wants to restart this review process, moving the burden of responsibility for determining how far to roll back standards from the EPA to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the Department of Transportation.

The proposal doesn’t change any emission standards just yet, nor does it get into the thorny issue of whether to revoke waivers that California and 13 other states have in order to pursue tougher tailpipe emissions standards—although EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has suggested he is considering doing just that.

The logic for this plan was explained on a press call Tuesday with a senior White House official who asked not to be identified. The official said the EPA “sort of shoved it down their throats in December,” when it completed the midterm review before the required 2018 deadline. “I don’t think the industry and public had a lot of opportunity to gather their comments,” said the official who directed reporters to “read the Auto Alliance testimony” from the industry in order to learn more about the controversy. This was testimony presented to the House Energy and Commerce committee earlier last fall. Though it briefly embraced the standards in 2009, the industry has since said they are unattainable, and in the Auto Alliance testimony, CEO Mitch Bainwol stated the administration shouldn’t “jam standards that are inconsistent with consumer behavior.”

The EPA’s final determination found that the “standards are feasible at reasonable cost” based on market trends, without needing to manufacture many more electric cars or hybrid vehicles. They would cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, save 1.2 billion barrels of oil, and provide net benefits of $100 billion in savings, according to the EPA’s estimates for 2022 to 2025. If they are rolled back, the consequences could be less efficient cars made by U.S. manufacturers and tougher competition with countries in Asia and Europe that produce hybrid cars. It also could mean more money spent at the gas pump—the Obama-era rules were expected to cut down on gas bills, saving American buyers an average $8,000 over the lifetime of the vehicles.

“Making this U-turn on fuel economy is the wrong way to go for our security, economy and environment,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) says. “Innovation has been driving our historic progress on fuel economy, and we cannot let Donald Trump put us in reverse.”

Further actions targeting the EPA and the Department of the Interior could be released this week, and executive orders targeting climate regulations for new and existing coal-fired power plants are expected any day.

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Auto Execs Will Be Pleased With Trump’s Latest Gift to the Industry

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Elon Musk has started digging a tunnel under Los Angeles.

In December, when Musk got stuck in traffic, instead of leaning on the horn or flipping off the other drivers, he decided to build a new transportation system. An hour later, Max Chafkin writes in Bloomberg Businessweek, “the project had a name and a marketing platform. ‘It shall be called The Boring Company,’” Musk wrote.

Musk told employees to grab some heavy machinery and they began digging a hole in the SpaceX parking lot. He bought one of those machines that bores out tunnels and lays down concrete walls as it goes. It’s named Nannie.

Musk is the grown-up version of the kid who decides to dig to China: He doesn’t pause to plan or ask what’s possible, he just grabs a stick and starts shoveling. Maybe that’s the approach we need. As Chafkin points out, “Tunnel technology is older than rockets, and boring speeds are pretty much what they were 50 years ago.” And Bent Flyvbjerg, an academic who studies why big projects cost so much, says that the tunneling industry is ripe for someone with new ideas to shake things up.

Musk is a technical genius. But the things that make tunnels expensive tend to be political — they have to do with endless hearings before local government councils and concessions to satisfy concerned neighbors and politicians. For that stultifying process, at least, Musk’s new company is aptly named. If Musk figures out how disrupt local land-use politics, it would mean he’s smarter than anyone thinks.

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Elon Musk has started digging a tunnel under Los Angeles.

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Denver Isn’t the Only City Seizing Homeless People’s Gear

Mother Jones

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On Saturday, Denver’s mayor, Michael B. Hancock, announced that city police officers would be asked to stop seizing sleeping bags, blankets, tents, and other items that help homeless people keep warm in the winter. The announcement came after a video showing officers confiscating blankets in frigid weather provoked outcry. And while the announcement was a win for Denver’s homeless, Maria Foscarinis, executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, notes that the seizure or destruction of homeless people’s property is common practice in the United States.

Belongings are often seized under anti-camping laws or laws that prohibit sleeping in public—part of a larger trend of what Foscarinis calls “the criminalization of homelessness.” Earlier this year, her organization released a study tracking the phenomenon in 187 cities. It found that one-third of cities prohibit camping citywide, an increase of nearly 70 percent over a decade ago. But many courts have ruled such practices unconstitutional. Here’s a rundown of what’s happening in a few key cities.

