Archive for Plastic Rubbish

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.

A Lesson For Young Smart Asses About ‘Going Green’

Posted in America, Britain, Environment, Europe, Insanity, Modern World, Parenting, Senior Citizen, Teens with tags , , , on 23/11/2012 by floroy1942

Some young people today seem to think they know it all when it comes to saving the planet. Many blame the old folks for not taking greater care of our environment, but just to set them straight here is something I received through the e-mail that should open their eyes, so show it to your kids or send it on to any smart-asses you know.

Being Green

Checking out at the  store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring  her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized  and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.”

The young clerk  responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to  save our environment for future generations.”

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

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.

Grocery stores bagged  our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most  memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as  book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the  books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings.  Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.

But too bad we didn’t  do the green thing back then.

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 throwaway kind. We dried clothes  on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and  solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got  hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new  clothing.

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

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 or Province of Ontario . In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because  we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us.. When we packaged a  fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers 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.

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. 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 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger  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?

Roy.

Plastic May Kill You In Years To Come

Posted in Britain, England, Environment, Europe, Modern World, Pacific, Plastic, Plastic Rubbish, Toxic Waste, USA with tags , , , , on 30/01/2012 by floroy1942

Now that’s a bold statement if ever there was one, and I am sure more than a few people will be wondering what the hell is going on. Well, it would seem that plastic rubbish on our beaches is not the only problem we are facing, for scientists today have made yet another discovery that could have a far reaching effect on mankind, well, our offspring actually. It all revolves around the weekly washing (or daily if you have kids)!

The Weekly Wash – Not So Innocent

A group of scientists have discovered that a new, possibly deadly substance is getting into the environment from our weekly wash. Every day millions of people put their dirty clothes in the washing machine and think no more about it. Its a perfectly normal occurrence, and who thinks about what goes down the drain during the operation. Its just dirty water with some detergent in it, and anyway, the water company takes care of it, right!

From the latest research it seems that is not the end of the story, because, if some of the garments you washed contain man-made fibres i.e. polyester, acrylic, or polyamides (nylon), that water from the washing machine contains so-called ‘microplastics’.

Microfibres – The Hidden Menace

It seems these are tiny fibres of plastic, less than a millimetre long, that detach from this type of garment during the wash cycle, and a single item can lose more than 1,900 fibres per wash. Via the drains and water treatment plants (where applicable) these fibres end up in rivers or the sea where they are being eaten by fish and other creatures. Because they are so small, they even end up in the stomachs of plankton which of course is the main diet of many species of fish and mammals. Naturally, not only fish are contaminated with this fibre, but also land animals that get their water from rivers.

The dangerous part is that their small size allows them to be not only ingested by e.g. the fish, but once in the stomach they enter the bloodstream, and hence the blood of the host. It has been found to accumulate in the cells of fish during research by Dr. Mark Brown of the National Centre For Ecological Analysis ans Synthesis (NCEAS) in The States, and Prof. Richard Thomson from the University of Plymouth in the UK.

By Comparison, A Minor Problem

The team tested seawater from various points around the globe and the sewage outlets of many cities and found that the contamination was strongest near large population centres as you would expect. Testing of water from washing machines proved the link with items of clothing produced using man-made fibres.

It should be obvious that when the fish or animals are contaminated with this plastic, it is already in the food chain. Should it have the same effect on human physiology, i.e. get locked up in our cells, who knows what harm this will cause to our bodies. Whatever happens, it’s a fairly safe bet we have not heard the last of this problem.

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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