Earth day 2011 just passed, and in honor of the event I'm reading "The WorldWithout Us".
Okay, maybe not so much in honor of the event. More like, because I saw it on the shelf and was interested. At any rate, I'm deeply disturbed by the section on plastics and plastic polymers, and the fact that even on a microscopic level, they don't actually break down, they simply get smaller. And when ingested, they cause damage.
There is a plastic trash island in the middle of the pacific the size of a small island. And bits and pieces of plastic bags, bottle caps and cotton swab sticks wash up on estuaries all over.
"Plastic is evil." Bumblebee says.
"People are evil," Penguin corrects.
"People make mistakes out of ignorance," I tell them. No one meant for plastic to be 'evil' or even thought about the consequences of something that lasts forever. Even biodegradable plastic lasts for over a year in the ocean. And it only biodegrades into...smaller plastic particles.
"What can we do?" they both asked. And then we thought about it. Right now, we haven't used a plastic bag at the grocery store in almost 3 years. Our canvas bags are beginning to shrink, but they're still pretty sturdy. The last time I bought baggies was about the same time. Although, we do use them...it was a costco sized box I last purchased. We are more likely to use plastic containers. Still plastic, still considered disposable...but much sturdier and we wash them regularly. And they're easier to recycle when they finally crack. Our recycling bin is still often overflowing with appropriate materials, although we really should cut down on packaging.
I told them I thought we were doing pretty well. Of course, there's always room for improvement so we'll all keep our eyes open for environmentally sustainable (not corn) ideas.
We'd like to make Earth Day every day, or at least once a week. :-)