Plastic Waste.

Just to put in a counterpoint to my recent rants, I thought I’d point out that though I disagree with the AGW religion, I am in agreement with much else the ‘green’ movement highlights. So, keeping it specific, I though I’d talk about plastics which, in my opinion are worse than AGW, even if it were true. Plastics are damned useful. They can be formed into just about any shape we might want, they can be impermeable to water, they decay very slowly, they can be as strong as steel and as soft as cotton, excellent insulators, any colour under the sun and even no colour at all. We can make just about anything out of them, and frequently do … but why am I telling you this? If you don’t already know it already, then just walk around your home and you’ll see. The problem with plastics is that they are damned useful, get used, and decay very slowly. A further problem is the throw-away society in which they are being used. And these facts combined are causing some major fuck-ups. We really should stop using the damned substance unless it is really needed, yet time and time again this oil-based limited resource is used once and discarded. Here’s a few facts grabbed at random off the Internet:

  • A plastic milk jug takes 1 million years to decompose.
  • A plastic cup can take 50 – 80 years to decompose.
  • Americans use 2.5 million plastic bottles every HOUR.
  • Plastic bags and other plastic garbage thrown into the ocean kill as many as 1 million sea creatures every year.
  • An estimated 14 billion pounds of trash, much of it plastic is dumped in the world’s oceans every year.
  • There are 13,000 pieces of plastic litter per square kilometre of the world’s oceans.
  • The worldwide fishing industry dumps an estimated 150,000 tons of plastic into the ocean each year, including packaging, plastic nets, lines, and buoys.
  • Every year we make enough plastic film to shrink-wrap the state of Texas.
  • Plastic production uses 8% of the world’s oil production.
  • Nearly every piece of plastic EVER made still exists today.

I mean, why is it necessary to wrap fruit, which already has a skin, in a layer of plastic, in a plastic tray, and then lug it out of the supermarket in a plastic carrier bag? Hell, just buy your apples or pears and take them home in a re-useable bag, then put them in your fruit bowl. The only difference here would be less plastic crud in your bin ready to go out to the dustmen and end up in the remit of the recycling police. Another one is cotton buds with plastic sticks: one delve in the earhole then down the toilet and flushed away, then off to fuck up marine life. Plastic carrier bags, give me strength … WHY? Well, because people are accustomed to being supplied with them. Cut the supply and people will soon get used to taking along their own bags, then perhaps we’ll see a few less trees decorated with a foliage of the damned things aruond supermarkets. Plastic bags generally are overused, and found jamming up the guts of numerous sea creatures, along with numerous other throw-away plastic items. Another great way to cut down on landfill would be if printer companies weren’t so fucking greedy – be nice if just one of them made a printer with refillable reserviors and a life-span above about two years. The same applies to a lot of other electrical stuff. Then there’s a particular bugbear of mine, and this is directed at you, yes you, the one who buys Volvic, or Evian or any other of those bottled waters. That stuff is no better than tap water, in fact, it is very often much worse and, after you’ve drunk it, one more fucking plastic bottle goes in the bin. Please, Mr or Mrs I-think-I’m-cool-with-my-bottled-water, go find the Penn and Teller video clip on You Tube about bottled water, and learn just how much of a complete prat you are.

6 thoughts on “Plastic Waste.

  1. easy,

    25 pence a bag at the supermarket and make the supermarket thieves justify every item of wrapping they use, never forget they never do anything unless there is profit for them, for sure wrapping fruit is for their benefit not ours, also stage your own protest at your local quicki mart and remove all the wrapping that is,in your opinion , excessive, and drop it in the managers office,
    small protests can make a difference.

    Ross MTL

  2. Hi Neal, a lot of "Spring Water" plastic bottling companies are using hybrid biodegradible bottles made of corn starch. Given the right composting conditions of course these new bio bottles break down in about 4 weeks.

    The tech is getting better even if it's just another marketing ploy to make you feel good about buying tap water. I boil tap water anyway and only have it in my instant coffee 😉

  3. Kirby, that and used condoms. In some parts of my city you don't have to look far to stumble upon used condoms and needles.

    About plastics though, a few years ago my neigbors 5 year old boy one day came home with those plastic ring holders that hold beer cans. His mother asked him why he was cutting them apart with sizzors. He said because birds get can get caught in them. Pretty bright for a 5 year old.

    Also plastic disposible bags bring heat to my face. I hate these things with a passion. They litter in trees where birds live. Plastic bags and used condoms, sigh.

  4. http://thetyee.ca/Views/2006/07/26/PlasticSea/

    The sea is filled now with plastic particulates. Almost everything that lives in or near the sea now contains plastic within itself.

    At the same time most rational people are getting pissed off with excess packaging. Our Council has changed to fortnightly collections so the amount of rubbish we produce is an issue. Meanwhile ,like Neal said, Tesco produces biscuits that are individually wrapped, placed in a plastic tray, wrapped in plastic and carried out in a plastic bag.

    Ireland placed a minimal bag tax of €0.15 per bag and that reduced bag use by 90%
    http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30200-12093273,00.html

    Why can't we get paper bags like those used in the US?

    The less oil we use for plastics the more we have for lovely petrol.

  5. I was living on Raoul Island (population 13 at that time) for four months one year. Raoul is 1000km away from New Zealand in one direction and 1000km from Tomga in another… it is also well off the main shipping routes, but we still had huge amounts of plastic, plus glass bottles and rubber flip-flops washed up on the beach. Imagine how much is floating out there in the oceans right now.

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