Burgon & Ball Container Root and Transplanting Knife – Product Review

Review by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Burgon & Ball Container Root and Transplanting Knife - RHS-Endorsed
RHS Container Gardening

£16.99

Like all the tools in our container gardening collection, this container root and transplanting knife is endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society, perhaps the ultimate accolade in the world of gardening.
This specialist container root and transplanting knife is invaluable for planting, weeding and maintaining beautiful container displays. Slide it around the inside of a pot to release a plant before transplanting. Slice through tangled roots with the serrated blade. Dig tight holes for adding new plants, either by scooping or by plunging in the blade and pulling it towards you. You’ll find your own ways of using this indispensable tool, but one thing is certain; you’ll wonder how you managed without it.

Crafted in high-carbon steel for strength and durability, this root and transplanting knife has a tough powder coating for rust resistance, and the blade features depth markings for accurate planting. Like all the tools in the container gardening collection, the knife comes with a ten-year guarantee.
You may also be interested in our RHS-endorsed container weeder and RHS-endorsed container scoop.

Handle: 100% FSC certified hardwood
Tool head: high-carbon steel with powder coating
Hanging cord: leather

This tool is akin to, and, and I hazard a guess now, based on the Japanese Hori-Hori though the cutting edge is not as sharp as it would be on a Hori-Hori of Japaneses manufacture. Then again such an edge, if the blade repeatedly goes into the soil, won't stay sharp for long.

In this tool you, basically, have a multi-tasking tool for the garden which includes a trowel, suitable for tight spaces, as well as cutting edges that allow you to do other things, such as, as mentioned above, cutting through tangled roots, or to open bags, and much more.

A very useful little tool at about half or less of that of a Japanese Hori-Hori with almost the same capabilities. A belt sheath for it to make it possible to carry it around the garden with leaving the hands free would have been nice but there are other ways to achieve that, such as by a little DIY and recycling (see my article here). Different story though.

© 2019

Three in ten children can't tie their shoelaces when leaving primary school

And 62% of parents admit they have no time to teach them

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

3 in 10 children are still unable to tie their shoe laces on leaving primary school according to findings from a survey commissioned by OSGO* to coincide with National Feet Week (13th – 20th May).

Of the 500 surveyed, 46% of parents thought that being able to tie your own laces was an important life skill yet 62% of parents admitted to tying their children’s laces for them to save time and stress every morning. One mum said: ‘Its far easier for me to tie my children’s laces before we leave the house on the school run or we would be really late.’

As well as time constraints, 57% of those questioned said that their children also had no interest in tying their shoelaces and were not bothered about learning how.

Advances in footwear design and fashion trends have meant that many children don’t wear shoes with laces until much later than in previous generations, who were expected to learn by the age of around seven. Velcro and pull-on designs are the most popular amongst parents because of ease of use and time-saving.

76% of parents said they taught their children to tie laces at home with only 14% relying on school to teach their child. During National Feet Week, OSGO are urging parents to help their children begin to learn this essential life skill which helps to support feet as they continue to grow and develop.

Tony Gavin, CEO at OSGO believes that children should be taught to tie their laces from an early age and said: ‘It’s a worrying statistic that children are progressing to high school without having learned a crucial life skill. Children’s fine motor skills should be developed enough by aged six to begin learning to tie their shoe laces and parents should dedicate time to teaching their kids to perfect this. Not only is it a key life skill, being able to tie laces properly supports young feet that are still growing and developing.’

The problem is that children's fine motor skills are not developed for many kids by the age the read primary school. Some are not even strong enough in their fingers to hold a pencil due to having spent far too much time playing with touchscreens. If there would be an app to tie laces they could do it but without an app... no.

Shockingly one mum claimed: ‘My 11 year old son plays football on a Saturday and the matches are regularly stopped so the referee can tie a players laces!’

I find this, I must say, rather shocking but not surprising I must say considering that parents are so busy nowadays, mostly with themselves and their cellphones.

OSGO is a podiatry membership organisation, created for private podiatry practitioners. OSGO provides, support and information for podiatry practices nationwide.

- National Feet Week (13th May – 20th May) encourages people of all ages to prioritise foot health in the same way they would dental and eye health with regular podiatry appointments.
- National Feet Week is raising money for Forgotten Feet www.forgottenfeet.uk – a charity that provides chiropody and podiatry services for those most in need. Purchase your National Feet Week laces for GBP £1.00 donation from podiatry practices across the UK.

