Tuesday, April 14, 2009


i watched a most interesting documentary last night on The Passionate Eye. it was all about plastic (i cannot remember the exact name, but 'plastic' was in its title) and did you know:

- that plastic was invented during wartime and then was pushed into the common market in the 1950's to keep up the petrochemical industry that boomed during the wars?
- that plastic cannot be broken down?
- that very little of recycable plastic is actually recycled?
- that when plastic is recycled, the plastic is reconstituted and is not usually as strong?
- that there is vegetable-based plastic that dissolves in water?
- that our oceans are chockablock full of plastic bits that will never dissolve and end up in our food chain when small fish mistake tiny pieces of plastic for food and then are eaten by the bigger fish and so on and so forth?
- that things in landfills will never decompose because they are hermetically sealed?
- that manufacturers and recyclers are not communicating effectively, because manufacturing products with a variety of different plastics (think a pop bottle and it's cap) cannot be recycled together?

to think about the amount of plastic that i go through in a day (disposable coffee lids, shopping bags - even though i try to remember to bring my own, clothes and jewelry, cosmetics, all the packaging that covers most of the consumer goods i buy...), it is mind boggling for me to think of how i am contributing to the masses of plastic crap that are floating around in the ocean.

i had a thought that perhaps some of you have already had whilst pondering my participation in the plastic mess that we find ourselves in - how are you to shop ethically and green at the same time? i know that some vegans will only wear shoes like converse because they are completely animal product free and that handbag designer mat & nat makes bags that are supposed to be ethical because they are totally composed of manmade materials.

but then, isn't that just contributing to the environmental bru ha ha that all this plastic is creating by making more plastic that cannot be broken down or recycled?

if it comes down to it, i would rather wear a pair of leather shoes for which a cow had to die, than contribute to the environmental catastrophe that is plastic.

anyone who has spent any length of time in an african country can attest to the incredible amount of useless, cheap, plastic bags that clutter nearly almost any landscape. however, rwanda seems to have it right - they have banned plastic bags from their country entirely.


La Cabeza Grande said...

Invented out of necessity / scientific curiosity. Promoted out of greed. Plastics!

I try to be very reasonable in my approach to disposable products, for instance using canvas bags for groceries or a reusable bottle for water. I'm no green queen, though I do try to be mindful of the consequences of my trash.

lu said...

i love having american friends that say 'trash!'

k said...

Do you also love having british friends that say "rubbish"? :)

lu said...