Sunday, July 26, 2009

plastic shopping

I ended up in Target the other day to look for some stationery for class, not really knowing what I was signing on for. I got clobbered in the brain by "Australia's biggest toy sale" marketing and almost run over by a woman with her trolley piled high with plastic fun for her children. The lay-by line was made about five times longer than it usually is, and there was red tape along the aisles marked 'toy sale line'. As I walked along I only spotted one item made of something other than plastic.

As well as making me annoyed with the consumerist state of the world, it got me thinking about the effects of plastic. And I did some research. I think we generally know that manufacturing plastic is a not-good for the environment. But here are some reasons to try to avoid buying or using plastic that you may not have thought about:
  • Plastic is made from fossil fuel, which is rapidly depleting. What we're going to do when we've used it all up seriously scares me. There's more gone than left, in just the short time we've used it extensively, and our consumption of it is growing. We depend on fuel for things we don't really need, but we also depend on it for food and safety. Without power for agricultural machinery we can't feed our massive population. (Tim has been reading up on this a lot as he's interested in doing environmental law, and the reality of it is freaking me out.)
  • In 2006 in the US alone, 30 million tonnes of plastic were disposed of, most of which was packaging.
  • Degradeable plastics might not actually degrade upon disposal. They require appropriate conditions, like exposure to light for example. And if they do degrade, they release the greenhouse gas methane.
Check out this helpful link for what you can do about it. My advice (which you can probably guess from reading this blog) is to buy less, and what you do buy, try to find it second-hand first. Also check out the Life Less Plastic blog, it's a good read.

(As a side note, I got the stationery I needed from Tim's mum's unwanteds. Didn't have to buy a thing!)


emily said...

Thanks for sharing. Although we do know about it,but seldom we try to put an effort in buying less 'plastic'...must keep reminding ourselves.

SoHo Accessories said...

As Emily said, we try to buy less plastic also. I wish that the manufacturers would consider less plastic in their packaging.