Plastic, I love it. I hate it. Plastic houses my laptop; it makes up my plumbing; it keeps my sandwiches fresh and it’s the foundation of my music collection. How would we exist without rubbermaid. What would the world be with out ceran wrap. Plastic seems necessary and insidious and it doesn’t go anywhere, ever, literally.
Plastic is waste free living’s biggest challenge. I’m not talking about shopping bags. I’m years past those. Besides they’ve officially become public enemy number one last year. Supermarket chains dumped disposables for poly-cloth sacks, and bureaucrats turfed bottled water from government buildings. The plastic I’m talking about is the stuff that is nearly laminated to almost everything you buy. From purchasing a roll of tape, to a bag of oats; plastic, try as I might, it is impossible to eliminate from modern life.
“Our oceans are plastic soup,” the defining sound bite from Garbage Island, a documentary that took viewers on a sight-seeing voyage to Texas sized plastic soup swirling in the Pacific Gyre
“It’s a plastic fantastic world,” the captain said, explaining the voracious appetite ungry fish had for red plastic. He made the same list I could of unending things wrapped in plastic. Tortilla chips, tofu, cookies – the wrapping of my convenience food breakdowns were potentially a sea turtle’s last supper. Try as I might to eliminate excess, there are in reality very few things you can purchase that are not wrapped, tagged or embedded in plastic.
The old recycling depot I went to, bless their souls, used to take soft plastic, the technical term for plastic bags and wrappers. The one where I live now is not interested. So as I hunt for a forwarding address or alternative use, I’ve started a small collection of soft plastics., washing and stringing used bags and wrappers above my sink to dry. I store them all in clear plastic bags that are beginning by year three to amass in a tidy but bulky collection.
The whole process makes me think of those scary reality shows. The ones where some awe-struck reporter exposes pack rat crazies by bursting into their over-stuffed nests with a film crew in tow. One woman never threw away clothes, another kept all her wrappers too, but unwashed so they were technically garbage. One man even kept all his feces in buckets. These people, I note, didn’t believe in waste either.