Archive for the Illegal Dumping Category

African Plastic Ban – Something We Can All Learn From

Posted in America, Britain, England, Environment, European Union, Illegal Dumping, Nature, News, Oceans, Plastic with tags , , , , on 13/04/2015 by floroy1942

I watched with interest a news item on France 24 channel yesterday that should point the way for the whole world. The headline is: Plastic is banned in Rwanda.

Good Night Out Last Night - What Did You Do With Your McDonald's Hamburger Box?

Good Night Out Last Night – What Did You Do With Your McDonald’s Hamburger Box?

Non-biodegradable plastic has for years been a plague on our planet and it is without doubt time that its use is severely limited. Our towns, cities and countryside, and more important our oceans, are becoming clogged with the stuff. Everywhere you go these days you will find plastic bags, cartons, bottles, wrappers and the like littering our streets, our waterways and the seas.

It would seem that many manufacturers cannot think past plastic. If you buy even fruit or vegetables in a supermarket these days, chances are they will come in a plastic tray with a plastic film wrapper. WHY! If the goods need to be in a tray, which I don’t believe they do for these are purely for presentation, then why not a cardboard one as in the old days?

High Winds - Who Knows Where It Will End Up?

High Winds – Who Knows Where It Will End Up?

In Britain alone a total of eight billion plastic bags were handed out to customers by supermarkets and shops in 2012. Add that to the rest of Europe and it comes out at trillions per year. You should ask yourself how many of yours ended up in the wrong place because you didn’t care!

Up to the sixties everything came wrapped in paper, cardboard or a derivative, and everyone was happy. Today it all comes down to profit because plastic is cheaper.

Eventually To End Up In The Oceanic Gyre?

Eventually To End Up In The Oceanic Gyre?

Here in Marbella you do not need to walk far on the beaches before you come across a discarded plastic bag, water bottle or wrapper. We have become so careless with waste disposal these days that even though there may be a litter bin a few metres away, it is too much trouble for many to dispose of litter properly.

As I have reported in previous posts (https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/welcome-to-plastic-island/) plastic is steadily clogging up our oceans to the extent that there are country sized accumulations in all our oceans called gyres.

I NEVER Throw These Away Without Cutting Open All The Loops First!

I NEVER Throw These Away Without Cutting Open All The Loops First!

Plastic is breaking down in sunlight into micro-plastic that is eaten by fish and sea birds, and much of the fish ends up on our dinner table. What most people seem to forget is that normal plastic is non-biodegradable! It will still litter our planet in one thousand years after it is carelessly thrown away!

- And This Is Why!

– And This Is Why!

It was reported recently that even the Mediterranean Sea now has huge gyres of plastic that are steadily being eaten by the fish. If it continues, it will become a major problem for the extensive fishing industry in countries bordering the Mediterranean as in other parts of the world.

Says It All!

Rwanda – Says It All!

It is for these reasons that I applaud the actions taken by the Rwandan government to ban non-biodegradable  plastics in the country. Top of the list is plastic shopping bags, for these have received an outright ban. The people are now being forced to use paper bags to carry the shopping.

Passengers arriving at Kigali Airport are now searched for plastic, and any found is confiscated. If you have a package or suitcase wrapped in plastic it is cut off and confiscated before you can enter the country. The same goes for the country’s borders.

Refreshing To See A Nice Clean City

Refreshing To See A Nice Clean City

It has been reported by people travelling through Rwanda that now-a-days everything is a lot cleaner. No longer is there the spectacle of plastic bags blown around on the streets and in the countryside, and no longer are the trees festooned with plastic caught on branches. A lesson for us all in our supposedly ‘civilized’ world.

Europe vainly tried a couple of years ago to limit the use of supermarket plastic bags by charging for them, locally its ten cents, but that was a waste of time. You still see people leaving the supermarkets with a trolley full to the brim with shopping in a dozen or more plastic bags.

Litter On The Street -  A Regular Occurence In Europe

Litter On The Street – A Regular Occurence In Europe

In Europe as in most western countries it is a common sight to see shopping bags or other plastic items littering the streets, they are everywhere. In many cases these items find their way into rivers and streams and pollute our water supply, but who the hell cares, its only a plastic bag.

Few people realize the damage that is being done to our environment by discarded plastic, and sad to say, many don’t care anyway. Unfortunately it is not about the here and now, but what we are doing to future generations with our careless plastic pollution.

