At last everyone is waking up to the terrible, insidious hidden dangers of that most useful of materials, plastic. Now we are conscious of it we can see it everywhere – and unfortunately it’s everywhere we can’t see it – the cleanest of water might have tiny plastic particles, the purest of sandy beaches free of any rubbish is no doubt polluted by millions of barely visible plastic beads – even the remotest snowy icy wastes of Antarctica have been contaminated by microplastics.
I guess like most people I am trying in a small way to use less but it’s so embedded in everything we do – the keyboard I’m writing on is plastic, the tub of handcream I use is plastic, my toothbrush, my alarm clock, the boxes I keep my files and paper in… plastic, plastic, plastic.
I have just ordered some paper bags – I’ll take them shopping and put fruit and vegetables in them; I’ve ordered some more robust paper bags for potatoes, onions and root vegetables. This means I can only shop at places where roots, fruits and greens are sold open, not pre-packed… which must also be better, mustn’t it? I’ve also ordered some paper sandwich bags because people take packed lunches to work everyday, and when we go out and about on our jaunts we often take sandwiches too!
I’m not deceiving myself that these choices might be compromised – I was looking at cellophane as a food-wrap; it’s totally biodegradable but the process to make it is quite polluting. The whole environmental question and how to live ethically is so complex – bamboo toothbrushes? paper wrapped hard soap? toothpaste powder in tins? – and tins, aren’t many tins lined with a film of plastic?
I know my paper sandwich bags aren’t much, but it’s a little tiny step… I guess…