© 2019

Futurekind – Book Review

Review by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Futurekind
Design for and by the People
by Dr. Rob Phillips
Published by Thames & Hudson, May (16) 2019
240 pages 900 illustrations Hardback 25.5 x 21.0 cm
ISBN: 978 0 500 519790
Price: 39.95 Hardback

Manual and manifesto, an inspiration and a call to arms; this rich and timely survey is all in one and presents over sixty innovative, socially and environmentally conscious design projects changing the world for the better.

We have grown accustomed to two beliefs: the first, that only experts can be designers; the second, that our everyday activities are harming the world. Yet, with new platforms, digital communication and engaged online communities, the products we can now design - and truly need - can be made by anyone for social and environmental good. Social design can see that primary school children learn to code, and uses local information in off-grid locations to create global change. Open-source design is enabling us to remake our world right now.

Structured into eight areas of application, from healthcare to education, Futurekind showcases over sixty projects from across the globe and across every scale and budget to reveal how design practice is being transformed by open-source platforms, crowd-sourcing and the latest digital technologies. Each has made a genuine different to lives and communities around the world.

Rather than being client-driven, as commercial design often is, each project here is the result of designers who reach out, communities who get involved and the technologies that are helping people to realize ideas together. From a playground-powered water pump in South Africa to a DIY budget mobile phone, each of these groundbreaking projects is presented through fascinating and life-affirming stories, diagrams that reveal the mechanisms and motivations behind each design approach, and photography that celebrates the humanity of the endeavor.

Open-source and open-source design, aka open design, can make a difference on so many levels, both for the Planet and for the people, and there more that those sixty projects that are listed in the books worldwide at the moment and more coming “on stream” all the time. The most important thing with those designs is that they can be replicated in many cases in a garage at the place where whatever it is is required and wanted. The small plastic recycling “plant” of the project “Precious Plastics” on page 152 to 155 comes in full open-source, if I am not entirely mistaken, with the plans downloadable under Creative Commons and all the machines can be built, basically, from scrap parts with some welding and other tinkering skills. It is aimed to enable anyone, including in Third World countries, to build such a “plant” and to recycle plastics of all kinds into new products (for sale) thus creating a livelihood too.

This is not about the world of design, but the design of the world

Dr. Rob Phillips is an award-winning product designer and a senior tutor on the Design Products Course at the Royal College of Art. His research into open design and citizen science has resulted in internationally taught methods at MIT, Goldsmiths, Cornell, and the BBC. As a designer, his past clients have included: Puma, Samsung, Save the Children, Visa; the Victoria and Albert Museum and Google. His research seeks to 'Engage Design' processes to decrease people's impact, gaining insight into what people really do ... thinking how can we be Futurekind to Humankind.

A most interesting book and read for anyone interested in socially and environmentally conscious design and especially open-source and open design. I can wholly recommend it and also to do some further research on the subject, as there is much more out there than could have fitted into the book.

© 2019

Biodegradable and compostable plastic

First of all it is still plastic

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Biodegradable is often understood by the general public almost like that is composts, and that is also the intention of the word being used, but it does no such thing. It degrades in soil, air (through the influence of UV light), and also in water but degrades into what? Well, into ever smaller particles of, guess what, yes, plastic.

Even so-called plant-based plastics, generally, with a possible few exceptions, is just another kind of plastic and in addition to that a plastic that cannot be recycled in the general recycling facilities and systems.

Compostable plastic, such as in single-use carrier bags and other products, does “compost” but generally does not in your ordinary domestic open compost bin in your garden or even the closed composters. It required heat, and quite a lot of it, and thus, generally, only composts in commercial facilities. The question I have is as to whether this kind of plastic really and truly composts or simply breaks down in that heat environment into such small components that we no longer can perceive them but still being plastic.

While there is quite a good reason for using plastic in many cases there is no good reason for using plastic, which is a valuable material, really, in the so-called single-use applications. It is true that the single-use carrier bags are actually not made from virgin oil but generally from naphthalene, a byproduct of oil refining, other single-use plastics for drinks bottles, cups, straws, cutlery, etc., do require virgin polymer and hence should be consigned to the scrap heap of history, and also those so-called paper cups, which are lined with a plastic liner, laminated to the paper, and cannot be separated and thus they cannot be recycled, at least not in the general way.

© 2019

Plastic recycling

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

UK plastics recycling industry under investigation for fraud and corruption

The plastics recycling industry is facing an investigation into suspected widespread abuse and fraud within the export system amid warnings the world is about to close the door on UK packaging waste.

