Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Plastics are Forever


Did you know that plastics are forever? I'm sure you do.

Alan Weisman's chapter on 'Polymers are Forever' is a gripping and devastating read. Here is the excerpt.
There was no reason to examine years prior to World War II, because until then plastic barely existed, except for the Bakelite used in telephones and radios, appliances so durable they had yet to enter the waste chain. Disposable plastic packaging hadn’t yet been invented.
By the 1960s, however, they were seeing increasing numbers of increasing kinds of plastic particles.
Sheer nylon stockings revolutionized the apparel industry, and helped to drive acceptance of plastic as a defining achievement of modern life
After 1945, a torrent of products the world had never seen roared into general consumption: acrylic textiles, Plexiglass, polyethylene bottles, polypropylene containers, and “foam rubber” polyurethane toys. Most world-changing of all was transparent packaging, including self-clinging wraps of polyvinyl chloride and polyethylene, which let us see the foods wrapped inside them and kept them preserved longer than ever before.
If you think 'The World Without Us' is another book of horror filled with apocalyptic threats ("Go green now. Or else!") , it isn't. There is this fun and interactive site that shows you why. Nobody listens to threats anyway. What are your thoughts?

7 comments:

  1. My jaw dropped watching that first video. Devastating. I know these things happen, but seeing those plastic caps inside the decaying body of a bird is alarming...

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  2. I hate it when people ask for a Plastik Tüte when they come and get a travelbrochure ! We try to give them as less as possible from these plastics and we see that some already have the habit of bringing their own. I always have one in my purse !

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  3. In our family we collect plastic caps and donate them. With the money from those caps they buy wheelchairs for disabled person.

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  4. Nice post,Juanita!!
    I'm thinking of that and ask to everyone on blogging. But too delicate to talk about.
    also I'll post another time.

    It is not perfectly to bring own bags (we call it 'eco-bag') at shopping in Japan.Some people do care,but some people do not care. it is asamed.

    Grobal warming is quite serious.

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  5. I am old enough to remember the days when supermarkets were few and far between and shopping was done at the appropriate shops, butchers, greengrocers etc. The meat was wrapped in paper, just paper, veggies and fruit were weighed and then plonked into your bag or basket, altogether, higgledypiggledy. Milk was bought from the dairy shop's big tank and taken home in a lidded milk can. Sweets were bought from big jars at the sweet shop and put into paper bags. I am the first to admit that I buy meat from the supermarket, wrapped, and food in unnecessary packaging, I wish I was more disciplined and bought more from markets. We do in France, but farmers markets here tend to be so much more expensive.
    I am glad though that at least a certain amount of plastic is being recycled these days. We recycle everything we possibly can.

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  6. I've seen several similar documentaries about plastics and other environmental pollution and it's gut-wrenching to see how the earth is suffering. What gets me is that everything leads back to petroleum - until that mess is sorted out (ie replaced with alternative energy) and people start to (pre-) recycle, the pollution will only increase. I'm appalled hat we as a human race have let (plastic) pollution come this far.

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  7. Wow, the video.
    We are glad we recycle, but wish everyone cared about the earth.
    --JB

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