What Would You Think If This Ended Up On Your Dinner Table?

What Would You Think If This Ended Up On Your Dinner Table?

It is time for the rest of the world, in particular the richer nations to follow this example set by Rwanda and enforce an outright ban on plastic carrier bags as a start, and then move to other plastic wrapping materials. It may cost a little more, but at least it will be a step in the right direction towards saving our planet.

Roy.

The Curse Of The Plastic Bag Returns

Posted in Atlantic, Britain, England, Environment, Europe, Government, Illegal Dumping, Insanity, Modern World, Oceans, Pacific, Parliament, Plastic, Plastic Rubbish, Toxic Waste, UK, USA with tags , , , , , , on 29/07/2011 by floroy1942

Despite government campaigns, environmental group actions, and other publicity on the dangers of supermarket plastic bags over the past five years, their use is once again on the rise.

People are turning back to the ‘one-use’ bag instead of the multi-use ones now available. The consumption of these items has risen from 6.1 billion in 2009 to 6.4 billion last year. Not a significant rise you might think, and certainly better than the 10.7 billion bags used in 2006.

The Infamous Plastic Bag

Why shoppers are going back to their old ways and ignoring the danger to the environment is to date a mystery. It would seem people no longer believe in doing what they can to save the planet from pollution, despite the discovery of the Plastic Islands in our oceans. Recycling Minister Lord Henley has suggested that if the current situation continues there may be need for legislation. Personally, I would think the sooner the better!

Although this would not solve the problem completely, for we still use plastic rubbish bin liners for example, it would go a long way to cutting down on the mountains of plastic that are currently polluting our world.

Plastic Bin Liners In Use

This information shows clearly that people are not willing to change their ways, and the supermarkets and retailers too are not interested, despite earlier promises. Therefore I would say legislation is imperative. Laws must be passed to outlaw plastic bags once and for all time from the High Street, and replace them with the old-time paper or cloth bag.

Environmentally Harmless And Recyclable

Paper bags were good enough for generations following Francis Wolle’s invention of the first paper bag making machine in 1852, and everyone used them prior to the introduction of plastic bags by Swedish engineer Sten Gustaf Thulin in the early 1960’s. Since that day the number of plastic bags in circulation has soured and billions are used every day throughout the world.

The largest users by far are the Chinese, but they at least are taking positive steps to cut their usage. Laws introduced in 2008 banned single-use bags and has received a positive response from shoppers.

One side effect of getting rid of billions of plastic bags will be the huge saving made in oil from which they are made. It is estimated the measures taken by China have reduced its oil consumption by around 3 million tonnes of oil per annum. That’s an awful lot of oil! So, what if the ban was total and  world-wide?

Animal Life And Plastic

In order to cut down the massive pollution caused by these items, it is clear that plastic shopping bags should be consigned to history as one of man’s greatest environmental mistakes. Their use, reusable or not, can no longer be justified in today’s world. We have enough pollution problems, and let’s face it, would we really bemoan the loss of the plastic bag when we have so many environmentally friendly alternatives? I think not!

My wife and I keep several cloth shopping bags in the boot of the car and never accept the plastic alternative from the supermarket. It is such a small step, but if more people did that we would not need the plastic bag any more. Obviously, many are either too lazy to take such steps, or just don’t care, which is a shame. It is for this reason I believe legislation in this area is desperately needed.

Headed For The Plastic Island

Shoppers, like most other people, always look to the easiest option and don’t care what happens so long as it doesn’t intrude into own little ‘world’. Perhaps though we should all stop to think about what we are doing to our planet for the sake of our children.

What we do today will have a great impact on their lives!

Food for thought perhaps?

Associated Posts:

https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/welcome-to-plastic-island/

https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2010/03/07/the-plastic-island-part-2/

Roy.

Going Green – The Way Back

Posted in Atlantic, Britain, England, Environment, Europe, Illegal Dumping, Insanity, Modern World, Oceans, Old Age Pensioner, Pacific, Plastic, Plastic Rubbish, Senior Citizen, UK, USA with tags , , , , on 25/07/2011 by floroy1942

 It is a fact that many people think the older generations did nothing to look after the planet on which we live because we were not ‘eco’ friendly. I am here to tell those people how wrong they are. I received a very interesting e-mail from my brother over the weekend all about being ‘green’.