The Environment Agency (EA) has set up a team of investigators, including three retired police officers, in an attempt to deal with complaints that organized criminals and firms are abusing the system.

Six UK exporters of plastic waste have had their licenses suspended or canceled in the last three months, according to EA data. One firm has had 57 containers of plastic waste stopped at UK ports in the last three years due to concerns over contamination of waste.

Allegations that the agency is understood to be investigating include:
  • Exporters are falsely claiming for tens of thousands of tonnes of plastic waste which might not exist
  • UK plastic waste is not being recycled and is being left to leak into rivers and oceans
  • Illegal shipments of plastic waste are being routed to the Far East via the Netherlands
  • UK firms with serial offenses of shipping contaminated waste are being allowed to continue exporting.
The picture shows mixed household waste, which had been falsely and fraudulently declared as plastic recyclables, arriving at a Brazilian port.

UK households and businesses used 11m tonnes of packaging last year, according to government figures. Two-thirds of our plastic packaging waste is exported by an export industry which was worth more than £50m last year.

In light of this several councils in the UK have now withdrawn plastic kerbside recycling schemes and are telling residents to throw their plastic waste into the ordinary bins for landfill or incineration to energy. Others are, more than likely, are going to follow with this action.

A recycling expert told the BBC that we should not even consider sending such valuable materials abroad but instead build proper recycling businesses in the UK so that the UK would produce its own recycled plastic. It would create thousands upon thousands of jobs.

Who would have thought? Well I have and said this for years and years already but, alas, no one wanted to have it. The same goes for glass in so many instances where it is ground down to “sand” as road aggregate rather than actually be turned into new glass.

Now that China is refusing to take the world's garbage for “recycling” companies are simply shipping the stuff to other. Mostly Third World countries which do not have any proper recycling infrastructure of any kind. But, out of sight out of mind and if it is out of the country what's the problem, seems to be the attitude. In many of those places the waste shipped from the UK (and other places probably) gathers unprocessed and leaks into rivers and oceans.

This was to be expected, however, as soon as the market, so to speak, in China was closed and waste exporters – which really should not even exist – were looking for other places where they could dump the waste.

As the recycling expert who has been talking to the BBC says, we should be keeping those valuable resources – all of them – at home and recycle the recyclables into new products here. It could create thousands upon thousands of jobs. But, hey, we can't possibly do that as that would mean investing to create those facilities. It is far cheaper to fill up some empty containers with waste and have that shipped across the ocean to be dumped at someone else's doorstep. Far too many rules to follow in Britain to recycle without contaminating the environment. It would be too expensive. That appears to be the attitude and government is not helping.

Every country should look after it's own waste, and recycle it at home, and not ship it out to become some other country's problem. There are only a very small number, probably less than a handful or two, of councils in Britain who do have their own recycling facilities to turn waste materials into new products of any kind. There are also but a few open market facilities in the country who do that. Those that make recycled plastic products, for instance, rely on the recycled polymer coming from China, and other places. In the UK we have the know-how, the expertize and the experts; what is missing is the (political) will to do it, unfortunately.

A lot of kerbside and similar “recycling” is no more than a farce as, in the case of glass, it is not being recycled but downcycled or in the case of paper, plastic, and other waste, it is either shipped abroad or if the market does provide enough return put into landfills. So why do councils go through this this exercise in the first place?

© 2019

Open Source and Open Design

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

It all started, I guess, with computers, or better with software, from general programs, such as Open Office, The Gimp, Firefox, Thunderbird, etc., to entire operating systems such as Linux, and others. Now open source has gone further that that and will enable people not just to connect and cooperate but to help “save the Planet” but also to create businesses.

Aside from Open Source computer operating systems and general programs we now also have Open Source Design and this is what really could make a real difference, not that the computer programs don't. They too have their place in this revolution of all things.

In a book, to be published in May 2019 by Thames & Hudson, called “Futurekind”, many kinds of such Open Source Designs are being showcased.

But what does Open Source Design, also called open-design, mean?

