npr came out with a report the other day about how plastic recycling is basically a lie. i mean, we sort of knew that already, right? but now we learn that the plastic conglomerates knew this in the EIGHTIES when they launched a very large ad campaign to promote plastic recycling because the business was in the tank. it was meant for just bottles, but soon the recycling symbol showed up on all plastic, even when it WASN’T RECYCLABLE. plus, plastic recycling is not like aluminum or metal or glass, where it is infinitely recyclable into the same product; it degrades each time.
add into that that recycling plastic costs more than making new plastic products, and it’s no wonder that the business model is pushing for more new plastic. that doesn’t break down. and sticks around forever. in a convenience-based society where we like everything as easy as possible. until we’re living in a society that’s basically a trash dump. then what?
i think the biggest thing we need to push for is to put pressure on the manufacturers to create packaging that is not reliant on plastic. in the npr aritcle, then mention that there’s a brand new, shiny plastic-making plant being built. instead of that, why not build a shiny plastic recycling center? or get together a think-tank to figure out how to solve our plastic crisis? maybe it’s hemp-based or bamboo based, both of which are quick growing and take little water to produce compared to trees. a petroelum-based system of commerce is just not working out well, as we’re seeing and living.
the unfortunate thing about this is the petro billionaires have the best lobbyists and the most money to spend on legislation. and they get a lot of their money from government subsidies (see: corporate welfare, hardly a capitalistic system). (meanwhile the average american would go bankrupt from a hospital stay, but that’s a topic for a different blog.)
so what can we do? put pressure on the companies that you know are plastic heavy, and these are the big companies, so many people would need to do this. we know what happens when the public sentiment shifts a certain way, as we’ve seen with organic, more natural food stuffs. if the public can start to push for less plastic, then the big guys will adjust to get their dollars.
slowly, i’m moving toward less plastic packaging in my life. here are the things that i’ve permanently changed from plastic bottles/packaging to either making myself or cardboard packaging:
- dishwasher soap (dropps)
- laundry soap (homemade)
- shampoo and conditioner (bar soap)
- body wash (bar soap)
- toilet paper (all paper – no plastic)
- deodorant (bar based with a simple paper packaging around it, from ethique)
in the next round of necessities purchasing, i plan on changing out my facial soap (to shea butter charcoal bar soap) and checking out what my options are for mascara (besame). i’m having trouble with moisturizer for my face, especially since i want some anti-wrinkle stuff. i have to do some research for the next round.
there’s still a lot of plastic in my life, especially when it comes to groceries. i’m not perfect when it comes to plastic; i like my convenience just as much as the next person. but i think it’s good to work at it. i’d rather have a nice planet to live on than a single-serving package of grapes.