Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Plastic

So, China is no longer going to take a large percentage of our plastic waste.   Can you begin to imagine the huge ships taking the waste all that way; the manpower in loading it; the fuel used to get it there; the sheer waste of resources?

I can't help myself.   Each time the subject of plastic and waste comes up I find myself asking -
why does everything have to be encased in plastic these days?  Plastic, large quantities of which seem to end up dumped around the countryside or
 floating around in the sea, or littering our beaches?  Is it really necessary?   Can anyone give me a good argument in favour of plastic for every conceivable commodity?

If I go on to our market on a Friday, I can approach the Fruit and Vegetable stall and with a few exceptions (mainly soft fruit, which damages easily) everything is there piled up so that I can get a bag (yes, you've guessed it, plastic - but then we can't have everything) and fill it with pears or apples or sprouts.

If, instead, I cross the road and go into one of our stores, everything has a fancy plastic case.   Four 'ready to eat' pears have a plastic container with four pear-shaped dents in it - the four pears lie there and are covered with a clear plastic lid.   Apricots, hard as bullets at this time of the year, sit in a plastic container and again have a clear plastic lid.   If they were piled on the floor and you drove your trolley over them they would still remain like pebbles.

Every sweet and sickly drink ever invented has its own bottle, the gaudier the better, easier to attract the eye of a passing child or a teenager.   Many of these used to end up down the lane where I lived until quite recently - thrown from car windows I would guess.   Once a week I would take a bag (oh yes, it would be plastic) with me on my morning walk, pick up the plastic waste and put it into our recycling bin.   What is it about folk that makes them throw their plastic (and fish a chip cartons (yes, plastic or polystyrene too) ) out of the car window?

One of the problems of old age is that it is really hard not to think that some things were better in 'the old days.'   Well I won't go down that avenue, but something has to be done about plastic, about recycling, about stopping the pollution of our seas, our beaches, infact every place there is to pollute.

Is there an answer?   There has got to be before much of our wildlife is destroyed for ever.    And surely, now that China has put its foot down, we have a good place to start taking this problem seriously.  .I don't just mean governments. I mean individuals.  I mean you and me.   I mean every school in the country.   Education.   And it starts here and now.

 

32 comments:

gz said...

hear hear!

Rosie said...

I so agree with you! We are all responsible and it starts at home. I enjoy a litter pick but wish it was not necessary. I am renewing my efforts to be plastic free as much as possible.

Gwil W said...

Plastic is a petroleum product. Enough said? At the Saturday farmers market I only buy at stalls that offer brown paper bags or no bags at all. I take my own bags anyway. My heavy duty carrier bags are on average 7 or 8 years of age. And I use them regularly. Habitually in fact. The farmer can pour his spuds, carrots, or whatever straight into them. Some bags are 10 or 15 years old. Let's all our little bit to reduce the plastic petroleum menace by our example.

Jane Karwat said...

I would also agree. Here in Ontario, my grandkids must have a thermos if they bring a drink. They all have reusable lunch bags and containers. Their utensils are metal. All garbage goes home. It is a good start and they don't mind in the least. I have tried to eliminate plastic as well. The plastic floating in all our oceans is criminal.

Bea said...

We've a chain store here that sells its fruit and veg wrapped in plastic. Even so, this chain is very popular. The plastic doesn't seem to be slowing anyone down.

angryparsnip said...

Yes Yes Yes !
I will be posting about a talk I had with a person who said he doesn't send out Christmas or Birthday card to save a tree.
He was all talk no show.
But I so agree about plastic. Awful stuff. I have bags to put my veggies and fruit in that you wash again and again plus the carrier bags to take to the car.

cheers, parsnip and mandibles

crafty cat corner said...

