Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Plastic-Filled Guide to Living Plastic-Free

Somehow I managed to stumble across the blogPlastic is Rubbish, a blog anonymously written about the efforts of two people to live plastic free. The title of the blog is misleading however; it should read "This Blog is Rubbish".

One of their more significant posts is The A to Z of Plastic Free Living. I won't go down the whole list, but even the first item, antiperspirants, shows how unsophisticated the approach is as it takes the standard rant against the aluminum salts in antiperspirants being toxic, only to then suggest using ALUM as an alternative. (Psst, alum is an aluminum salt). The author, ironically named "Polythene Pam", goes on happily that since it "comes in a small cardboard box [sic]", it is plastic-free. Unfortunately this is not true, as the cardboard box is sealed with an adhesive which is plastic, and it appears from the picture on the webpage that there may well be a plastic coating on the paperboard that makes up the box. And this all overlooks the various petroleum-based resins in the inks.

The next item up, antisceptics, the author already concedes is NOT plastic free in it's packaging. So yes, an A to Z guide on plastic free living that the authors themselves admit isn't all that it is claimed to be.

I'll do one more item - it's a doozy - and then stop. The third item in this list is baking cups. As Polytheen Pam states, "Back in the mists of time I wrote of reusable cup cake cases. I was pleased that they were reusable but sad that they came in plastic packaging. Well I am sad no more. these [sic] scilicone [sic] reusable cupckaes [sic] come in cardboard packaging." So now she thinks that silicone is not a polymer (and again overlooks the plastic adhesive used to seal the box shut, and the possible coatings on the paperboard and the resins in the inks).

Living plastic free is impossible. Living a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle is something that can be accomplished, as can abstaining from alcohol, tobacco, red meat, drugs, electricity and a vast number of other consumables. Plastic is just not one of them.
Short of going completely "off the grid" and becoming a hermit, a desert rat, a lone wolf or any other type of loner that doesn't participate in society and lives in a shack like this one, you cannot live plastics free. You can only reduce the amount of plastics that you use. To put on airs of superiority and accomplishment for living plastic-free is to exhibit not only ignorance of how pervasive plastics are in modern civilization but also lies to others that it can in fact be accomplished.


Anonymous said...

I think you can add those who claim to be "chemical free" or possibly even "organic" to the group of naive individuals who like the plastic free have no idea what these terms actually mean.

John said...

Definitely add the "organic" people. Ever look at National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances for Organic Farming? Since there isn't a fundamental, universal definition of "organic farming", the list is whatever people agree on, and there is a lot of politics involved.