Are we Plastic Addicts?
I am feeling a 'plastic hangover headache' from looking at this map of Plastics in the Ocean. Haven't we all used these things on almost a daily basis for years? How did it get this way? I am a plastic addict and so is just about everyone I know or see around me. We have become a world addicted to plastic. But it wasn't always this way!
I am old enough to have grown up never using a plastic bottle until I was in college. Back when I was young, a straw was a treat when you went out to eat (and it use to be made out of paper!) We brought our food home in paper bags (without handles) from the grocery store. We didn't have any furniture made out of plastic at all. Fabrics and clothing were natural materials (Wool, Cotton, Leather, Cashmere etc) and generally handed down or kept for much longer than you would these days. Were they more durable or did we just take better care of them? I don't really remember but I know life seemed pretty good, so plastic certainly wasn't a necessity for a happy life. I am not that old really. I grew up in the 70s and 80s. Got married, had children, bought my first house in the 90s. Have spent the last 20 years raising a family, going to grad school, doing up houses, having a business, etc. I have only just past the 50 mark so it's not like I am that old! Looking back over time, plastic very quickly became seemingly, a necessity. Imagining how many pieces of plastic I touch or use every day is easy. Its everything and everywhere.
Somehow, I now have a plastic life, but where did this addiction begin?
Plastic was first introduced to me by way of cool toys, like the 'Derry Daring Doll' with her motorcycle and camper van, the magic kit, doctors kit and Wonder Woman costume I got for Christmas or birthdays. Plastic was regulated to toys and they were super cool. You want to create an addict? Get 'um when they are young!
Tupperware was a big thing in the 70s and 80s too...our Mom's actually had 'Tupperware parties' to sell them to friends. The boom of the cosmetic industry was very much a condition of the availability of plastic containers as well. Perfect sized, disposable and seemingly hygenic. Well, it turns out not so hygenic for the environment we live in once you are done with them.
My father worked for IBM so when the computer became all the rage from IBM and Apple I was hooked. We all were. Those sleek, smooth looking monitors in hard and durable plastic, housing those awesome 'mechanical' brains were going to be a hit regardless! Fancy grown-up toys were the order of the day suddenly! From Bambino to Wii, Tapes to CD's we were all consuming plastic on a skyrocketing basis. Dad's were going out and buying stuff suddenly. Going shopping had a whole new meaning to men in general. It wasn't just about the wives dragging them out to get a new pair of pants anymore. They wanted the latest thing and the bigger the better.
So its easy enough to see how the addiction started and why plastic is not just a part of our daily lives..it defines our daily life. We take something out of the refrigerator and it's in plastic, we put it back, we use plastic to cover it. We go shopping and we bring it home in a plastic bag. We get a coffee, a drink of water or a juice and it's in plastic which we usually sip through plastic from a straw or a cap. We sit in our 'pleather' car seat, in our hybrid car and it's predominantly made out of plastic. We eat off plates with utensils for lunch and its plastic. We buy clothes and they are made from, are packaged in, and have closures that are made from plastic. We use our phone, laptop, desktop, even read a book on items that are nearly entirely made of plastic. We watch the news or Netflix on a big plastic housed TV.
We put our children in cribs made of plastic composite, eat from plates made of plastic resin and diaper them in plastic diapers. They grow up with smells and off-gasing from plastic paint, plastic clothes, plastic bedding. They aren't just addicts...considering the research showing the leaching issues of plastic into our water table, food, dairy, meat etc children are part plastic now.
Not sure most people even realize it but it's pretty scary...from a health standpoint, it's beyond frightening!
I don't know about you but it doesn't seem feasible to go back to the 1970s, pre-plastic..nor would I want to. Firstly, the whole bell bottom, low waisted look on men was just wrong! No matter how cute the 'Hardy Boys' were.
However, we are starting to see the hangover from our plastic addiction and we have to do something. You only have to look at countries where the tides and currents park our plastic leftovers to see the alarming fallout from all of this plastic use and waste. It has to go somewhere and we have been dumping it in the ocean for years now. Well, the ocean is only so big and it is spitting it back out. It is being ingested by one of our major food sources too, seafood. That is scary. Those little micro-beads from my once favorite facial cleanser are now showing up in the clams and mussels we eat. Yikes!
So what can we do? We are smart, forward-thinking individuals. Humanity can come up with better options and solutions and put them into practice because we have to and I hope, want to solve the problem before it completely overwhelms the Ocean and us.
You are going to start seeing some changes at Wild Atlantique as a company! We will start by posting on our facebook page, newsletters etc, articles that inform us all on the issue and possible solutions of plastic waste, (particularly as it pertains to the retail and fashion industries) and more responsible buying and use so we are all more aware. We aren't cured of our addiction yet but we are going to try to start living without the 'plastic drug'. We have a feeling it will be a lifelong battle, but we are determined.
- We will be further sourcing vendors and products that repurpose and reuse plastic.
- We will eliminate all packaging that is single use or not from recycled plastic or paper.
- We will partner with NGOs that encourage research and support of Ocean Conservancy etc.
- Its a start, and we hope you will come along on the journey with us.
We want to hear from you about what else Wild Atlantique can do to kick the 'Plastic' habit. If you have suggestions, requests or thoughts please comment here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Karen @ Wild Atlantique