Tuesday, October 10, 2017

at home with Crow

When I brought Crow and his friend their afternoon tea I heard them discussing one of those irritations of modern life that drive me crazy too. Why is it that grocery stores announce with pride they have no plastic carry bags to hand out to customers but just about everything they sell is encased in layers of the stuff? Cosmetics, personal care items, toys, eggs, chocolates, produce, cookies, snack foods, tools and appliances are just a few items that create packaging discards we all deal with. A single purchase can mean bringing home more packaging than product.

Since 1960, the use and disposal of single-use plastic packaging has grown from 120,000 tons to over 12,720,000 tons per year today. It used to be the idea that packaging protected a product from damage but nowadays it's just another marketing tool to get us to buy things. Apparently the manufacturers think items packed in hard shelled, difficult (and possibly dangerous) to open plastic packages appear to be more attractive. Whatever happened to cellophane and cardboard? What makes plastic packaging worse is that it raises the cost of every item covered in the stuff by about 10% and then we have to find some way to recycle the stuff.

No wonder Crow prefers the comforts of the 19th century.

“If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos”
– E.O. Wilson


Sean Jeating said...

It's not five minutes to twelve, it's almost five past eight. Crow's watch might know the real time. Or Andrew ... :)
Might? Might?! I hear Andrew asking.
Uff!! Do I really know the future?

susan said...

Does anybody really know what time it is
Does anybody care?
If so I can't imagine why
We've all got time enough to cry
~ Chicago, 1970

Crow sat in with them a time or two
- he played slide trombone. :)

Sean Jeating said...

Touché! :)

Tom said...

You make - as usual - an interesting point. Where we live, our recyclables are collected every fortnight and household waste every week, if you're prepared to pay. Interestingly, and bearing in mind that some recyclable material must go into household waste (they're not quite to advanced here as they are where we used to live) I need to have our large recyclable bin emptied every fortnight. Our household waste gets collected every four or five weeks. Admittedly, we do not buy ready-cooked meals, but even so the packaging far outweighs the other, and we cannot compost biodegradables at present. Just goes to show.

susan said...

We live in a medium sized apartment building, Tom, and the amount of stuff we see being thrown out is amazing. There are separate bins (and large containers for waste and cardboard) but the fact so many of our neighbors are college students means furniture being trashed as well as food and mountains of plastic. It does go to show.

Should Fish More said...

My town Butte, being Butte, has provided recycle bins to those who ask and pony up fifty bucks. Our garbage collector has confided to me they take them out to the dump and deposit them with the other garbage.....they looked into recycling and deemed it too expensive, so....
Nice drawing, as always. If Crow would like a companion back to say....1825, have him give me a flap.

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Hi Susan,
Lovely picture as usual. Recycling seems to be a universal expensive problem and notwithstanding Melbournians having a reputation as avid recyclers, with all local councils having strict rules for the sorting of rubbish, it’s estimated about 300,000 wheelie bins (large rubbish bins)worth each week of recyclable material ends up in land fill. It’s all very for there to be environmental laws but the recyclers either can’t cope or choose to circumvent their responsibilities. Recently more than 150 homes in one suburb had to be evacuated after toxic fumes from the nearby recycling plant fire gave rise to heavy pollution. Yet Melbourne has once again been named the world's most liveable city for the 7th year in a row?
Best wishes

susan said...

Presently, as a society, we give no thought to the real cost of all of the small daily choices we make, and we resent having to pay it (although it's good to know a few are willing to pony up the fifty bucks). A wise friend once said that the word landfill is a misnomer that indicated the land was empty before we dumped our garbage there.
I'll let you know when Crow and I are getting ready to depart.

susan said...

Hi Lindsay,
I was wondering if it wasn't time to send you a note to ask if you were okay so it's very good to see you again. I know my own blogging has lessened too..
For the larger part of human history the fact there were far fewer of us made negligible the concept of dealing with our waste. What there was went pretty much naturally and actual tools were passed down until they fell apart. Now the sheer amount needing to be dealt with every day is staggering, but something that could be a valuable resource if addressed correctly through reducing, reusing and recycling. I remember years ago reading about trucks belonging to waste management companies passing one another in the night in order to dump the accumulated garbage anywhere else.
As you've described in your remarks about Melbourne, this is something that needs to be taken much more seriously rather than just being given lip service.
All the best

troutbirder said...

Yes. I find I'm not alone. I've been telling most everyone for years, except for modern medicine I much prefer the 19th century. And not because I was a history teacher...:)

susan said...

I most definitely agree, TB, with the provisos of having a supply of antibiotics and avoiding sugar - never mind the importance of cleanliness. I wonder if you're familiar with Patrick O'Brian's 'Aubrey and Maturin' novels about the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars? There are 20½ of them all beautifully researched and highly detailed portrayals of 19th century life.

L'Adelaide said...

I think plastic will be one of humankind’s downfall. Do you know that they find traces of it in our bodies in all sorts of places. Maybe if more had read that little article-wishing I could cite it now! Anyway, more of it every year. Living where I do, we recycle about everything. Now I’m told the recycle bin isn’t being recycled as there’s no place to do it! Another site is full! 🙁

susan said...

I'm sure I remember a time when there was very little plastic anywhere and now you can't get away from the stuff. I read that article too.

Some time back a science writer mentioned that humanity will barely make a mark in Earth's geological record - just a smear of plastic between rock formations. Since we won't be around then the only satisfaction we can get is from imagining that day.