Los Angeles: In March, lawyers sued on behalf of four homeless people whose property was destroyed by the city. One plaintiff, Judy Coleman, was hospitalized for pneumonia after her tent and blanket were taken. The judge in the case issued a preliminary injunction requiring the city to stop seizing homeless people’s belongings during arrests or clean-ups. The order also prohibits the city from storing seized items in a manner that makes them difficult to reclaim—a common problem, according to the Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty. A similar case from 2014 is in the process of being settled out of court.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles City Council approved a law limiting the storage of items in parks, alleys, and sidewalks to what will fit in a 60-gallon container. Under the law, homeless people may also be cited or arrested if they fail to take down their tents between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. An LAPD spokesman told me the department is no longer doing sweeps of homeless encampments. The current policy on seized possessions, he says, is to store the items, unless they are too wet or are deemed unsanitary—that determination is left to the officer’s discretion.

Denver: The mayor’s order only applies until April, when officers may resume seizures of bedding and camping gear. In the interim, police still intend to enforce the pubic camping ban—violators can face fines of up to $999. Back in August, a group called Denver Homeless Out Loud filed a class-action lawsuit arguing that the city’s sweeps are unconstitutional.

Seattle: The city’s regular raids on homeless camps have come under fire due to the loss of personal property and the city’s failure to give homeless residents proper notice. Seattle has been embroiled in an ongoing debate about how best to handle its sweeps, some of which have been halted by city civil rights monitors because the approved protocols were not followed.

San Francisco: Homeless sweeps are common in San Francisco. According to Mission Local‘s examination of the Department of Public Works records, the city only preserved 23 people’s seized belongings over a six-month period this year. On Tuesday, Bay Area civil rights groups filed a class-action lawsuit against the California Department of Transportation over the seizure of items such as stoves, tents, and bedding by Caltrans employees.

Honolulu: Though winter survival is less of a problem in Hawaii, Foscarinis points out that homeless people are also at risk in warm weather when their belongings are essential to keeping cool. In a survey of homeless residents by the Department of Urban Planning at the University of Hawaii-Manoa, nearly 60 percent reported losing personal identification, 40 percent lost tents, and 21 percent lost medicine in sweeps. The National Law Center on Poverty and Homelessness report stated, “The city has been transparent about its goal of removing Honolulu’s homeless population from view” and has proposed to “relocate homeless people to a separate island that previously served as a garbage dump and former internment camp during WWII.”

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Denver Isn’t the Only City Seizing Homeless People’s Gear

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Donald Trump Really, Really Doesn’t Want to Hear About How Russia Got Him Elected

Mother Jones

Guess what? It turns out that Vladimir Putin really did think that the best way to cripple America was to get an incompetent buffoon like Donald Trump elected president. Smart man. Here’s the Washington Post: “The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.”

The New York Times adds this: “They based that conclusion, in part, on another finding — which they say was also reached with high confidence — that the Russians hacked the Republican National Committee’s computer systems in addition to their attacks on Democratic organizations, but did not release whatever information they gleaned from the Republican networks.

Donald Trump’s transition team thinks the intelligence community is full of crap, and we should ignore them and move on. “The election ended a long time ago,” they said in a statement, “in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history.”

Oh really? Let’s interrupt our story about the greatest act of ratfucking in history for an aside about how Trump really did:

The good news, I guess, is that Trump has given up on claiming that he won a great victory in the popular vote. The bad news is that he’s simply switched to lying about his Electoral College victory.

Now back to Putin. I’d say that given Trump’s apparent inability to ever utter the truth—along with the odd coincidence that Trump just happens to be pro-Russia on nearly every issue Russia cares about—it might be smart to at least take a peek at what the intelligence folks have to say. Especially since the Post story also says this:

In September, during a secret briefing for congressional leaders, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) voiced doubts about the veracity of the intelligence…and made clear to the administration that he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics.

So McConnell really did Trump a solid, didn’t he? And guess what? It turns out that Trump thinks McConnell’s wife is the best qualified person in the whole country to be his Secretary of Transportation! Just another coincidence, I’m sure.

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Donald Trump Really, Really Doesn’t Want to Hear About How Russia Got Him Elected

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