You've opened a can or worms here. I am old enough to remember my Mum having everything tipped into her bag straight from the scales. Pots with mud still on them and fruit put into brown paper bags. No plastic bottles in sight, just glass. I could go on.
Until the manufacturers change their packaging I can see no end and as money plays a big part in this whole plastic debate it isn't going to change any time soon.
It saddens me, the whole rubbish thing. I don't remember so much rubbish on the streets when I was young and we certainly were not allowed to eat in the street. Mum always insisted that we wait until we got home.
Still I'm hopeful that things will change for my children and Grandchildren.
I can see the wild life disappearing in front of my eyes. Lizards basking alongside the walls, Owls hooting over on the railway sidings (recently stripped of all trees) swallows nesting under the eves, this and more gone from just my small area. So sad.
Briony
x

justjill said...

Just stop using plastic. Buy loose veg and have your own not plastic bag. Seemple. If the supermarket does not do loose veg tell them to do it and why. Every time you go for a walk pick it up and put it into a bin. Oh and polystyrene is just as bad. We have to individually take responsibility. The sea life will die, the sea will die. Everywhere you shop refuse plastic and say why.

Heather said...

We have become slaves to convenience. Yes, it is convenient to pick up a pack and put it in our trolley, but years ago housewives had to take their own shopping bags and even sheets of newspaper in which to wrap fresh meat or fish. It is possible to live a good life without plastic and maybe China is doing us a favour by refusing to take most of our waste. We have to think of how to reduce this mountain of plastic ourselves. The enormous amount of unnecessary packaging is ridiculous.

Joanne Noragon said...

I do not permit plastic bottles in the house. And etcetcetc. I'm a poster child, to the dismay of my granddaughter's friends. Well, some of them.

Jill said...

Amen! We each need to make appropriate choices in our lives and with our pocketbooks and votes. The environment needs us.

Hildred said...

Time to bring back the marketing basket!!!!

Hilary said...

yes, it starts with each of us.....stop using straws, plastic forks and spoons, styrofoam cups, plastic bottles.......I have a water bottle that I refill from the tap........I have a hard plastic bottle for tea/coffee. I have cloth bags in my car for the grocery store.....if we each just did our part.
Great post.

jinxxxygirl said...

Well... Pat... you know recycling is near and dear to my heart... alot of recycling in my artwork and hubs and recycle alot of things.. It was so sad for me when while working on our house we went to the dump and saw so many things that could have been recycled and instead end up in the dump..

Now i have not heard that about China... shoot didn't even know we shipped our stuff to China... did China give a reason for not accepting our plastic anymore?? Doesn't even seem like a financially sound thing to ship our recycling to China.. The store i shop in has the fruit and veggies sitting out and i use a plastic bag to buy them.. and then i recycle that bag... You know when we lived in CA there was a push to get rid of the plastic shoppping bags ,people would have to bring their own bag from home.. and there was such a ruckus about it.. The stores were willing to go that route but the people didn't want it.. Not sure how it all ended up in CA since i left..

I think recycling should be mandatory.. everywhere.. Hugs! deb

jinxxxygirl said...

I ask a question Pat... If the plastic is recyclable and you recycle it what is the harm in using it??I used to use cloth bags from home.. and it was always a hassle.. the cashier hated to see me coming with my cloth bags.. So i got to thinking as long as i recycle those plastic bags... whats the harm in using them... Hugs! deb

Jenny said...

Agreed. I get so cross in Italy where you bag, weigh and price your own fruit and veg, I am the only one who sticks the price label directly on the item rather than use plastic, grapes being the exception. Back home a pet hate is those plastic bags full of air they use to pack one item in an enormously oversized box. You and I can sort and recycle everything possible but until big business takes control of the problem its a drop in the (plastic polluted) ocean.

Bonnie said...

Amen, sister! Will up my game for less plastic this year. I have started--but can always do more!

Chip Butter said...

Great post!!! YES, YES, YES...

Penny said...

I agree.

Mrs. Armstrong said...