It is a fact that we seniors did not have separate waste bins for plastic, glass etc and we did not run our cars on biofuels, but did that make us less ‘eco’ friendly? I think not as the following will amply demonstrate.

In the line at the store, the cashier told an older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. 

The Weekly Shopping

The woman apologized to him and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”
The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today.  Your generation did not care enough to save our environment.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

The Glass Milk Bottle-Reusable

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over.  So they really were recycled.

But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Stairs - Remember Them?

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw-away kind.  We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry the clothes.  Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that old lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Just One Per Home

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. 

In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. 

Why Not Old Newspaper?

When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. 
Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power.  We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Free Water For Anyone Thirsty And No Plastic

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. 
We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. 

The Modern Mixer - Is It Really Essential?

We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances.  And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then? ”

(My sincere thanks to the anonymous writer of this piece)

So you see, things were in many ways much better then than they are now. Consequently, I don’t think members of today’s generation have the right to say us old folks are to blame for today’s eco-problems, because actually, they have done it to themselves.

Admittedly, it was not because we thought about the environment as such, but more the fact that we just did not have all the things people have today. Technology has taken huge strides since the 40’s and 50’s, and we have to look there, and at ourselves, for the problems with our environment today. Many of the technological advances that have been made serve only to make us more lazy and increase the level of unemployment, so is that a good thing, do we really need these things?

Our Planets Floating Garbage Islands

There are many we could well do without, like escalators and powered grass mowers just to use two examples from the above piece. We could perhaps reduce the amount of plastic each of us uses in our daily lives, like supermarket carrier bags, plastic cups and bottles. After all, what is wrong with paper bags and glass bottles  that can be reused?

So you see, the current generation is more to blame for the state of our world than the old folks. Next time you buy an electric apparatus take a moment to think; Do I really need this?

It would seem the only way forward for us to be totally in tune with our world, is to take a few steps back and live like we used to.

Roy.

Death Knell For Plastic Bags?

Posted in Atlantic, Britain, England, Environment, Europe, Government, Illegal Dumping, Insanity, Modern World, Oceans, Pacific, Parliament, Plastic, Plastic Rubbish, Spain, Toxic Waste, UK, UN, United Nations, USA with tags , , , on 31/12/2010 by floroy1942

Ever since the common plastic shopping bag was first introduced en masse by high street stores and supermarkets in the mid-1970’s, it has taken a firm grip on our lives and environment.

The 'Essential' Plastic Shopping Bag

Now, the Italian government has announced an outright ban on these everyday items from tomorrow, January 1st, and although it is the first European country to do so, it is not the first world-wide. Eritrea, Rwanda and Somalia banned them as far back as 2005, followed by Tanzania a year later. Strange that it should be African nations that first took positive action against this danger to our environment!

Bag Production - A Major Industry

It is not until you get into numbers that the impact of these shopping aids becomes apparent. The Italian people for example use a staggering 20 billion bags a year, which is about 300 per person. Across Europe the estimate is 100 billion! In 2008, when China introduced a levy for plastic bags, they were using 3 billion a day!

While many countries have over the years introduced a surcharge on plastic shopping bags in an effort to cut consumption, it has been of little use in curbing our habits. There seems little doubt that only an outright ban such as in Italy will work, and it is up to other countries to follow suit. Italian shoppers will now have to use bio-degradable, cloth or paper bags.

Plastic In The City Of Naples

Some of the more developed nations have introduced recycling as the answer to the plastic menace, and although some relief has been seen in the number of plastic bags in city dumps, it has had minimal effect overall. When you consider it, we even add to the mountain by putting all our rubbish in plastic sacks anyway!

There is little doubt that even the very disposal of plastic bags costs a huge amount of energy. According to the Italian environmental organization Legambiente, the ban on bags will reduce the CO2 emissions for Italy by 180,000 tonnes a year.

The Plastic Raw Material

Plastic, as we all know is a by-product of oil, and in 2007 it was estimated that from the world’s oil production of around 84,5 million barrels a year, some 4% goes into the production of all types of plastic. While this may seem an insignificant amount, it should not be forgotten that another 4% is used in the energy required to produce the final product.

Oil, like many other sources of power, will run out eventually as the planets reserves are used up. At the current state of man’s development, life as we know it would cease entirely without oil and its by-products.

