Thursday, 30 August 2012

Plastic, Recycling and Saving the Planet

Today is the last refuse collection in this area under the old recycling system.  We have been issued with a bewildering collection of new bins. 

Equally bewildering is the detailed list of what goes in each bin, when it will be collected, and what will happen if we fail to comply with these instructions.

Since I have no car, I am in the fortunate position of having somewhere to store this immense collection.  This is not the case with my neighbours.......Hmmm, interesting thought.

Looking at the new receptacles this morning it struck me that they are all to the last tiny one, made of plastic.

Now I am not a complete idiot (despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary), but a life-long hater of plastic, I cannot help wondering how we are helping the planet by manufacturing even more products of this awful, opaque, often grotesquely coloured material.

My house contains only the barest, most minimal and unavoidable items made of plastic.

When we were married, without a bean between us, I gave detailed instructions to everyone who asked, what would you like as a wedding present.  "Anything as long as it is not orange, and made of plastic"
Those who didn't ask, but were kind enough to give us gifts almost to a man/woman, gave us orange plastic kitchen, bathroom ware.  

Orange was 'the' colour that year, 1971, and I thanked them profusely and with John's complete agreement gave every single item but one away, as soon as was decently possible.

The one item we kept was a vegetable rack, which we were able to house in a large cupboard, I still have it, and use it regularly, hiding it from view immediately after.

Anything which can be made of glass or wood or other natural materials is, anything which cannot be made of anything but plastic is generally something I don't own.

Apart from its ugliness, dust attracting propensity, and apparent indestructibility, I find it aesthetically unpleasing and have a nightmare vision some centuries hence of man-made mountains of brightly hued 
poly something or other, choking the natural world to death.

Who will save us from this unnatural end?


  1. You would hate my bright orange plastic laundry basket which I use to carry washing from washing machine to outdoor clothes line. The colour was fashionable when I bought it in 1972. At least I haven't thrown it away, mainly because after 40 years wear it looks as if it's good for another 40! I'm also struggling with getting to grips with new recycling/rubbish collection arrangements - have fixed all the instructions to the fridge door with plastic coated fridge magenets.

  2. would be nice if the USA had more recycling and more rules about recycling...hate plastic, but like everything bad for oneself and the world I fear we're stuck with it till all the oil wells run dry!

  3. When I say we "gave away" all the unwanted orange gifts, I mean we took them to the Oxfam shop in Putney where we then lived. The only reason we kept the vegetable rack was that we could both use and hide it.
    When you bought your orange laundry basket the colour was still one year later very much the favourite, and you are so right about the lack of wear. Kind of my point really.
    I am still reading and re-reading my refuse collection instructions. I suppose we will get used to them eventually.

  4. Well Theanne, that may be sooner than we thought, if the terrible conflict in the Middle East continues.
    What did we do before plastic I wonder.?

  5. At least plastic usually doesn't break when dropped, which is why I still have my olive-green plastic vegetable basket after 40 years. I just missed the fashion for orange when I bought it. ;-) I think plastic is so popular because it's light and strong, cheap to make and easy to clean and it lasts and doesn't rust.

  6. Precisely Perpetua. So how do we get rid of it (think one olive-green plastic vegetable basket, multiplyed several million times)when there is more plastic than people?
    It may sound Orwellian,but so did 1984.

  7. I sympathise with all your dustbin problems.....the new rules and regs have been in place here for a couple of month and have created havoc with all the summer visitors...who have not had the benefit of the reading matter! threats have been issued by the dustbin men, one of whom told us it was our job to see to it that the visitors knew the rules! They now put them out properly but are seldom here to take them back in again! We do have fun on MOnday mornings!

  8. Deep joy! All part of life's rich pattern. (or at least that's what I try to tell myself Jean)

  9. I was browsing through blogs and got hold of yours. I think this is a much sorted text and I would like to follow up on this. Waste Plastic Recycling is the process of recovering scrap or waste and reprocessing it into useful product.

  10. Sudden and draconian measures to address the issue of plastic waste will not have the buy-in of all interested parties, as it is difficult to design and implement a working system that equitably allocates responsibility to all involved according to their contribution to this problem.

    Plastic Recycling

  11. Quite Vincent, but wouldn't it be nice to be God. just for a day. Problem solved!

  12. Such a nice blog. I really like the information provided regarding recycling plastic products. Hope to get some more information in future also.
    Recycle plastic scrap

  13. It's quite interesting to see one of my old blogs (August 2012) still getting some response.
    Sadly for me, the new uses of many-times recycled plastic still fails to address the problem of its ultimate disposal.
    After all whatever they do with it, it is still plastic.