The open-design movement involves the development of physical products, machines and systems through use of publicly shared design information. This includes the making of both free and open-source software (FOSS) as well as open-source hardware. The process is generally facilitated by the Internet and often performed without monetary compensation. The goals and philosophy of the movement are identical to that of the open-source movement, but are implemented for the development of physical products rather than software. Open design is a form of co-creation, where the final product is designed by the users, rather than an external stakeholder such as a private company. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-design_movement

The open-design movement currently unites two trends. On one hand, people apply their skills and time on projects for the common good, perhaps where funding or commercial interest is lacking, for developing countries or to help spread ecological or cheaper technologies. On the other hand, open design may provide a framework for developing advanced projects and technologies that might be beyond the resource of any single company or country and involve people who, without the copyleft mechanism, might not collaborate otherwise. There is now also a third trend, where these two methods come together to use high-tech open-source (e.g. 3D printing) but customized local solutions for sustainable development. Open Design holds great potential in driving future innovation as resent research has proven that stakeholder users working together produce more innovative designs than designers consulting users through more traditional means.

Design per se can and must play a new and proper role in human development and in advancing everyone everywhere. Design, good design, also holds the key to the avoidance of waste. It is not rocket science because that kind of design has been with us before, as has repairability, even by means of DIY by the user (or someone with some knowledge).

Open design, on the other hand goes a step or ten further in that open design in the design, often downloadable, which is then turned by a small enterprise. or the end user him- or herself, into the desired product with, often, the added plus that the design can, because it is open source, be modified to fit a need. No longer does a corporation or corporations hold the key to the design and end-product but the people as a whole.

Sometime the designs cost a small amount, at other times, and that quite frequently, at least the basic ones, are free. The machines to make the products are often also open-source designed in such a way that they can, more or less, easily be made from scrap, including 3D-printers. Making those machines, though, does require a small workshop set up, generally, or at least a welder and the knowledge of how to use one.

Open source and open design are a great way of reducing waste, as well as production and distribution costs and transportation footprint. We now have clothing design that is downloadable and the garments are then made more or less locally to where they will be bought and used. With the technology of CAD/CAM (computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacture), especially via means of 3D-printing, as well as other varieties, many things could and can, literally, be made in a domestic garage or garden shed, including the making of spares for a variety of things, or the very parts to make a product, to complete 3D-printed products themselves.

With open source software older computers can be kept alive, so to speak, for much longer and if they are also of the desktop variety rather than the laptop or even smaller kind then they can also be hardware upgraded and repaired, and thus run almost indefinitely. Though here open design can also come in additionally in that computers themselves could be designed in this pattern to that people could build, upgrade and repair their own without, necessarily, having to resort to a specialist. It doe not need (all) to be throw-away, especially considering that there is, actually, no such place as “away”.

© 2019

Paper is a near-perfect barrier to hackers, ransomware and other exploits

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The most “futuristic” data security is a pen and pad, and also the old-fashioned typewriter.

America's most secure federal agencies were hacked by a 16-year old who obtained their internal files; a Medical Center in Los Angeles that was hit by an infection of "ransomware" which locked up all its data in encrypted form until a ransom (hence the name) was paid to the software deployers to decrypt the data again; and those are but two incidents of many.

A much more secure technology, that would serve as a near-perfect barrier to hackers, ransomware and other exploits, is a rather old-fashioned one, namely, put all important records back on paper and put them into lockable filing cabinets and safes.

Worried about your mail communications – your emails – being (able to be )read by those who maybe should not? The we must return to the humble snail mail and use the letter carrier once again. All electronic encryption can, eventually, be broken because it is electronically generated and has a weak point somewhere. The mail service, theoretically, cannot simply be intercepted and thus is far more secure than email, alas a great deal slower.

Because of the problems that have been encountered by intelligence and security services in other countries the Russian services, including the FSB, have gone, for sensitive material back to paper records, circulars, etc., written on typewriters. All such circulars have a limited circulation list and any leak can therefore, theoretically, only come from members on that list.

Handwritten records also have serious anti-fraud characteristics. Such notes capture information in terms of handwriting, ink color, etc., that make it harder to make wholesale changes without it showing. Electronic records, on the other hand, tend to look the same. Also, to make changes, within a written handwritten text your would have to erase, in some way, the original words. It shows. Not so in electronic material. Even the original of an email can, under Forward, be altered to appear to say something other than what original was written. Altering, however, handwritten or typewritten material, afterward, requires a very good forger generally.

If I were running an intelligence agency, I would have all my important stuff done in handwriting or on mechanical typewriters (the old kind that type over the same fabric ribbon multiple times) and distributed in sealed envelopes. If I were setting up a voting system, I would use paper ballots instead of electronic voting machines. And if I were running a hospital, I would seriously consider doing everything on paper.

There is a place for computers and computer records, of course. But for things that really matter and that need to be genuinely secure, maybe we should try a more advanced technology: Paper and ink. Take that, hackers.

