Today our three year old came up to me with his plastic doll, stating that he would want to slice her open. Slightly surprised by these plans I enquired about his reasoning for such undertaking. Answer:’ Wanna see if there is plastic in her!“
I must admit it has become a little bit of an obsession, may be. Just over the last six months. Ever since we have come back to land from months away sailing the gobsmackingly gorgeous waters of Tonga and Fiji…which we found just as gobsmackingly polluted by PLASTIC!
So yes, my three year old has seen footage of scientists cutting open birds, turtles and whales, in order to count the amount of plastic that has made them die. Am I over exposing him? Possibly. All of my Steiner inclined friends and not so-radical-but-sensible surroundings would say: definitely Yes. But he is actually an amazing little activist, and that is, I am sure, BECAUSE he sees this pollution happening. If he can see it happening out in the Pacific, he might as well watch the background details on a screen. This wee rainbow warrior will pick up a minuscule piece of plastic from the beach he is playing at and will just quietly slide it into my handbag. And he does this all the time. Really!
Have you watched A Plastic Ocean? It’s on YouTube at the moment. For free. Show it to your kids, too, please!
It soothes me to see that social media (at least my circle of harshly selected fb friends, ahem) is raising an awareness and that, so it feels, more and more are jumping on the train of Plastic attack. Big YEYS for that!
Bio - what??
However, there is one little thing that stirs up my pedantic German nature. Or it could just be me having been born into the finicky star sign of Virgo. Who knows?
One thing in the Plastic bashing is not cool. And that is the glorification of the so called biodegradable plastics. Because they are not the nice and green and P.C. thing that they make out to be. We used to believe in their incredible convenience too. Great, we can still have plastic bags for keeping our customers happy, and we don’t need to feel bad about it, because they biodegrade. Thus our bags won’t be the ones strangling a dolphin, and they won’t be killing a baby turtle, cause it has mistaken it for its jellyfish desert. Phew!
Read an excerpt - FINEPRINT on the box - from the warning the manufacturer needs to give its clients in order not to be taken to court: …the time frame of degradation depends upon environmental conditions and requires oxygen to be present. The degradation process can take several years. When disposed in landfill, these bags are unlikely to degrade…“
That doesn’t sound like the biodegradable we had in mind when we bought these. And hey, do some reading yourself. PLA plastics, made from cornstarch, now that sounds biodegradable, doesn’t it? Well, apparently it would be compostable in an industrial composting facility, some might even be compostable at home (they would just take way longer than your normal food scraps to decompose), but really: how many of the „guilt-free’ plastic bags or smoothie containers, you know those, that have a green frog printed onto them or read you a green environmentalists love letter to the planet. How many of those that you had recently welcomed into your life have you then sent off to either an industrial composting facility - and this is NOT our generic landfill scenario - or into your own homes compost heap? Huh?
Yeah… It feels better to be using bio-plastics instead of normal single use plastic. AS LONG AS you are happy to stay misinformed. Or uninformed at all. Eeeek!
Once you have done some reading on how these plastics could reduce the amount of trash floating about our oceans, and once you have combined this with some close observations on how we can recycle or compost our rubbish in our beloved New Zealand you might want to consider refusing all single use plastic ALTOGETHER. No matter what it is made of.
This harsh conclusion has come to us not that long ago and the longer we live with it, the more we see the how difficult it is. Extremely difficult at times.
Reuser and Refuser
Reuse what you can. Get yourself a decent reusable Coffe cup, use Boomerang Bags or other Tote bags, or bring your food containers to have them filled. Refuse to accept excess packaging. Take it off and leave it with the person selling to you. It’s their responsibility to dispose of it. And they’d better do it properly. Or change their packaging ways…
I believe we can make a difference!!