You might not have expected to hear this over at a plastic boycott blog but there are a lot of plastic products I have no intention of giving up. Nope not ever
Using plastic to make one-use, throwaway objects that then become everlasting litter is dumb. Plastic packaging, disposable cutlery and bloody carrier bags, I will BOYCOTT these products.
I hate it when plastic is used to make a product for which there is a viable, natural, longer-lasting, better wearing alternative such as metal mop buckets, cotton shirts and wooden spade handles. So I source these alternatives and write about them in the blog.
There are many things I don’t like about plastic or the production of and disposal of synthetic polymers…
and yet …..
..there are times when I have to admit the superiority of plastic. Strong durable light weight and cheap, plastics are integral to the development and production of products that have changed the world for the better. For example synthetic fibers for temporary shelters. I have slept under cotton and it is wet. Talking of wet, wetsuits and other underwater equipment have revolutionized aqua exploration and we know so much more of the watery world on which we depend. The list goes on….
The dissemination of knowledge depends on plastic. They are used to make phones, cameras and computer and the cables to power them. Lightweight durable, moldable plastics have made these products truly portable but more importantly affordable. Better communication have been essential in assessing environmental damage and promoting change.
The production of plastic does damage the environment but many industries pollute and I still use their products. I travel widely on public transport, I would not choose to live without electricity and I think electronics are essential all environmentally damaging activities. Plastics is just one of the dirty industries I work with. Just as I don’t choose to sit in the dark, I don’t choose to reject all plastics. Instead I try to limit my use and campaign for better, greener provision.
To replace all plastic products with” natural” alternatives would place a huge strain on the environment. Could we for example only use copper piping in buildings? It is a lot more expensive then plastic and copper is due to run out in 2044. Oh except there might be a big deposit under the Andes – well that’s them screwed then. Because, even if we had infinite metal to replace all those parts now made from plastic, (developed to replace expensive and finite metal), the mining industry would destroy another finite resource – land.
The cost of land is often forgotten when talking about renewables. Rubber is a renewable resource but at present synthetic rubbers accounts for around 50% o rubber used. To meet current need we would need to double natural rubber production. That’s would mean a massive increase in farming rubber that would impact on undeveloped land. Farming is responsible for the loss of eco habitats and diminished biodiversity and lots more.
One often cited reason for not using plastic is that it is made from a finite natural resource – oil. That’s no reason not to use it, but a good reason to use it properly and not to waste it on throwaway plastic bags. While we are on the subject I would prefer to see oil used to make a computer than fuel an SUV.
Calling for a boycott on all plastics categorizes all plastics as bad. This detracts from the use and development of better plastics. The plastic industry needs policing not criminalizing.
Plastic, well produced, well used and then recycled, is a massively useful product. Rather than boycotting all plastics we should be discussing
How to produce greener plastics in a manner less damaging to the environment,
What we choose to use plastic for
How we harvest and reuse all the components, including plastic,at the end of a product’s life.
I still use a wide range of durable plastics because I think they are the best option and I think they have a great future. However I have strict guidelines for how I use them..
I use plastics products when
They are the best for the job i.e. the soles of my work boots and safety helmets
Plastic products that reduce the use of plastic disposables i.e. my battery recharger and Steripen
when they save the world i.e. computers and electricity
when they are a means of communications i.e. our phones
they have been made from recycled plastics and help create a market i.e. the Onya rucksack
You can see the plastic products I have right here plastic we use
It is quite common amongst plastic boycotters to refuse to buy new plastic for reasons they can best explain. Personally, I think if you are going to use plastic, it makes no difference if it is new or second-hand. There may be other, very valid, reasons to buy second-hand – but boycotting plastic is not one of them. I buy many products second-hand but that merely reinforces my need for plastic. I accept that and try to ensure the plastic I buy meets certain standards.
Plastic products I use should be …
the best I can afford
That do the job as efficiently as possible
That are as technologically advanced as possible because they have to last me a long time
Durable and well made
Made from a safer plastic
Are made from an easily recyclable plastic and clearly marked as such
From a reputable, good-practice company
We need to reduce our consumption of everything not just plastic but I try to only buy stuff I really need but there are some plastic luxuries in there. I could do with out music but don’t. And I do have a T.V though I often wonder about that. Still it keeps my mum quiet.
There are some plastic products we would like to boycott but cannot find a suitable alternative - find that list here soon
Cut plastic rubbish consumption .
Campaign against the unnecessary use and abuse of this volatile product,
Promote discussion on how we use plastics in the future
Encourage the development of better plastics and of plastic recycling.
The plastics we do boycott
See what plastic we boycott here
Lots more on the various types of plastic and what they are used to make can be found HERE
Find out about plastic, why we boycott it and who we are here