As you read this, take just a second and think about all the devices in your home that have plastic parts and would cease to function without it. Once having established that, spread your mind wider and look outside your immediate environment at all the things in your town or city that cannot work without plastic.

 

Also The Cost Of Plastic Production

We as a race, would be thrown back to the time of the horse and our own two feet, to say nothing of candles for light and open fire for heat. It’s scary to say the least

 

A Plastic Bags Best Friend - The Supermarket

When shopping, my wife and I always end up with at least five or six bags from the local supermarket, even though we always ask the cashier to pack the items into as few bags as possible. Like many supermarkets, they are on special hooks that allow the cashier to operate as quickly as possible, and it is very common for them to exit the system containing only one or two items.

 

Maybe Not Quite As Strong - But Otherwise.....

Prior to the introduction of the plastic shopping bag, people used paper carrier bags which by their very nature were biodegradable. Now, we poison the earth and oceans with an item that does not degrade, and becomes toxic. Discarded plastic will be with us for centuries, and there is not much we can do about it.

Today we seem incapable of living without this lowly item, but as the discovery of the Pacific Plastic Island clearly shows, we must change our habits. The size of a large country, it is reservedly estimated to contain 100 million tons of floating plastic. I refer you to one of my previous blogs on the subject.

(You will need to cut and paste the link into your browser)

https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/

welcome-to-plastic-island/

 

When We And Our Children Are Dead, It Will Still Be Here!

While doing research for this article I came across an interesting video that describes the life of a plastic shopping bag. It was made by Ramin Bahrami and although somewhat romanticised, gives some insight into the life of a shopping bag made of plastic.

http://futurestates.tv/episodes/plastic-bag

With the exception of a few countries where a proportion is recycled, they all end up in rubbish tips, and sadly, in the oceans of the world. Perhaps it is time for this environmental problem to be handled by the United Nations, who could if they can agree, do something positive for our planet by introducing a world-wide ban on these items.

 

Guaranteed Not Part Of A Six-Pack

Before I finish let me highlight the tragic effects of our plastic rubbish is having on the animal population of our planet.

 

Nice Scarf? Not Really. Just Another Creature Suffering.

There is evidence enough of the cruel way in which many birds and animals die trapped in our plastic garbage. If we saw it with our own eyes we would call it sadistic, but never think about what can happen each time we throw away a plastic bag or six pack holder. So far as the latter is concerned, I always snip open each circle with the scissors before discarding it.

The cost to the environment is incalculable, but future generations will have to deal with our excesses of today.

Roy.

The Plastic Island Part 2

Posted in Environment, Illegal Dumping, Oceans, Toxic Waste with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 07/03/2010 by floroy1942

Ocean Plastic

On the 22 February (Welcome to Plastic Island) I reported on the huge islands of floating plastic rubbish that pollute our world seas, and today more information has come to light. It would seem the problem is far bigger than first thought, as it has now been determined the patch of floating plastic in the Pacific is now twice the size of the US State of Texas, and increasing rapidly. This means the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ as it is now called, extends now for 1,392,400 sq/km and that is about six-and-a-half times the size of Great Britain and almost 1% of the entire ocean.

Your Beach?

But I hear you say, 1% of the largest ocean on the planet is not much, but the size is increasing rapidly with every passing year. Should it continue to increase at its present rate, by the year 2050 you may well be able to walk from Hawaii to the American mainland. Walk along any beach after the winter storms and you will find it littered with plastic rubbish, and then imagine this is but an infinitesimal fraction of the rubbish littering our oceans.

Imagine the Ocean Like This

Beginning just 500 miles off the Californian coast, this area is now the largest conglomeration of rubbish on the planet, with an estimated 100,000,000 tons of bottles, plastic bags, flip flops, shampoo bottles, plastic swimming pools, children’s toys, plastic cups and tyres among other things. If its made of plastic you will find it there. Among the debris can be found items with Chinese and Japanese markings, which show some of it has travelled the entire width of the Pacific before being caught up in the vortex, or gyre.

The area is so clogged with plastic that it resembles more a thick soup than water, and much of the older rubbish floats just below the surface because it has been broken down by the sun. Most worrying to scientists, is plastic very often contains toxic chemicals that can have a devastating effect on fish stocks.

Death by Plastic

Considering that 60% of all fish caught in all the oceans comes from the Pacific, this could have an alarming effect on the economies of many countries in the future. Fish and seabirds exists on the tiny plankton that abound in the world’s oceans, but the catastrophic fact about these ocean garbage patches is, that once the plastic is broken down and reduced in size by the sun, it often resembles food to the fish and birds. In the contaminated areas and their surroundings, the level of plastic pellets is six times higher than the plankton. Sampling recently revealed a single fish had ingested 26 pieces of plastic and there is little doubt this debris will eventually work its way into the food chain, if it hasn’t already.

Ocean Rubbish Gyres

Also disturbing, is a similar plastic vortex which has been found in the Central Atlantic Ocean with the high probability of another being in the southern part, plus one in the Indian Ocean. Oceanographers are convinced more will be discovered in time. It does not matter from which point you throw a plastic bottle into the sea, at some point in the future it will end up in one of these plastic dumps in mid ocean. Plastic does not degrade like most other materials, once its made its here forever, with the only successful means of getting rid of it being burning. The trouble there is we are then contaminating the air with the toxic content.

A team of volunteers from the Kaisai Conservation Project intend to send two ships to the area in an attempt to find out if this plastic waste can be turned into fuel. I for one hope this project turns out to be successful, and that soon we see ships trawling the seas collecting this rubbish and cleaning up our most precious asset from whence all life came.

If you are interested in knowing more, I would recommend the following YouTube video:

Until the next time – and remember, we only have one world!!!

Roy.

Swim in the Med, and Glow in the Dark!

Posted in Illegal Dumping, Mafia, Radioactive Waste, Toxic Waste with tags , , , , on 16/09/2009 by floroy1942

It never ceases to amaze me how low some people will stoop in worship of money. One of the most horrific cases of pure greed unfolded today, when it was announced that members of the Calabrian Mafia had been deliberately sinking ships full of toxic and radioactive waste in the Mediterranean Sea.

In response to a Mafia informant, who claimed to have set explosive charges to sink a ship loaded with toxic and radioactive waste, a robotic camera has been to the bed of the Mediterranean some 18 miles off the south west coast of Italy. The robot found and photographed yellow barrels clearly marked ‘Toxic Waste’ lying alongside the intact wreck.

The same informant stated he had personally blown up two other ships containing toxic and radioactive materials.

The disposal of these materials is, by necessity, a very tightly controlled business, but there are many who see bypassing these laws and dumping the material illegally as a lucrative business.

It has been rumoured for years that the Mafia had gotten involved in this filthy trade as a way of making easy money. Officials have said that should samples taken from the wreck prove positive, a search will be made for a further 30 vessels sunk with their cargoes over recent years by the Mafia.

I am well aware of what some people consider ‘acceptable’ practices to make money, you can’t get away from it these days, but to do this without a thought as to what they are doing to the environment is to say the least, unthinkable!

The fact that the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean have been used as a dumping ground for decades is bad enough, but in the ‘Med’, being a semi-closed sea, the results would be catastrophic for future generations.

Already the ‘Med’ has to absorb 650 million tons of sewage, 129,000 tons of mineral oil, 60,000 tons of mercury, 3,800 tons of lead and 36,000 tons of phosphates annually.

A 1994 study of the seabed around Spain, France and Italy using trawl nets, revealed an average of 1,935 objects of debris per square kilometre. Of this 76% was plastic, and of that, 94% consisted of plastic bags.

Pollution in the Eastern Med, which can be attributed to oil tankers using the Suez Canal, has already killed off all the coral reefs (and the life it supported) off the coasts of Egypt and Israel. Must we now do the same thing to the rest of the Mediterranean?

Has pure greed now reached proportions where we will deliberately poison the entire 2.5 million square kilometres of the Mediterranean? For What! An few thousand lousy Dollars?

Although the ‘Med’ is a semi-closed sea, through the Straits of Gibtaltar two mighty currents flow opposite each other. One flows from the Atlantic into the “Med’, and the other in the opposite direction. This ensures, over a very long period of time, that the water is refreshed. The only problem is, we are polluting it at a far greater rate than the Atlantic current can cope with.

If we continue on our present course, in a few hundred years you will not even be able to approach the shoreline because of the stink. And now, to top off all that, these senseless Mafia idiots are polluting the waters with radioactive waste.

