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War on Pollution

SystemSystem Moderator
edited February 2019 in General Banter
This discussion was created from comments split from the random announcements thread. I figured it's a topical subject, huge enough for a thread of its own...


  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited February 2019

    In my line of work (public retail/food industry) part of my job is to provide a customer with a plastic carrier bag, when asked to.
    Can I say, it honestly creates a resentful knot in my stomach, every time I do?
    Apparently, they are 'biodegradable' but that just doesn't help... on more than one level...

    'Biodegradable' plastic, is a product with its own mountain of problems. First of all, some of the elements and components contained can exceed safety levels.

    ...the US study found that one brand contained "very high levels of lead and cobalt", raising questions about the toxicity of the leftovers.

    (from article linked below).

    Secondly, in order to biodegrade successfully (it can take anything up to 2 years!) the bag must be exposed to light, air, certain levels of humidity and temperature. A mish-mash, hit-and-miss combination of those factors means that such bags are certainly as dangerous - if not more so - than ordinary bags.

    (Read here.)

    (The above link is dated 2009. I'm not sure if all the contained links it refers to and provides, are all still viable, themselves.)

    I mentioned in a post some time ago, how I am personally combatting supermarket excess packaging. One tiny drop in the ocean. It's a minute gesture, and may not make a difference, but it does to me!

    What can we collectively do, to combat this disastrous situation?

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think The liminal space Veteran

    I bring my own bags, but even then the cashier will sometimes want to put meat or some other small item in its own separate plastic bag or hopefully at least ask. I have to speak up and say just put it on top or I don't need a separate bag or something to that effect. Also, if your supermarket offers items in bulk that is a good way to cut down on packaging. Try to reuse bags as much as possible, I reuse paper bags for my recycling and plastic as lunch bags. Here in the US you can bring in plastic bags to stores for recycling rather than throwing them away as well.

    In my professional life using plastic is pretty essential to control dust and debris. I use reusable tarps most of the time but for some things they will get overloaded and need to be washed or replaced which isn't much more environmental, if at all. But I do use as light of a plastic as possible (.35 or .7 mil thick rather than 1 mil or higher)

    Recently some young smart person came up with an invention that could clean up the ocean's plastic relatively inexpensively. Apparently it has hit some snags, but should be fixable.

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I know there are some things which are made of plastic, and are arguably an improvement on the items in a previous existence, manufactured in degradable materials (like tarpaulins, for example) but I get angry when I discover things like this, however much commercial sense it's suppose to make... There is now so much waste in the form of household appliances, and some components can't be re-cycled, because they're dangerous...

    I repeat what I have already made into a habit for myself; I take all my own containers to the supermarket, and transfer goods from their packaging into my own storage containers. I did this yesterday: Frozen fries, frozen peas, chicken, frankfurters, cheese, apples, bananas and lemons, and some meat products all got taken out of their throwaway packaging, and put into my jars and boxes. I even used two old washing-up-liquid bottles as frozen cold-packs (3/4 fill with water, freeze overnight. leave the flip tops open in the freezer to allow for water expansion). When the cashier asked me "Where's all the food? Why is this empty?" I explained what I had done. I packed away, paid and was about to leave, when she then asked, about the 7 empty food packages, "What am I suppose to do with these, then?" I replied, "That's YOUR problem." and left. The customer after me, grinned, and shrugged his shoulders at the cashier. She didn't look happy. I didn't care. Hopefully, it will prompt her to tell a supervisor or manager, and they too, will actually be powerless to do anything, other than reflect on the matter....

    if we want to leave less of a footprint, we need to wear better shoes.

  • FoibleFullFoibleFull Canada Veteran

    I attended a lecture by (I forget which Tibetan Rimpoche) called "When Snow White Mountains Wear Black Hats". The gist of his lecture came down to this: in the spirit of Buddhist compassion, we need to protect the environment so that ALL sentient being can live well.
    (the title of the lecture comes from some old buddhist text)

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