Friday, 3 March 2017
You've probably heard of the Great Pacific Garbage patch/vortex and the fact that it's mostly comprised of plastic; the fact that seabirds are mistaking bits of plastic bobbing on the ocean surface for food, feeding it to their babies and killing them; and the fact that plastic never fully biodegrades. Oh, and it's mostly made from oil, you know - that thing we're using up at a rapid pace and going to war over.
Yet, every day we consume and throw away plastic, probably without even realising it. Once you start to think about it, though, you realise with a creeping horror that plastic - like an alien species just waiting for us to turn our backs - has slowly take over our lives. And worse; many types of plastic can't be recycled. What am I talking about, and what can we do about it? Well:
1) Plastic stirrers - why does this tiny little piece of plastic need to be made, packaged and shipped somewhere just so I can stir my coffee with it for about 3 seconds before throwing it in the bin for eternity? Petrol/gas stations and take-away coffee shops: I'm looking at you. It's bad enough that take-away coffee cups aren't recyclable without adding this to the mix. Some places carry wooden stirrers, which are much better, but you can never be sure.
Solution: carry a spoon with you in your handbag.
2) Plastic knives/forks/spoons - they come with take-aways, with meals bought in shops (also in plastic tubs, usually) or even, to my great dismay, in some restaurants. I usually keep them in my bag for weeks, telling myself I'll use them again instead of throwing them away, until they end up snapping somehow.
Solution: carry cutlery with you and make sure you tell the servers at these establishments that you do not want them. Preferably, don't order take-out, because it inevitably comes in loads of plastic packaging.