Sunday, August 28, 2011

Plastic does not make perfect

I have been trying to remove as many plastic based items in and around my kitchen to replace with organic materials as much as possible, and it has been no easy thing! Its only when we really look with our eyes open, that we seriously see just how much plastic is filling our everyday lives (well, mine at least). From plastic utensils to plastic containers, plastic is everywhere. And that makes me shudder.

You see, in almost all cases, plastic does not biodegrade. It photodegrades, and that is a very scary end result. In simple terms, plastic will eventually (and by eventually I mean that the process can take hundreds of years) break down into small plastic pieces, and never move on from there. These small pieces might then end up pretty much anywhere on our planet, resulting in the death of many animals and sea creatures. It’s actually estimated that over  1 million marine animals and birds die each year from ingesting plastic. Eek!

5gyres says it quite perfectly:

‘ Take a look around you- most of what we eat, drink, or use in any way comes packaged in petroleum plastic- a material designed to last forever, yet used for products that we then throw away. This throwaway mentality is a relatively recent phenomenon. Just a generation ago, we packaged our products in reusable or recyclable materials – glass, metals, and paper, and designed products that would last. Today, our landfills and beaches are awash in plastic packaging, and expendable products that have no value at the end of their short lifecycle. The short-term convenience of using and throwing away plastic products carries a very inconvenient long-term truth. These plastic water bottles, cups, utensils, electronics, toys, and gadgets we dispose of daily are rarely recycled in a closed loop. We currently recover only 5% of the plastics we produce. What happens to the rest of it? Roughly 50% is buried in landfills, some is remade into durable goods, and much of it remains “unaccounted for”, lost in the environment where it ultimately washes out to sea.‘

We ARE living in a throwaway culture, which absolutely blows my mind. I mean, apart from the fact that we are literally surrounded by people in need of everything everywhere, we North-Americans are killing our planet much quicker than any other culture or place in the world. How ridiculous is that? Plastic, which is basically designed to be with us forever is being thrown out, and even if recycled, only a tiny bit of it is recoverable!  This makes me want to scream every time I see someone buy a bottle of water and throw it out in the garbage two minutes later.

So following this research, I decided I wanted to quit being a part of this vicious cycle as much as possible. I want to literally rid my kitchen as much as possible of anything and everything plastic. For example, I am getting rid of plastic cutting boards and using only my glass board instead, and trying to replace my plastic cooking tools with ones made of metal or wood. This still leaves me with a dilemma or two. One, what do I do with the things I replace? Do I recycle them or donate them? And two, what about containers, and pots and pans with plastic handles? I would much rather use a container than a Ziploc bag, and apart from iron skillets, I haven’t seen any pots/pans with handles made of other material than plastic (apart from the long metal handles). Hmm.. anyone has any ideas?

Be the change you want to see in the world. - Mahatma Ghandi

1 comment:

  1. I hear you and I share your dilemmas! My favourite resource for plastic-free living (or plastic-lite in our case) is this blog: