Update on Plastics….the only permanent thing in the world

Msjean noted in a comment yesterday that the UN is taking up the cause of plastic bags, so I checked it out and indeed: the topic is being discussed.

In this article, the UN Environmental Programme put forth some uncomfortable information:

Although recycling bags is on the rise in the United States, an estimated 90 billion thin bags a year, most used to handle produce and groceries, go unrecycled. They were the second most common form of litter after cigarette butts at the 2008 International Coastal Cleanup Day sponsored by the Ocean Conservancy, a marine environmental group.

“Plastic, the most prevalent component of marine debris, poses hazards because it persists so long in the ocean, degrading into tinier and tinier bits that can be consumed by the smallest marine life at the base of the food web.”

Plastic is Forever.  Lately I’ve been thinking about things like cassette tapes, video tapes, walkman devices, pens, sunglasses, drinking cups, those little wrist things used for ID in hospitals–all of these things made out of so much plastic and that are doomed to be discarded because they are no longer useful, outdated, unpopular, temporary, whatever.  The funny thing: we think of Plastic as temporary, but it is in fact the most permanent thing in the world.  That’s not an exaggeration.

Look around yourself right now, how much plastic can you see?  Now ask yourself: where will that end up?

Anyway, thanks msjean for pointing me to this news.  Much appreciated!

One response to “Update on Plastics….the only permanent thing in the world

  1. What is keeping us from switching to biodegradable sources as a replacement for packaging? Why can’t we use reusable canvas bags for shopping, for example?

    Not many people want to pay the cost of the more innovative solutions, but in the end, we’re all paying for the high collateral costs of our cheap plastics…

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