Data on computers can and will never be perfectly safe. Thus, I propose a more secure technology that would serve as a near-perfect barrier to hackers, ransomware and other exploits: Put important records back on paper. And then lock the stuff up in lockable filing cabinets, safes, or vaults.

Writing by hand, as far as note-taking is concerned and such, is also a great deal faster than using a keyboard, and, as far as medical staff are concerned the contact with patient/client and the person taking the notes is closer.

The truth is, paper records are inherently more secure. To steal 10 million electronic user records from a government agency, all you might need is a cracked password and a thumb drive. To steal that many records on paper, you would need a fleet of trucks and an uninterrupted month.

And ransomware would not work on paper records. What would you do? Put a padlock on the filing cabinets and demand ransom for the key? Not very likely to succeed. There are things called bolt cutters and angle grinders, if you get my meaning.

And often, putting things on computers is a crock anyway. Electronic medical records, touted as saving money and streamlining care, are a major cause of physician burnout. It has gotten so bad that some hospitals actually advertise the lack of electronic medical record systems as a selling point in recruiting doctors. Nor have electronic systems paid off as promised.

A recent study of more than 1 million medication errors reported to a national database between 2003 and 2010 found that 6% were related to the computerized prescribing system. Those problems, and considerable expense, could have been prevented by sticking with pen and paper.

So, if you really want data security stick with pen, typewriter and paper. OK, or use the computer to print out the material and file it in the old-fashioned manner, in a filing cabinet.

You address book is also much better served being in a real book or on index cards and filing box for same. You can get to it be it the power is down or your computer or other device has crashed, or whatever. Yes, it is a little more on the bulky side but short of a fire your data will always be recoverable.

© 2019

No Plot? No Problem

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Grow your own salads, fruit and vegetables, even if you don't have a garden

I know that I am in danger of repeating myself again with this article but it would appear that still far too many people seem to think that in order to grow fruit and vegetables they need a large garden plot or an allotment or two.

You do not have to have acres of land for a garden where to grow at least some food for yourself and your family, not even a ¼ of an acre. If you have it that is great but if you don't you can still grow some fresh food. There are many who grow an abundance of food in containers and in other ways. Lack of land should not be an obstacle.

As I have mentioned with regards to container gardening before there are even some market gardens in existence, in the USA, where the operator grows absolutely everything in plastic buckets. OK, yes, he does have some land where to put those buckets but that is neither here nor there.

A great way, when plot is missing, is vertical gardening and Mark Ridsdill Smith of Vertical Veg and his knowledge on this subject is second to none. If you can't grow horizontally grow vertically. You are only limited by your imagination.

When it comes to containers in which to grow your plants upcycling is the order of the day. There is no need to buy special containers and all that. Make friends with your local groundspeople in the local councils who often get trees in what I refer to as tree tubs or tree buckets and more-often-than-not those they then have to dispose off as waste. Many of those buckets make great planters, as that is what they are.

Catering establishments also are good to make friends with as they get oil, mayonnaise and such, in plastic buckets often, quite often of between one and five gallon in size. All that is needed is to drill some drainage hole into the bottom and you have planters (that's what those market gardens I mentioned use).

Container gardening has been a trend for some years already and is still gaining traction and many gardening equipment suppliers are catering more and more for this. Vertical gardening, especially for growing food, has not advanced that far as yet but it too is slowly gaining some traction.

So, if you haven't got a big garden, a big enough one, or almost none, you still can join the “grow your own” movement and grow at least some food for yourself and your family. If you can't go horizontal thing about vertical.

© 2019

CORONA TOOLS: AMERICA’S LEADING NAME IN GARDEN TOOLS LAUNCHES IN THE UK

– Press Release –
There will soon be exciting new options for gardeners, as Corona Tools, America’s leading tool innovator, launches its premium gardening tools in the UK. Already a by-word for quality in North America, professionals and gardeners alike rely on Corona cutting tools, hand tools and long-handled tools for their long lasting durability and performance - and now they’ll be available to British gardeners.

These superb tools combine outstanding performance with the highest quality materials and advanced technical design, to ensure that Corona tools are more than up to the job, however tough it gets.
From its beginnings in the Southern California orange groves back in 1928, when the invention of a small shear for harvesting oranges revolutionized the citrus industry, Corona Tools this year celebrates 90 years of growth, innovation, and engineering expertise.