If they have indeed sunk 30 cargo ships loaded with radioactive and toxic waste, that means we have literally hundreds, perhaps thousands, of tons of this deadly cocktail lying on the bottom waiting for the salt water to corrode through the barrels and release it into the water, where it will then be spread far and wide by the currents.

If that becomes a reality, your beach kit will comprise of, sunbed, towels, water bottle, sun tan lotion, book, and finally, Geiger Counter so you can measure your radioactivity dose after going for a swim! If at some time in the future we all start glowing in the dark after a swim, I am sure it will catch on as the ‘new vogue’ in the disco’s.

I hope all of these Mafia animals are caught quickly, so the Italian Government can start cleaning up the bed of the Mediterranean as soon as possible, hopefully before any of this waste starts leaking into the water.

As for punishment, if they are even caught, let them live their final days after being exposed to the core of a nuclear reactor! As their hair starts to fall out, and the radiation burns start to eat their flesh, perhaps it will be a warning to any other prospective polluters. The only problem is: There is no real justice in this world!

Heaven help our children, for we do not deserve this fine planet of ours!

Roy.

What’s in the Package?

Posted in Britain, England, Environment, Europe, Health, Illegal Dumping, Insanity, Modern World, Plastic, Plastic Rubbish, Toxic Waste, UK, USA with tags , , , , , on 17/02/2009 by floroy1942

Supermarket PackagingThe big ‘Tizzwozz’ in the U.K. news today concerns the supermarket packaging of our daily groceries, and what a ‘kerfuffle’ it caused!

Local Councils are complaining they are running out of space to dump all the non-biodegradable packaging that is flowing out of the supermarkets, and the percentage of it that IS recyclable is far too small. Wow! Welcome to the real world guys, you must have been asleep for a long time.

The Plastic Menace

The Plastic Menace

Ever since the good old fully recyclable paper bag disappeared in the fifties, we have been inundated with plastic in various forms when we shop. If you put together all the global plastic rubbish from the last fifty years and placed it all in Africa, the entire continent would probably be buried to a depth of five miles (just a guess) or, adversely, we could fill in the Atlantic and drive to the States!

It does not matter what you buy, most of it is wrapped in plastic or cardboard, but does it need to be? Much of what is sold these days is not just wrapped, it is double wrapped. In the shops we see loose fruit and vegetables sitting next to pre-packed items that are identical. Why!

Acceptable Cardboard

Acceptable Cardboard

A frozen TV dinner is another fine example. It comes often in a sealed tray, which is then inside a cardboard sleeve. If the tray is sealed with a cardboard lid, then what purpose does the extra sleeve serve; good looks? The company logo??

The greatest environmental curse has to be the plastic shopping bag, which has taken over the lives of shoppers everywhere. I would not care to guess what the world-wide consumption in a single day is, I am sure however it would be staggering. If you filled each one to the brim you could probably empty the Mediterranean! As I live in Marbella, I’m glad that’s not likely to happen.

Garbage Backup In Naples Italy

Garbage Backup In Naples Italy

When I shop here at a particular superstore, the till girls have a set of hooks beside the till with plastic bags on it. They open a bag and drop your items in as they come off the bar-code reader and so on. I have often been amazed at how many bags I accumulate for a small number of items. Sometimes I get a bag with only one item in it and they are already getting the next one ready! The mind boggles!

The makers of women’s’ products i.e. perfumes creams etc. ( the kind of thing no decent woman can live without – Oops! Sorry Ladies) are the champions of wasted packaging.

How often have you opened a large beauty product box e.g. perfume, and found a small bottle in the bottom of the box? Whenever I go shopping with my wife for such things, I am amazed at the audacity of these companies, it’s as if they are trying to fool you about how much you are getting for your money. A word to the wise, when shopping for such things, it is advisable to peek inside the box to see just how much you are getting for your hard-earned cash.

Burying It Is Not The Best Solution

Burying It Is Not The Best Solution

Anyway, to sum up; is it time supermarkets and stores cut down on the amount of packaging they foist off on us – Yes! Is it time we started thinking about the number of plastic bags we use – Yes! Is it time we started turning to more biodegradable packaging – Yes! Is there anything we can do about it – not much!

It is possible for shoppers to start re-using plastic bags when they are out and about, and I guess if we all started to remove all the unnecessary packaging at the till and left it there, supermarkets would take notice, but short of that I don’t see much change. Do you?

Keep your chin up – the level of waste is rising!

Roy.

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