Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Plastic.


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I know that it's fashionable to moan about plastic; but with good reason.

Not only do cattle eat it in our fields, and fish either eat it or get tangled in it in our seas, but it is possibly also affecting the very essence of humanity.

Those Millenials who wouldn't go anywhere without their smartphone, Costa coffee container, and plastic bottles of water, are slowly destroying everything around them. Their cast-offs are clogging our beaches, killing our wildlife, and even (unknowingly) poisoning themselves.

Plastic is a very handy material; it has certainly changed the way we live. But it contains very nasty chemicals that slowly leach from its source. BPA (Bisphenol A) and Phthalates leave whatever plastic they have been used in, and become absorbed by whatever they are surrounding (sandwiches, meat, water, etc).

On a recent urine study of several hundred students, over 80% showed dangerouslyly high levels of BPA. Students were used for the survey because, more than most, they tend to live on plastic wrapped 'convenience foods'. Some of the side effects of BPA are as follows.

Reproductive disorders
Heart disease
Could trigger Type 2 Diabetes
Fetal brain developement
Breast and Prostate cancer
and Asthma.

Of course almost everything one touches these days comes with its attendent scares, including many from the above list. So, regardless of any genuine dangers, we should all be very cautious about what we buy, eat, and throw away. However, avoiding plastic 100% is also almost impossible.

I don't wish to suggest that we eat nothing but Bio oats direct from plant in the field, and drink nothing but spring water direct from the ground, but simply to be aware of what we buy, and its effects on us, our children/grandchildren, and the planet.

It's up to us; each and every one of us. Inactivity is no longer an option, no more heads-in-sand. Full stop!




45 comments:

  1. Gosh, I was going to post on my blog about the same problems. I was adding the paper cups and the waste of water especially for us desert dwellers.

    cheers, parsnip and mandibles

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    1. A lot of it is difficult to avoid these days, but we should all be aware of what we are using; paper cups included.

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    2. the paper cups arent just paper, the ones used in coffee shops are not recyclable. they have plastic in them as well like a tetra pack. you cant separate the plastic from the paper, so it goes to land fill.

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  2. Yes, you are correct about the throw-away society poisoning our oceans with their waste and it is not just plastic that gets dumped into the sea but expended and out of date munitions plus of course radio active waste too.

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    1. I used to be a regular user of the cross channel ferries, and I was always amazed to see that EVERYTHING unwanted was chucked overboard. There must be a huge under-sea mountain of bottles etc between the UK and France.

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    2. No wonder seagulls follow ships.

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  3. It is over a decade that in Italy plastic shopping bags are charged and as from January 2018 also plastic bags for fruit and vegetable are charged. Some supermarkets charge 1 euro cent per bag others up to 3c. They are very soft bags and used for kitchen compost. But what is absurd is that, in the same supermarkets where you pay for the bags, the majority of the fruit and vegetables are pre packed in normal "illegal" plastic bags, or fruit packed in fours on polyester trays and wrapped in glinging film. The problem is from the base. Then also we are not allowed to take the bags with us to reuse. They introduced these bags and charging us saying it's for poluttion reasons but if I cannot reuse it over again then I'm still polutting.
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. There are so many anomalies in the food business. In France there has always been a culture of taking 'shopping baskets' with you. It was a very rare sight to see anyone carrying a supermarket plastic bag.

      I buy cheese every week. I can buy it on a polystyrene base, wrapped in cling film, or I can buy it freshly cut, then wrapped in a paper/plastic mix. However it is bought it has plastic somewhere. Of course if I bought it at market it would be wrapped in paper, but there is no cheese stall at my local market!

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    2. Maria, you have it exactly right. they charge us but the supermarkets do what they want.

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  4. Whenever anybody mentions plastic rubbish I remember the dead turtle I found a Cyprus beach, suffocated with its head in a plastic bag. And I remember too when I was a child that we were told to take our litter home, and the habit stayed with us. Lancashire had slogan one saw as soon as one entered the county: No Litter in Lancs! I can remember looking out for litter as I travelled through the county and being struck by its absence. Today of course the whole of Europe is a trash can and litter lies almost everywhere. You see it more in winter when there is less vegetation to hide it. The only chinks of hope I can offer you Cro is that there is a move afoot in the US ( to stop or at least reduce) importing cheap plastic goods from the east, and that Italian researchers in Tutin I think are experimenting with fungi that actually eat plastic! Sorry to go on so long, but it's a subject that needs to be addressed with great urgency.

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    1. It's a subject no longer exclusive to muesli eating hippies. It now affects all of us, and we have to act. Here in the French countryside we see very little litter, but there are always idiots about. Why they can't take their rubbish home, and recycle, I really don't know. The new 'compostable plastic bags' are a great improvement; I do actually put any I have on the compost.

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    2. I still have a tough plastic shopping bag I bought in a French supermarket in the days when Armstrong was riding the tour. And I use it every Saturday when I go to the market for my veg. The stall holders, farmers all, use brown paper bags for anything that needs wrapping. Potatoes, carrots, cabbages and whatnot go straight from the scales into the spacious French bag!

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    3. Bravo and don't forget to not use anymore plastic cans for your wine.

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    4. Yes, I do use 5 litre plastic containers for my wine, but I have used the same ones for about 20 (or more) years. I wonder how many people could say the same?

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  5. Sorry to admit adding to the landfill with the plastic capsules that we have for our coffee machine that the recyclers don't want.

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    1. We continue to use our old fashioned Bodum 'Cafetiere', so at least we're not guilty of that. There is simply so much plastic around; it's almost unavoidable.

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  6. The student research is worrying

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    1. It probably sounds worse than it is, but anything that affects their very futures, needs to be taken seriously.

