January 16, 2021

Gone Green

Posted on 29. Mar, 2011 by Administrator in Energy/Environment

Everywhere I turn I see something touting its ‘greenness.’ Organic vegetables are the most obvious, but I started eating them when I was knee high to a grasshopper so that’s not ‘new green.’ That’s old green. Here are a few of the old green items and products.  Saran wrap, now that keeps my food fresh so that has to be green, but then again, it doesn’t break down too well and takes about 300 years to return to the cycle of nature. Hmmm. Maybe I should talk about multiple use products instead, those that have an inherent ‘greenity’ because we can use them several times.

Here goes. Fanfare, please. And now, the greatest most stupendous all-time winner of the coveted ‘Re-useit’ award. Wait for it…NEWSPAPERS.  You can use ‘em to read about all the bad news on the planet. Then you can put them down in the parakeet cage and let the parakeets get even for you. OR you could use them as paper hats for your children (that is if anybody remembers how to make one). What about as drawer liners, cat box liners, rolled up as fly swatters, packing materials, wrapping paper when you run out of the real stuff? Now that we’ve covered newspapers (send in your ideas to the Editor) let’s move on to more challenging re-useable items…

Plastic is the conservationist’s Public Enemy No. 1 and with good reason. The only way to completely get rid of plastic is to send it to outer space and blow it up with a gazillion megaton nuclear device. Actually it’s a bit easier, but it’s costly, and as all of us high school physics bums know, matter simply changes form, so we don’t really get rid of plastic. It’s here. It walks among us. It beckons us from supermarket shelves. “Buy me and I’ll make your life simpler and more fun. Don’t pay attention to those ‘greenies’ in the corner. They don’t know what they’re talking about.” That’s the way the dialogue would go if plastic could talk.

OK, let’s assume that we need some plastic. We need it for auto parts, toys, containers, packaging and a host of other uses, but let’s see if we can be a little more creative with its reuse. For example, I sit here writing this article and spy at least a half dozen things made from plastic: plant pots, my million candlepower searchlight, my hummingbird lure, a grill cover,  an empty lemonade container, my cellphone and Gloryoskie, even my trusty computer!

Let’s go over the advantages of these particular plastic items. When plastic plant pots fall over or get accidently whacked, they don’t break. They hang on through thick and thin. My million candlepower searchlight’s plastic body doesn’t corrode and keeps the innards dry so that I can be illuminating for years and years. My hummingbird lure is water and hummingbird fluid repellant so I can take it down and reuse it next season. The grill cover keeps the corrosive elements from destroying my propane-powered Weber friend, saving me money. The lemonade container gets used as a fill-er-up container for flowers and a sugar solution mixer for the hummingbirds’ food.  My cellphone is lighter because of the plastic, so when I put it in my pocket its weight doesn’t make my pants fall down. And my computer doesn’t get cold or hot inside its plastic ‘cocoon’ like it would if it were metal.

 

There. All good reuses or justifications for using plastic, I think. Plastic can also be decorative and can replace more costly materials, but we have to be careful and not let it seduce us to buy too much of it. Just take a look at my garage and you’ll see that I CAN’T BEAR TO THROW AWAY PLASTIC so I store it or take it to the recycling center (which is really a better solution). Now this is the point I want to leave you with, there are several opportunities we have to do good for the environment. One is to find biodegradable packaging materials to replace other nasty ones. Second, if we agree we need a product that is either packaged in plastic or is plastic, we think about how we’re going to reuse it. Third, if we’re not going to reuse it then save it and recycle it, please. I’ve seen too many ducks with six-pack rings around their necks to think they’re just trying to be trendy. Do your part so nature can do its.

 

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