Is plastic all bad?

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Often in the green movement all plastic is being demonized as being bad and evil and more. However, aside from the fact that there is plastic and then there is plastic there are times when the only real choice today is plastic. But it also does not have to be derived from oil. But that is another story.

The problem with plastic is, greatly, what we do with the products when they end up in the trash or in fact when we do not bother to dispose of plastic products properly and create the likes of the great plastic patches in the world's oceans.

Scientists have now found, though this study has not, as yet, been verified by others, an average of between a one and almost fifty thousand small plastic particles in the waters around Antarctica per square kilometer and the fear is that those minute plastic particles are taken up by marine life and, in the end, end up in the food chain.

So, what is the answer as regards to plastic and our use of it?

There are people who would like to advocate that we get away from plastic completely and use metal, wood, etc., but this is not always possible, as I have indicated earlier.

When it comes to transporting electricity, of whatever voltage, the wires will need insulation and plastic materials are the only possible answer in this case. And this is but one example.

Some of those plastic particles found were also from man-made fibers and that means that they have gotten into the Oceans from our washing machines. The answer to the problem here must be that we either have to abandon fibers derived from oil and such, for there are man-made fibers and then there are man-made fibers, or we must improve the filters in washing machines.

There are many people, myself included, who cannot wear wool and have, in fact, a serious allergy to processed wool when it comes into contact with the skin and even with an undershirt, etc., it still causes grief. Thus as far as pullovers and other warm clothes are concerned acrylic and PET derived fleeces are the only (unless someone has another suggestion) answers.

There are plastics and then there are plastics and not all plastics, and man-made fibers, are equal but whatever the case we must simply reconsider not so much the use of it, though that also, but how we dispose of our plastic products at the end of their lives.

Plastic grocery bags should become a thing of the past, for sure, and should PET bottles, whether from naphthalene or plant-based. Both were a bad idea for starters and as far as bottles are concerned reusable with a deposit should be brought back and as far as grocery shopping is concerned it must be a return to bring your own bags.

We have been there before in the past and thus it is not rocket science and, in general, maybe we should reduce plastics as and where we can.

That might mean that your cell phone becomes a little heavier and such, your laptop a thing of the past and we have to return to the desktop with separate monitor, as far as computing and communicating on the move is concerned, with cases made of metal and wood in the latter case, and probably heavier plant-based plastic or metal in the former.

The changes would be strange to many of us today but, maybe, just maybe, it might be the way to go. Think about it...

© 2012