October 21, 2021 Plastic Wars

Published by Victor Barr on

Plastic waste floats across our oceans and fills beaches and valleys throughout Asia and the world. We have been told for decades to recycle plastic, that it is environmentally friendly. They have put labels on our plastic containers and told us that this was good, we were helping.

They Lied.

After over forty years of increased use of plastics, the truth is finally coming to light. Only ten percent of the so-called recycled plastic in the world actually gets recycled. The rest ends up in the ocean, in landfills, or is burned into the atmosphere. It is a big lie that the corporations of the world do not want the people to know about.

It is disgusting and it is getting worse.

Since the pandemic began the use of plastic has increased by 200 to 300 times. Shopping bags, packaging, and a myriad of other single-use plastics have become the norm. Many people don’t even think about it. They simply use the products and throw them into the blue bin with the belief they are doing their part to save the environment. 

For decades China gladly took our plastic waste under the guise of recycling. Much of that plastic ended up in the Pacific Ocean, the rest was buried in the county-side or burned in incinerators. In 2018 China stopped taking any plastic and has begun to clean up its mess. Instead of finding a sustainable solution and an economical way to deal with plastic waste corporations and governments merely found another country to send it to. Indonesia, desperate for any economic input took over the waste.

Recycling practices never changed with the change of locale. According to the UN, Over 8 million tonnes of plastic are dumped into our oceans every year. There have been efforts to curb that but it is an environmental disaster in a time when the world seems focused on the medical disaster that confronted us.

Since I was a young kid the three R’s have been promoted in an effort to solve the growing problem of plastic waste and overflowing landfills – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. But the main thing we are sold is the Recycle part – or so big industry would have us believe.

We live in a disposable society. 

In the last fifty years as the world has increased in population so has our environmental footprint. The big catch-phrase has been our carbon footprint but what about the rest? In my dad’s time, people didn’t throw anything away. They kept the cars, appliances, and everything else for as long as they could.

Now people dispose of stuff even when it still works.

It’s time for the newest, latest, and greatest. No one wants old stuff and it can’t be recycled so it ends up in our landfills. Cell phones are built to be replaced after two or three years. Products are packaged to be neat and tidy wrapped in plastic or in a plastic container. And they keep inventing new ways to pollute the planet. From the Swiffer to the Kuerig coffee pod everything is made to be thrown away. 

Or recycled in places like Malaysia and Indonesia. 

In the so-called developed world, we get to ignore the problem and the producers of plastic make us feel like we are doing something by recycling it – what a joke. It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic.

We live in a consumer-driven, disposable society. The UN estimates that by 2050 the production of plastics will triple. What will we do with all the waste this produces? 

In Canada, the government was introducing legislation to ban single-use plastics.

Then came Covid19. 

And instead of banning plastics, they encouraged it. No more reusing your coffee mug at Timmy’s. No more cloth bags at the grocery store and a plethora of disposable masks and other PPE are now littering our world. 

Thankfully things are changing again. We can bring our own bags to the store. Coffee cups are again refillable. And there are many cloth masks out there to be worn, washed, and reused

Only you and I can make the difference the world needs.

It is time to escape the trap of the disposable consumption-driven society we live in. Bring a cloth bag for your groceries, get rid of the Swiffer, and use a cloth, people did it for hundreds of years before. And stop brewing one use coffee pods, at least get ones that can be reused.  Stop buying single-use throw-away crap and think about what effect the product has on our world. Make a statement with your wallet.

We face many challenges in the world, the viral infection will end. Can we end the environmental infection? 

Only you can make the changes the world needs.

For more info, there is a link here.

A plastic-strewn beach in Indonesia.

Categories: Daily Journal

2 Comments

Jim Fry · October 24, 2021 at 9:05 am

Here, Here!!! Well said, my Friend!!

    Victor Barr · October 24, 2021 at 9:25 am

    Thanks, Jim. Our world has many problems and the pandemic is a mere blip compared to some of the other ones.

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