What Surfaces in My Nightmares Lately

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Ever since I read about this huge sargasso sea of plastic debris two weeks ago, it has haunted my nightmares. I find myself surrounded by plastic garbage and unable to clear a path out of it. After awaking from another such dream, I decided to try to exorcise the dream by writing about it too.

I just don't understand our reliance on plastic. Yesterday I went to Wegmans and they were offering samples of apples--in little plastic cups. Why couldn't they just spear them on toothpicks? And the cups weren't being recycled--they were being dumped in a garbage bag full of other trash.

I don't think we should totally give up on plastic; it has its place. I admit I like having plastic rather than glass bottles for things like hair products. I remember once dropping a glass bottle of shampoo in the shower. Not cool! But I don't see why SOAP needs to come in a bottle. What's wrong with bar soap? Why this whole body wash thing?

We have to use less plastic, and we have to be better about recycling what we create. Because turning the ocean into plastic soup is dangerous and gross--in fact, one scientist has called plastic the scourge of sea life.

4 Comments

That plastic island has turned my normally retiring husband into an eco-missionary. He will tell anybody who will pretend to pay attention about it, while energetically filling our cloth bags full of groceries. Plus, he pays close attention to recycling.

They're paying attention even here in libertarian
Wyoming. One person referred to plastic grocery bags as "the unofficial Wyoming state flower" and I saw an old cowboy go into the grocery store the other day carrying his cloth bags. Those guys are usually the last ones to embrace change.

The problem with that plastic island is that it's in an area that is no government's jurisdiction, so nobody's responsible for cleaning it up (like they would if they were, but work with me here). I think that a solution would be to discover a way to make that island financially attractive, scoop it up, and recycle it into something beneficial. Because it belongs to nobody, somebody could make a fortune off of it if they could think of a way.

Thanks for this useful link.

Also, what many don't realize is that plastic is a by-product of oil refining.

Hi Juti--

I think that a solution would be to discover a way to make that island financially attractive, scoop it up, and recycle it into something beneficial. Because it belongs to nobody, somebody could make a fortune off of it if they could think of a way.

I think you're right, and I hope someone comes up with that way before too long. Because what the thing is doing to marine life is just terrible.

Hi GMA-- you're right that many people don't know plastic is made from oil--as are synthetic fabrics. I remember how shocked I was when it actually dawned on me that pantyhose were made from petroleum! That's one reason I'm a natural-fibers gal. OK, there are many problems with the way cotton in farmed on this planet, particularly in the US. (and this is a topic near and dear to my heart because cotton farming is the main industry of my home town.) But at least it's something that occurs in nature, not something that has to be made out of oil. And 100% cotton is 100% recyclable. But add just a touch of polyester to it, and well, all you can do with that fabric once it's worn out is turn it into dust rags and then throw it away.

I know old blue jeans and the like are used in building insulation, and have tried to find someone who would take my worn-out cotton clothes for recycling. I'd even pay to ship the stuff somewhere if I had to.... but so far my research hasn't turned up a thing. Anyone know anything about this?

I have a documentary on the scourge of plastic bags on my PVR waiting for me. I'll watch it right after I take out the trash. :-)

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This page contains a single entry by Holly published on February 19, 2008 9:09 AM.

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