I'm cynically amused by a report from Washington State in the Houston Chronicle.
Spokane County became the launch pad last July for the nation's strictest ban on dishwasher detergent made with phosphates, a measure aimed at reducing water pollution. The ban will be expanded statewide in July 2010, the same time similar laws take effect in several other states.
But it's not easy to get sparkling dishes when you go green.
Many people were shocked to find that products like Seventh Generation, Ecover and Trader Joe's left their dishes encrusted with food, smeared with grease and too gross to use without rewashing them by hand. The culprit was hard water, which is mineral-rich and resistant to soap.
As a result, there has been a quiet rush of Spokane-area shoppers heading east on Interstate 90 into Idaho in search of old-school suds.
Real estate agent Patti Marcotte of Spokane stocks up on detergent at a Costco in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and doesn't care who knows it.
"Yes, I am a smuggler," she said. "I'm taking my chances because dirty dishes I cannot live with."
(In truth, the ban applies to the sale of phosphate detergent — not its use or possession — so Marcotte is not in any legal trouble.)
Marcotte said she tried every green brand in her dishwasher and found none would remove grease and pieces of food. Everybody she knows buys dishwasher detergent in Idaho, she said.
Supporters of the ban acknowledge it is not very popular.
"I'm not hearing a lot of positive feedback," conceded Shannon Brattebo of the Washington Lake Protection Association, a prime mover of the ban. "I think people are driving to Idaho."
There's more at the link.
Yes, that's what happens when a well-intentioned few push through a law that's intended to achieve something good . . . but they fail to think of all its implications. If you don't have something equally effective to replace what you've just banned, of course people will disregard your cherished law!
I wonder what the greenies will try next?