Friday, January 13, 2012

Simple Suggestion #106... Rethink the plastic in your life

Even though Edmonton has state of the art waste management and recycling facilities that ensure that almost everything even remotely useful from our city's waste stream gets reduced, reused, recycled, recovered, repurposed and almost every other R word you can think of, I still hesitate when it comes to buying anything plastic or otherwise petrochemically-related. Plastic is becoming a problem in many places in the world, and honestly, it's not a great solution to much of anything. When something made of plastic breaks, it's pretty much unfixable (without subjecting yourself to fumes or other toxins), and let's face it... most plastic, when it reaches a certain age, tends to break.

Easily.

And often.

And then what do we do with it? In Edmonton, we can recycle most plastics, but there are many places that don't.

Besides that, the making and recycling of plastic (and other petrochemical products) requires a lot of energy (which is linked to emissions that have to do with global climate change)... If we have to live with emissions to create our dishes, storage containers, furnishings, toys, clothing, etc., why not choose more environmentally friendly and biodegradable solutions when we can, and avoid plastic altogether? Why not support our potters, carpenters, artisans, delicatessen owners, etc., who can provide us what we need without plastic getting in the way? We can also use cloth rather than plastic bags to do some of our shopping at garage sales and thrift stores, instead of supporting the consumer markets that push plastics on us whether we need/want them or not. Especially single use plastic, as you'll see in the eight minute video below.

Richard and Judith Lang are a couple of artists who do a lot of beachcombing on Kehoe beach at Point Reyes National Seashore, just north of San Francisco. They have created art that demonstrates some of the more compelling reasons to rethink the role of plastic in our lives. Check it out, and check out of plastic living.


One Plastic Beach from Tess Thackara on Vimeo.

P.S. Looking for more Simple Suggestions? Try here.

1 comment:

  1. At our local book sale in small town NZ, I picked up the Plastic book, a toxic love story & read about the Langs. These people are true ocean legends, creating wonders. I have been picking up rubbish off many beaches in various southern shores for a long time, but have been unable to use alot of the pieces I have collected. It always puzzles me, when people see me & say what a wonderful job I am doing...
    Do they really care?
    We must all be like the Langs & do our bit where ever we may journey esp. in our own area.
    Thoughts from Fiordland NZ

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