Plastic pollution

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by Bebelina, Nov 23, 2018.

?

Do you sort your garbage? (plastic in particular)

  1. Yes

    6 vote(s)
    75.0%
  2. No

    1 vote(s)
    12.5%
  3. Sometimes

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. When there are available sorting containers

    1 vote(s)
    12.5%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Bebelina kospla.com Valued Senior Member

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    So you have your blood tested for phtalates, how often and if I may ask how much has it been lowered?
     
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  3. Bells Staff Member

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    Quite a few companies use popcorn as packaging instead of plastics.

    The issue is that we are so reliant on plastics when it comes to, in particular, how our food is packaged. Such as when we purchase raw meat. It would be better if the packaging were recyclable instead of what it is now.

    Quite a few states in Australia have banned plastic bags when we go grocery shopping. They sell recyclable multi-use bags if people do not have their own, as well as the cloth bags and whatnot, that most now favour. However when you go into the vegetable and fruits section, or the meat section, all you see is plastic, either cling film, or vacuum sealed bags.. Which makes the whole plastic bags ban feel somewhat hypocritical.

    I think the best alternative for the sale of meat, is to have a butcher's counter, where people can select their meat and then it is wrapped in paper, instead of plastic, as they do with seafood here in all supermarkets. Vegetables and fruits, paper bags instead of plastics.
     
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  5. Bebelina kospla.com Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, a butcher's counter would be a solution. That would perhaps also lower the consumption of meat, when it's a bit more cumbersome to purchase when it's not readily packaged to go. (A reduction of meat consumption would also benenfit the environment greatly, as I am sure you are aware of. ) Plastic is 'practical' though as it is impervious to water, which paper is not. Waxed paper? Until biodegradable 'plastic' is in the market, then that would be better.
     
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  7. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    OK Bebelina, you win.

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    I have just sent the following email to the on-line company:

    " Many thanks for the display cabinet I received from you last week. I’m sure it will do the job very well.

    However I thought I would drop you a line to comment on the amount of plastic packaging used to protect it in transit. The item itself was 0.5 x 0.3m but the box it came in was getting on for 1 metre square and full of bubble wrap and plastic film. There was so much I had to take it to the recycling centre, just to get it out of my house, where they told me it was not even recyclable plastic!

    I realise of course that you have to protect delicate goods from damage in transit, but I wonder if you might consider using more environmentally friendly packaging material. Some mail order companies use shredded cardboard (which has been already recycled once and can be recycled again) and I have even heard of popcorn being used.

    I worry that, with the growth of on-line shopping and the consequent rise in small deliveries, by not always well-trained and careful drivers, we may be seeing an insidious rise in plastic packaging, just at the time we are all becoming aware of how damaging it is. Hence my email."

    Better?
     
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  8. Bebelina kospla.com Valued Senior Member

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    That is fantastic exchemist! No, you win! You stood up for yourself and the environment. Thank you. How did that make you feel?
     
  9. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Like I'd got some nagging woman in a bobble hat off my back......for a bit, at least.......

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    Last edited: Nov 24, 2018
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  10. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    That was 1 test 4 doctors and a nurse ago.
    The responsive doctor left and I ain't found a decent replacement.

    ............................
    It seems that the main problem with plastic pollution ain't the plastic.
    It's the careless people who could not literally "care less", tossing their rubbish without concern for their actions.
    Is there a cure for that?
     
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  11. Bebelina kospla.com Valued Senior Member

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    Bobble hat? Yes, I suppose it's time for those now. Have been resisting winter and used the (plastic) headphones as ear warmers. I am glad I could assist in your corporate rebellion. Do you feel the activist identity grabbing hold of you?
     
  12. Bebelina kospla.com Valued Senior Member

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    I suppose it's a very uncommon request to have your blood tested for phtalates. I think it's a good idea though, to regularly check your toxin levels. Perhaps this could be commericalized with home testing devices? Plastic pollution test (PPT). Anyone care to develop this business idea?

    I don't know, what do you think could make people care more? As we have seen in the example with exchemist, individual empowerment worked perfectly.

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    But he was already caring and aware of the problem and just needed a small nudge in the right direction. People who don't care about anything are usually depressed, so that particular behavior can be difficult to solve. How can we make them care about themselves enough to care about others and nature? It could also be that they are unaware of the damage their are causing, uneducated and uninformed.
     
  13. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    6,048
    One of my interests in archaeology is/was/are the pre-columbian civilizations along the rio negro in brazil
    Seeing something about a drought that had lowered the waters of the rio negro, and curious as to whether more archaeological material had been found, I looked into the matter.
    One of the things that I found was a picture of the lowered river with muddy 20 ft. banks on either side of the river completely covered in plastic garbage--------------------------------------How sad-----
     
  14. Bebelina kospla.com Valued Senior Member

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    That is sad indeed.
     
  15. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    8,142
    Nah. But then, you see, I have been inoculated against that by witnessing up close the cynicism and mendacity of Greenpeace. So I tend to treat "activists" as people who may be out to create publicity, whatever the cost to the truth.
     
  16. Bebelina kospla.com Valued Senior Member

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    Organizational power structures placing impediment on your actions again. What word would suit you better? A term that does not have the negative connotations as activism has for you and perhaps others as well that would empower voicing concerns and taking action against environmental degradation issues as plastic pollution?
     
  17. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    8,142
    You're such a tease, Bebelina.

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    And I'm teasing you with the bobble hat and Greenpeace stuff, of course. Can't resist.

    Seriously, thanks for making me write to that company. Maybe I'll write to the supermarket too about the meat packing. I agree with Bells about that: a butcher's counter is better, even though it puts the cost up. In fact I buy most of my meat from a butcher rather than a supermarket anyway. You may also be pleased to know I do all my shopping by bike, not by car. But this is quite easy in London of course. Harder for people in the country.
     
