12.22.2008

We Need to End the Overuse of Plastic!


Listen, we don't want to depress you - but you need to know. Just in time for the holidays, when all of us are looking very carefully for that right gift for our kids - we just wanted you to be aware. Now, we promise you, Nonchalant Mom is not about to leave you hanging for long though. The reason we bring this up is that there might be some hope on the horizon for the problematic use of plastics.

Anyway, let's start with the sobering facts. Plastic products and components are everywhere. They are used in everything from the obvious like toys and car parts to intricate pieces found in such things as cell phones and computers. Almost everything we use in our average daily process utilizes plastic. According to our friends over at Greenpeace, about 100 Million tonnes of the stuff is produced each year! And, the very thing that makes them desired by many a consumer, durability and stability, are the same thing that makes them dangerous to our natural environment. Of course, if you are like us, you recycle. And this feels good. Unfortunately, though, only about 1/15th of plastics are recycled. Separating and sorting the various kinds of plastic is a difficult process apparently. But, worse, many of the plastics we use end up in land fills around the world - and even worse, in our oceans. Did you know that there is a floating vortex of plastic items around the size of Texas in the North Pacific Ocean commonly referred to as the Eastern Garbage Patch. You name it, and it's floating in this vortex. Not only that, but there are about 5 major known similar vortexes of floating toxins in other parts of the world too! Now, it's only going to get worse - in volume of course - and because of what else we about to tell you. We shared the floating vortex.... but what about the supposed 70 percent of discarded plastics in the sea that are not floating. This is the stuff lining the ocean/sea bottoms all over the world. Now, the world is still a very large large large place, and you might not wish to admit that this conundrum affects your personal life as yet. But is does. Just think how often you see discarded plastic on a daily basis. What a bummer! And worse - we're laying this bummer on you right at the heart of the Holiday gift-buying season! How horrible are we?

Well, we promised you that we wouldn't subject you to to much negativity. And we like to keep a promise. So, for one thing, we won't continue with the abundant information supporting the fact that all our plastic waste is not good. (we'll give you a link if you want to indulge more!). But, we want to move on to more hopeful subjects. So here goes:

News flash! There might be hope after all. And trust our diligent researcher friends far and wide for trying endlessly to come up with things that can help our little world survive as a much more responsible place..... and allow us to keep consuming like there is no tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed for a new(ish) product called ARBOFORM. This is a relatively new product developed, produced, and marketed by a German firm called TECNARO GmbH. The lowdown on the product is this: ARBOFORM IS A LIQUID WOOD! The main ingredient to this product is lignin - which is essentially a byproduct in the cellulose pulping process which gives it the same consistency and durability as the cellulose for papermaking.
Finally, we might have a product that could give the same specifics as plastic, the same designs as plastic is capable of, and can even be injected much the same way as plastic is injected into molds. Here is a product that can give us much the same product as if it were wittled from wood, without the singularity or time consuming properties. And, we all know how crude oil is used in the making of plastic - how about replacing that with a product 100% friendlier to the environment. And, just think, perhaps we could see a time soon when those swirling vortexes in our oceans could be replaced by a wood product which is desposed of in much the same manner as.... well.... wood itself is! Are we on the verge of a MAJOR product revolution? We certainly hope so. We really really really really really HOPE SO!

More info on Plastics and the natural environment:
The Institute for Figuring
Greenpeace
More info on
ARBOFORM

1 comment:

Kate said...

Thank you for that.
Have you seen "GArbage Island" series?
http://www.vbs.tv/video.php?id=1485308505
Yes, expanding on the depressing aspect of this subject, but very informative, and expanding on the information in your post.