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  7. Innovative ideas for removing plastic debris from oceans: https://www.theoceancleanup.com/

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  8. We try. Our plastic goes into local council recycling and I use the same water bottle for about two months until it begins to look like things are growing in the cap. We trust that our council does recycle properly, although there are problems here now that China says it doesn't want our recycling waste. People, take ownership of your plastic and never just throw it away.

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    1. We can only do our best. I'm sure we (us) could do better, but as long as we are aware of the problem, that's half the battle.

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  9. I remember seeing many many years ago on tv that much of our recycling rubbish being sent to China was being dumped in the sea by the Chinese. We as a nation pretended not to see and carried on patting ourselves on the back that we were reaching the then recycling targets and carried on sending it.

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    1. I'm certain that a lot of that goes on; even in Europe.

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  10. Good post Cro. When I went to the Algarve in January I noticed litter bins on all the beaches and industrial wheelie bins for people to dispose of their litter for free.

    I also think there is too much plastic used to preserve meat and vegetables in the supermarkets. What happened to paper wrapping?

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    1. There is already the beginnings of a return to real butchers, greengrocers, etc. Maybe this will prompt the supermarkets to change their ways.

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  11. We are charged (minimally) for plastic bags in stores here (Canada) and most people bring their own fabric bags, or stacking plastic boxes in which to put their groceries. There is also a movement toward resuable water bottles. What I don't understand is why one must walk around with water in hand at all times, like we're in a constant state of dehydration. Was it the health suggestion that everyone must have a least 8 glasses of water a day? -Jenn

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    1. Again, one has to wonder why people feel the necessity to phone all the time, and drink water. It wasn't so long ago that people did neither (I still don't).

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  12. We now have to pay for plastic bags in the supermarket. No where to put your rubbish so now we buy rolls of plastic bags for rubbish. Whole thing needs a big rethink.
    In NZ I think the rubbish bags are heavy duty paper.
    Recycling and composting are taught in schools, when they remember or there is a campaign.
    No one trusts the water here and many drink only bottled water. Ridiculous . At least water bottles can be recycled

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    1. Personally I don't drink 'Mineral Water' because of all the added chemicals; usually they taste salty. Our tap water is spring water that is treated.

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  13. Too bad we didn't heed the muesli-eating hippies sooner!

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  14. I have always thought that the world changed (in not a good way) when plastic came about in almost everything we use. There is a line in the movie The Graduate (1967) when the character, played by Dustin Hoffman, is approached by a guest at a party. When Dustin is asked what he intends to do with his life, this man says to him one word, “plastic”. It made a lot of people rich.

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    1. If it had made us rich too, we probably wouldn't be complaining about it; just enjoying the results.

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  15. I don't buy water ,I just drink tap water and use a reusable water bottle. My grandkids do the same in their school lunches and use reusable containers. It's a routine for them they clean out their lunch boxes after school and any garbage comes home to be recycled. I think that's a good thing.

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    1. We don't buy bottled water; ours from the tap is spring water from about 2 kms away in the village. We should all teach our children to be aware of the environment. Once they know what's what, they tend to follow the rules.

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  16. My father, a persuasive man, told me ages ago, long before it came to public attention, about the perils of plastic leaching into, say, your water. Cue the ever attentive to her father's words daughter: Glass it is. Fast forward a few decades, it is now the devil's own job to find a supermarket which still does sell, for example, Heinz Ketchup in a glass bottle. Oddly, and please do laugh as I did, the glass bottle is cheaper than its plastic squeezing cousin.

    Apropos of nothing: I just rinsed my Beswick Chicken before putting fresh eggs in. And, what do you know, Cro Magnon popped into my mind. Whilst I am pretty certain you do have one, you haven't - to my knowledge - yet covered the subject. Maybe an idea for one of your retro posts.

    U

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    1. If you type 'Lucky Lady' into the white search strip (top left), you will see our version of your Beswick Chichen. It is also cleaned regularly!

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  17. I was raised by depression era parents. Use it up, wear it out, make it do. We were taught to leave a place cleaner than we found it, this way back in the forties and fifties. It's carried on from generation to generation in the family. The children who must constantly drink carry metal water bottles. I do not know where that came from. Water from the tap. We use cloth bags. I just learned of paper trash bags, and am sourcing them, now. I don't see a solution to plastic shampoo bottles, but we buy most products wrapped in paper. I won't give up my phone.

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    1. I wasn't brought-up into any form of 'hardship', but even so there was a 'no waste' ethic that was very important. To me it simply seemed logical; and it still does.

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  18. Everywhere I walk with Tess I always find one or twoplastic things thrown aside - bottles, milk containers, sandwich cartons.
    There is such appalling waste apart from the effect upon wildlife.

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    1. If I find any plastic bottles etc on my walks, I either bring it home, or bury it (fag packets etc). I just wish the people who'd left it behind would do the same.

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  19. Unfortunately plastic in some forms or other pervades almost every aspect of our lives. I am one of the most optimistic people but even I cannot believe that a way out of the mess we are in will occur even in my children’s life time.

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    1. As the 'shopper' of the house, I am very conscious of what I buy, and it is depressing to note how impossible it is these days NOT to take home plenty of plastic. One just has to hope that when it's recycled, that they do it correctly.

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  20. Well done Cro, great post. Over the last three years Keith and I have done away with about 75% of all the disposables, including plastic, that we used to buy. We will recycle bags from the grocery over and over, to cover food, to carry eggs in from the barn, to carry scraps to chickens and then finally to the dumpster. Once aware of the issue we have an obligation to decrease our contributions to the problem.

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    1. Being 'aware' is the important bit. Once one understands the disaster we're creating for ourselves, then we can start to do our own little bit. Well done to you and Keith.

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