  18. Bebelina kospla.com Valued Senior Member

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    Bobble hat: bobble head+greenpeace+ google image search

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    I had a discussion about plastic toys as well in a pm. That parents want to buy new shiny things for their kids, and most toys in stores are plastic. Seems like an impossible market to permeat with restrictions considering not just the toys children play with and want, or their parents want, but also the collectors items market. Imagine the uproar of all Star Wars fans if the new characters were not on sale as plastic figurines anymore. These items will eventually end up in nature too. How could the comsumption behavior of parents be changed?

    I gave away my bike last year and haven't gotten a new one, but biking is definitely both enjoyable and healthy for both human and nature.

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    Last edited: Nov 24, 2018
  19. Bells Staff Member

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    Plastic is used in everything, from the bike you used to own, to the computer you are using, mobile phone, phones, cookware (handles and whatnot), fridges, washing machines, cars, anything and everything just about.

    Now, we can handle it in different ways. Overreact and get rid of all plastic products entirely (which is virtually impossible) because it is bad for the environment and instead, look at alternatives, which can also involve pumping dangerous chemicals into the atmosphere, use more water to produce, etc..

    Alternatively, we can look at plastics as a renewable product, where it is recycled and re-used. Perhaps look to developing plastic shrink wrap (as one example) that can be recycled, along with plastic bottles. Have more recycling bins out on the street for plastic and paper products, instead of just bins that take everything and ends up in landfill and then out into our waterways, where it breaks down into little pellets and ends up being consumed by our wildlife.

    I think some of the best things that can and should be done is things like plastic straws and bottles... Restrict their use and availability.. Use glass that can be recycled instead and people will feel less inclined to throw it on the ground or in the gutter if it is glass. Provide more recycling bins for people to throw out their rubbish. Education programs. Our biggest polluter with plastic are essentially bottles and straws (not to mention plastic plates and cutlery when people go on picnics or buy take out meals)..

    Perhaps start looking at alternatives in the meantime, particularly when it comes to food packaging.. For example, one Asian company has developed food containers made from left over straw (after wheat has been harvested).. 100% biodegradable, non-toxic, can be heated, washed, reused and is literally made from the left over raw wheat (hay) that would normally be considered waste. And it contains no chemicals or plastic in its production. If we consider the waste from food production or even the production of cotton, alternatives are available. It will just mean that people have to start thinking outside the box and outside of their comfort zone when it comes how they purchase and bring their food home.
     
  20. Bebelina kospla.com Valued Senior Member

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    5,036
    What you are talking about it downcycling, as plastic can't, or hardly ever is recycled into the same products. These downcycled items will probably not be downcycled again and instead end up in nature. I'm starting to think that perhaps it would be best to dissolve the accumulated plastic waste into it's original chemicals and reuse those for other purposes? To break up the plastic non biodegradable molecules in a chemical facility?

    Maybe you have heard of #thelaststraw campaign? http://www.laststraw.com.au/
    Perhaps a similar campaing for plastic bottles?

    To change consumer behavior is difficult but necessary. Can you recall a successful historical change in consumer behavior that could serve as a guideline?
    How would the consumer benefit? To have a healthy planet for once, but that may be a too abstract benefit for some. The price matters. But for whom? The already wealthy, informed and educated or the poor perhaps uninformed masses with lacking opportunities of education?
     
  21. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    Price of oil goes up
    price pf fuel goes up
    fuel taxes go up
    government mandates fleet fuel efficiency standards
    (some---most?)people buy and drive more fuel efficient vehicles
    government mandates fleet fuel efficiency standards
    manufacturers make more fuel efficient vehicles

    and then there is the work around
    light trucks are not included in the fleet fuel efficiency standards
    so lincoln and cadillac make SUVs on light truck frames
    W.T.F.?
    Lincoln and Cadillac trucks?
    seriously?

    like over 1/2 of the dumb schmucks in Iowa
    We voted to build out the wind turbines infrastructure
    and the cost of electricity went from 2 cents to 10 cents

    Did we really vote our best interest?
     
  22. Bebelina kospla.com Valued Senior Member

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    Thank you for participating in this discussion over the weekend. It gave me much to think about, material for further investigations and your ideas, stories and commitments are deeply valued.

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  23. Bells Staff Member

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    Or something like thermal depolymerisation.

    But the question remains.. And then what?

    The biggest problem we have when it comes to plastic is our reliance on it. We can come up with all sorts of ways to get rid of it, but we still use it in everything. And we do not really have an alternative that is lightweight, flexible, cheaply produced and easily available. Look at your computer or mobile phone as a prime example. They contain more plastic than not. Can you think of an alternative that can be used for your phone? Steel? Environmental cost of smelting, the damage to the environment in extracting said steel, etc..

    We can look at something like thermal depolymerisation when it comes to plastic, but we also have to consider the environmental cost and energy use to heat the products and weigh the benefits vs the cons. For example, it may be a great way to get rid of plastic products and extracting forms of oil from it, but the cost of generating the heat required, the use of water to do it (and with drought issues affecting so many parts of the world), the energy cost may end up being worse for the environment then the plastics themselves when we are talking of larger scale. And it still does not deal with the fact that we are still using plastics in everything.

    That is what needs to change.

    Australians recycle. We are given special bins by our local councils and they pick up either weekly or fortnightly. Some places even have drop off's, where you can be given money for however many plastic bottles, etc, you turn in. Same with cans and glass bottles.

    Can we improve? Yes.

    Should we be looking at alternatives?

    Yes.

    From an Australian perspective..

    Water saving shower heads and taps, light bulbs, toilets, aerosol cans, backyard water tanks, solar panels...

    Anything and everything is possible.
     

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