Plastic not so fantastic
When I would scrape my knee as a child, what would cure and comfort me? A rubberized adhesive Band Aid.
What did I turn to before making out jordan for the first time down in Lorna Grant’s basement when I was 12 years old? A plastic vial of cherry ChapStick.
The best Christmas gifts I’ve ever gotten, the only pristine parts on the Ford Maverick I inherited when I was 16 and even the pens I’ve used to take notes on thousands of stories all were plastic.
In fact, I believe molded polymer is mankind’s greatest milestone. His triumph. His synthetic Sistine Chapel.
That’s right Greenpeace, those who invented the wheel, pulley system, steam engine, FM radio and movie car chase scenes, take a back seat to 19th Century English inventor, Alexander Parkes, the father of the first man made plastic.
Like every generation born after World War I when chemical engineering led to things like polystyrene, Styrofoam, nylon and synthetic rubber I am a needy and plump child of plastic.
From my earliest years, I embraced it like sugar coated cereal and the commercials tucked neatly inside Saturday morning cartoons.
A hug from another human can never replace our daily, personal interaction with plastic.
But, all grown up now, the generations are tugging against the plastic ties which bind us together. Plastic is accused of past and present abuses, such as polluting a patch of the Pacific Ocean, the size of Texas.
We’re warned, every piece of plastic we’ve ever produced, other than what we’ve burned, is still around, leaching chemicals into the ground and water.
Many Canadian retailers have even begun to charge consumers for plastic bags.
China has reportedly saved the equivalent of 1.6 million tonnes of oil since last June, by putting a national plastic bag ban in place.
There’s even a women’s group in Nouakchott, one of the largest cities in the Sahara, which is working jordan to get rid of the plastic excess there. The ladies cut discarded mountains of it until their hands are bloody.
Now, my own children ask me, what are we doing to help?
Could I raised suckling at the plastic bottle live without buying more of it? I am such a proud uber plastic user, that I have doubts.
And how about my entire water bottle loving, jordan plastic wrapped toilet paper using, Costco shrink wrap bulk buying suburban family of six? Could we all do without paying for the benefits of plastic?
Not for a lifetime, but we’re spending six weeks not spending a wooden nickel on any plastic thingamajig.
It would have to include everything from a cucumber cocooned in thin cellophane to a bottle of pickles, if the lid is wrapped in a tamper resistant strip of plastic.
No new DVDs and packs of ground beef, either, though I refuse to ask about feminine hygiene products. I’ve recycled fine, stolen her test, to see how it would translate to my large Canadian family.
While we will be allowed to use all the plastic we now have, a moratorium will be placed on paying for any more.
Now finishing jordan up the last swig from a Pepsi bottle, for the next six weeks, the Burnett clan will be weaned from a diet of sweet and comforting plastic.
For the first time since being given an allowance, I will not grab for the nicely packaged or freshly sealed.
In future Green Planets, I’ll document the experiment, as we try to save the entire planet by doing without plastic wrapped sliced bread, Scope mouthwash and bags of 2% milk.
But even before we begin, it should be said, I feel like a traitor to a transparent parent who’s always been there for me.
In Canada, over 40 different kinds of plastics are used.
The first mass produced plastic toys are made possible by the development of tough polystyrene in 1927.