To jinxxxygirl: I live in Southern California and, yes, the plastic bag ban passed. However, this applies only to the shopping bags NOT to produce bags. You can still buy heavy duty plastic shopping bags with handles at the counter and many people do because they forget to bring bags. We used to have bag recycle containers by the front doors of the stores but I'm not sure if they are still there. The biggest problem is the layer upon layer of plastic surrounding so many products! You can't even buy a toothbrush and dental floss without purchasing tons of plastic! Thank you for raising this issue in such a thoughtful way Weaver.

jinxxxygirl said...

Thank you for the info Mrs. Armstrong. I was talking to my daughter today who still lives in CA and asked her about the plastic bag situ and she said much the same as you.. Question is what would the solution be.. For hygenic reasons the toothbrush and dental floss would have to be covered by something while on the shelf.. what should it be

krishna said...

I second you.. why we need so much plastic?

Cro Magnon said...

In summer hardly a single plastic container crosses my threshold, but in winter I'm afraid that we have quite a few. We do of course take them to a recycling bin, but I do wish we didn't have to.

I believe that most plastic can be ground-up, heat treated, and processed into a very durable alternative road surfacing material. Sounds OK.

Robin Mac said...

I heard an interesting interview on our radio this morning about china banning the import of plastic waste from Australia as well. The point was made that we need to recycle much more of our waste in our own country - glass bottles are now being ground up to use as road base in some place here instead of new sand. I know there are some excellent park benches made with recycled plastic and I am sure if the will was there, many more products would evolve.
Plastic bags will be banned in supermarkets in our state in Australia from July this year. I already take my own reusable bags with me, some of them are several yeas old. Thank goodness even in the supermarkets we can buy loose fruit and vegetables, though there are some of the softer, smaller fruits in clear plastic boxes.
Plastic containers will soon have a deposit charge added on to them, with refunds being paid for every returned bottle. Queensland used to do this till about thirty years ago and my kids earned lots of pocket money picking up bottles and returning them! Thank goodness it is coming back. South Australia has never got rid of it - apparently there is a deposit charge on even the small cardboard cartons of fruit drink the small children have these days.

Sue said...

I hate the fight I have trying to open stuff that is wrapped in plastic. Dreadful stuff.

Maria said...

I fully agree. For about 10 years now I have been using fabric grocery bags and fabric net bags that my green grocer allows me to use for fruit and vegetables. In Italy, as from 1st January 2018, all light weight plastic bags used for fruit and vegetables be charged.
Greetings Maria x

Polly said...

Oh Crafty cat corner, you’ve triggered a memory there, I can remember my mum doing exactly the same. This is an issue that concerns me too. I would like to see paper bags replace plastic but I suspect that would be too expensive, but what about the cost to the ocean wildlife. I buy loose fruit and veg when I can and re-use the same small supermarket bag each time. I don’t know why we can’t incinerate more rubbish.

Linda Metcalf said...

If our countries would ban plastic bottles and bags....most of the problem solved!

donna baker said...

Stricter laws. I've heard that in Germany you face a big fine if you leave the plastic window in envelopes in recycling bins. My kind of law.

Minigranny said...

I'm sure that the plastic problem was made worse by supermarkets. When I was young so many things were weighed out into paper bags at our village shop - currants and sugar etc and cheese and bacon wrapped in grease proof paper.

Rafe's Hotel said...

Wow. So perfectly said. Thank you, Weaver. Mary

Janice said...

Over here you have to pay for every plastic bag at the grocery store so I always take my own. Very little fruit and veg are packaged. Only soft berries, cherry tomatoes, grapes and some lettuce. All other fruit and veg are loose unless you are buying a 5lb. bag.
We pay a deposit on EVERY beverage container, that way most people take them all to the bottle depot for a refund. I just went yesterday and got just under $14. You also see a lot of homeless people 'bottle picking' and lots of kids groups (hockey, guides, baseball etc) do bottle drives to raise money for trips etc. We have bulk stores that you can even take your own glass jars so you don't use the disposable plastic ones.