Since its inception, the manufacturer has excelled at combining the best of American engineering with a can-do approach to solving real problems, and today Corona’s reputation for innovation is recognised throughout North America. These premium tools offer not just superior strength, but also exceptional durability, and have been created to give lasting performance, season after season.
Corona Tools is launching selected ranges in the UK as a result of its relationship to British garden tool manufacturer Burgon & Ball. In 2018, the Sheffield-based company joined the Venanpri global family of the finest hand tool brands, already home to Corona Tools.

This natural fit between the UK’s oldest manufacturer of garden tools and accessories, founded in 1730, and an American innovator with a solid heritage of excellence, bring new choices to professional gardeners, landscapers and demanding users in 2019.

Founded in Sheffield in 1730, Burgon & Ball is the UK’s oldest manufacturer of garden tools and accessories, with hundreds of years of expertise in steel manufacturing. A manufacturer of the world’s finest sheep shears since its earliest years, today Burgon & Ball is respected as a leading name in garden tools and enjoys an enviable reputation for quality and innovation. Notable product ranges are its Royal Horticultural Society-endorsed garden tools, and the popular range of hand tools and giftware developed in collaboration with designer Sophie Conran.

In 2018 Burgon & Ball joined the Venanpri Group, a global collective of the finest hand tool brands for agriculturists, horticulturists, gardeners, landscape and construction professionals. The cumulative experience of the Bellota, Burgon & Ball and Corona brands represents nearly 500 years of advancement in developing superior hand tools. With a global footprint spanning more than 125 countries across 6 continents, these brands have been the leading choice for generations of professionals who rely on quality and lasting performance.

Source: Burgon & Ball

Recyclables vs. Secondary Raw Materials

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

I believe that the term “Secondary Raw Materials” far better would get the message of how important recycling and recyclables are but hand in hand with it needs to go a change in strategy, namely that recycling and the use of those secondary raw materials, has to happen “at home” and the stuff not to be sent abroad to Third World countries or China. Well, then again China, and now India, have banned all imports of such materials into their respective countries.

Recyclables does not have the same weight, I believe, as does the terms “secondary raw materials”, a term that was used, probably coined even, in the German Democratic Republic, referred to, unfortunately, as East Germany.

Instead of penalties for not putting the recyclables out what should be done it to incentivize it so that the people learn the value of those secondary raw materials though not, necessarily, putting a deposit on the items, but by paying those bringing the secondary raw materials in to local (very local please, so that everyone, including children, can get to them without the need for a car) collecting centers. It is not rocket science and if it worked in the GDR it can work anywhere and everywhere. However, the reuse of these materials has to happen “at home”, so to speak, and industry to pay the collectors for the materials brought in. Alcan did just that for aluminium cans not all that long ago.

When the debate was hot about China having banned all imports of plastic waste into the country a recycling specialist in the UK stated that he was at a total loss that we would send such valuable resource as waste plastic abroad for recycling instead of actually doing it “at home”. Well, I am with him on that, and not only with regards to plastic.

But, instead of creating ways to do this in our countries, we rather send the stuff to countries where the environmental standards are lower or non existent to those in our own countries. Cheaper that way, you see. The problem is simple, it is called capitalism. Creating jobs in this sector “at home” and doing the work under our stricter conditions for the capitalists is simply too expensive.

We really must look at recyclables in a different light and see the them for what they are, namely secondary raw materials, and trest them as such, and we must rework them “at home” to, one, make the operations cleaner and, two, to create jobs in this branch, and many jobs can be created in this. It would be a win-win situation for our respective countries and for the Planet. And it is not just plastic, but glass, steel, aluminium, wood, paper and card, and whatever else.

True, many of the items that end up needing to be recycled should not be made in the first place. Do we really need those plastic bottles, those single-use cups, those plastic straws and those plastic carrier bags? And then there is the amount of packaging, plastic and other, which more often that not is totally unnecessary. Also, if they are made then should be made in such a way that they are not fused materials which are almost impossible to get apart for recycling. Cardboard packaging also needs to stop being laminated with, albeit a thin layer of, plastic, which makes it again almost impossible to deal with.

Those items, however, that still, after proper changes, would end up as what are called recyclables today should be treated as secondary raw materials rather and be collected and reprocessed right there in the country where they have been collected and used.

Considering that today open source technology is even available, albeit still at a price, even if it is DIY, creating machines that are capable, in a private garage even, to turn waste plastic into new products, it simply cannot be that difficult for a country to get to grips with hings such as this. What is preventing it, I am well aware, is capitalism as it stands, where profits account for more than the Planet and people.

© 2019