Plastic

I’m old enough to remember toys that were made from metal. They were the good ones. We always looked down on plastic toys because they were typically made from other countries and we had a sense that they were somewhat of a lesser quality.

Of course, these days, it’s very, very difficult to find toys made from metal unless you happen upon a good yard sale. Plastic is all the rage; painted colours are bring and brilliant and the variations in quality come from the manufacturer, not a particular country.

A few years ago, I started creating Paper.li stories for a number of the lists that I have attached to my Twitter account and it’s turned out to be one of the better decisions that I’ve made. Using the power of those who are on the list, they often become great researchers and I learn so much from what they’ve shared and what Paper.li has collected and published.

One such story happened today as shared by Caitlyne Brewer. It’s not an easy one to read and the pictures are not easy ones to look at.

The Best of Ontario-Educators 4 Daily

Photos of Animals Navigating a World of Plastic

The article is part of a multi-year program to raise awareness about the use of plastics and, particularly, single-use plastics.

It made me sick just reading it.

Plastics, however, are everywhere. You can’t get away from some of them. I’m thinking of the can that I use to get gasoline for the lawn mower, for example.

But the single-use ones can be addressed and we have tried our best.

  • we don’t buy water; over the years I have a collection of water bottles from conferences
  • if we happen to eat out, particularly at fast food restaurants, we won’t use plastic lids or straws for drinks
  • we have refillable coffee mugs
  • we do use material shopping bags and have no shame using a Shopper’s Drug Mart branded bag at No Frills
  • I take great pride in my wife getting angry when buying a single product and going over the counter when asked if she wanted a bag for it. My response typically is “No, unless you have to give me one”
  • we pick up things at our favourite beaches and Jaimie and I will do our best picking up at the side of the road during our walks
  • every other Friday is recycling day around here and we’re good contributors

I know that many schools are now raising awareness by having students keep a record of how many plastic things they use during a week. We tried it on ourselves and were disgusted with how often we were exposed to plastics in a single day.

Regularly, we’ll read stories like the above and it sustains us as we try to do the best. It’s become a mindset and something that we look for.

But, we know that we’re just a drop in the bucket.

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4 thoughts on “Plastic

  1. This made me think about the water bottle tree that we made this year: https://adunsiger.com/2019/03/30/lessons-learned-from-the-water-bottle-tree/

    If nothing else, it got kids thinking about the impact of plastic on the environment. Now to determine, how do we stop this impact?

    I like the mention of plastic toys. One child in our class always speaks about plastic packaging for her favourite LOL dolls. What about the toys themselves? This could get kids talking. Thanks for giving me more to think about!

    Aviva

  2. Hi Doug!

    I’m assuming that your choice of this topic for today is to coincide with the formal announcement to be made by the federal government in the coming hours:
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/government-to-ban-single-use-plastics-as-early-as-2021-source-1.5168386

    While it is easy for individuals and even whole towns or cities to implement a ban/non-use of certain plastic items, there’s no doubt that a federal imperative has the potential to significantly impact the amount of plastic produced that would otherwise wind up in landfills and oceans. I’m sure it won’t be an easy sell in a lot of industries, just as the move away from fossil fuels has generated backlash in areas heavily dependent upon their production. The 1% make a lot of decisions in their own financial favour while impacting the other 99% in negative ways, and they can always use some kind of popular argument to fight against making the correct decision.

    Fingers crossed we will see a 2021 with the single use plastic ban well underway.

  3. It’s not as hard as some people think to avoid single-use plastic! I’m like you: reusable cloth bags, reusable water bottle, reusable lids on storage containers instead of plastic wrap…it’s become a habit now. We were at the Jersey Shore last year & I kept finding plastic trash. Being that close to the ocean really solidified how important the everyday choices are. I even have metal, washable utensils in the classroom to loan to students who need them.

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