A quote from The Graduate– “Plastics”

No doubt everyone has heard about the straw ban in California by now. While it seems futile to the point of being ridiculous it brings to the forefront of the mind that there is a serious problem with plastics. The straw ban therefore is not just another bogus eco-fad, even if it did originate in California.

There’re several islands of floating, swirling plastic debris in different parts of the world’s oceans and as the plastic deteriorates it falls to the bottom and becomes involved with the marine life food chains. Now, mercury isn’t the only thing of concern in sea food. So California takes the lead and of all the whimsical, fatuous and farcical legislation California passes I must say I have to agree with this one, but the punitive aspect is the joke. It’s not much and it hardly makes a difference but, by golly, it’s a start. And now that China is toning down its buying of trash from the USA we have a problem with what to do with our own debris. And it’s not that hard to fix.

The USA is 20th on the list of being responsible for 2% of the plastics that pollutes the oceans. As a rule we  are very good at cleaning up our messes. As I have read, China itself at 90%, and other developing countries, like India, are responsible the vast majority of the pelagic garbage which enters the oceans through the 10 major river systems of the world in India and China.

Which brings me to certain observations:  I see at Sam’s people going to the check out with flat dollies loaded with 20 cases of bottled water. Good grief what a marketing success bottled water is. I want to go scream in their ears, “WTH are you doing!” They wash their clothes and dishes in tap water, brush their teeth, let their kids swim in backyard (plastic) pools filled with the hose … and it’s not good enough to drink? For years now research has shown that municipal water is cleaner than bottled water. And then what happens to the empty containers? Landfills is what happens. Once it’s buried UV light can’t break it down.

  But do not despair; I have the solution: Plastic credits (I jest).

  I don’t use straws, drink bottled water, buy beer, drink milk and the plastic we consume goes to the recycle center which I hear is going to close because of the Chinese program they call Green Fence.

So I and everyone else will be issued plastic credits. And when someone goes to the store and buys 20 cases of bottled water they will use up their credits quickly and run out. Same with fast food plastics. Then I can sell my plastic credits to them so they can plunge themselves once again into the mountain of garbage of their own making. I really am joking around using credits as a solution. It’s just as stupid as carbon credits.

Now plastic is strong, handy, convenient, lightweight; it’s pretty much indispensable to modern life.

The only practical way to keep using it it to recycle. Don’t use new petroleum to make the stuff. And if some types of plastic is undesirable for recycling then don’t make it. Construction products from garbage are on the rise. And plastic road paving materials prove more resilient than conventional products.

But like climate change, if indeed it does exist anthropogenically, it’s a sure thing garbage is man-made, and if you can’t in some way force the countries that are responsible for 90 % of air pollution and ocean pollution to change their dirty habits nothing will get done until it gets to the critical stage  … or war breaks out over it.

  What it all reduces down to is consumerism. If we don’t buy it, manufacturors will change.

Drink tap water, y’all.

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