This month, I speak to a special guest. Who better to talk to us for Plastic Free July than a plastic spoon?
His name’s Gazillion, just like every other spoon in the batch he came from. Gazillions of Gazillions.
We got talking after I dug him out of the park bin. Turns out he was having a bit of an existential crisis. He thought he was on the way to the Fill (that’s landfill, to you and me) to spend eternity trapped beneath ever-growing piles of trash.
Given the stats, he knew it was unlikely he'd achieve every plastic's ultimate dream: reincarnation.
Instead, he dreamt of making it to the Big Blue (the ocean) to travel the world, hitching rides in a whale's belly or a fish's gill. Maybe even stop by the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to catch up with oodles of other plastic.
Anything but the Fill. But sitting in that bin, things didn't look good.
Gazillion was asking the big questions, wondering why he existed, his purpose and intentions, trapped in a world chock full of plastic.
"Why am I here? What do I even do? Land a piece of cake in a person's mouth at a picnic once? What kind of existence is that? Then what? Nothing. Lying in a pile of trash, not even rotting. For centuries. What's the point?"
Back in 1869, a chemist first created a kind of plastic from cotton fibres. The first fully synthetic plastic wouldn’t arrive until 1906 when the growing popularity of the game billiards caused a rush on ivory.
This new plastic was hailed as the hero that would protect the elephants. Now they could satisfy every human need with synthetic material, and nature would be left untouched, unspoilt. How wrong they were.
Today, humans are entirely hooked on plastic to the point that an intervention is needed—perhaps many interventions.
The good news is you can stage your own interventions. For one, cake eating at a picnic doesn't need a Gazillion. Not when there are alternatives like avocado pit cutlery and sprouting pineapple plates (yes, really).
'Plant your Plate' sounds like a worthy party trick to me.
And if you can, dig a Gazillion out of the trash and send them off for reincarnation.
You know how it goes; it's only one plastic spoon, said 8 billion people.
DID YOU KNOW...
Produce stickers are the next frontier in the fight against waste. Those little plastic labels you get on fresh fruit and veg might seem insignificant, but if they end up in your compost, they can destroy the whole batch. Then it all ends up in landfill to generate methane for eternity. Small stickers, big problem!
Now, smart companies are trialling laser printing, ink printing and compostable stickers to replace the little troublemakers. We can’t wait to see more of it!
But until then, make sure you remove stickers before you compost your avo skins!
THE DIRT WORTH ROLLING IN...
- Zoom like a dawg! Here's why your pooch and puss get the zoomies.
- Zoom out to see this blue whale doing a 200-litre poo (yes, really).
- How many calories are in plastic? How our clothes put us on the plastic diet.
ANDRE HUNTS DOWN THE ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS
'Andre, how can i make picking up Betsy's poo more eco-friendly?'
Great question! Around the world, 500 million plastic bags scoop up 10 million tons of poo every year. Those bags can take 500 years to decompose. That’s at least 25 lifetimes for me! So, what are the alternatives?
1. Use compostable bags
There are a few compostable poo bags on the market. But the trouble is you can’t just throw them in any old bin. They need to go in a compost bin, ideally one that’s just for dog poo. And there aren’t many around. Of course, you could snap up one of these for your yard and worms will turn Betsy’s poo into fertiliser.
Watch out! Lots of brands are cashing in on the eco movement by making substandard products. Check the small print (here's a few tips) to make sure the bags you buy are truly compostable.
2. Scoop, flush, bury
Another option is to hold on to Betsy’s poo and put it down the loo at home. Check with your local authority about waste disposal laws before you hit the flush. If you choose to bury it, make sure to dig at least 13 cm down and give the veggie patch a wide berth.
We love individual action here at The Woof!Pack, but top-down change? Well, that’s top-dog. Eco-pooping would be so much easier if local authorities chucked up some compost bins at popular walking sites.
In Adelaide, Australia, after a successful trial, compostable bags and bins have become a full-time fixture in local beauty spots. They’re saving 94,000 plastic bags and 8 tonnes of waste at a cost of just $760 a year.
Have a chat with your local rep and quote those stats. Tell them Andre sent you.
HUMANS WHO PLAY NICE WITH THE PLANET™
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is a UK charity working to speed up the transition towards a circular economy. In a circular economy, nothing is wasted, everything is reused or recycled at the end of its life. A bit like the futurist scene we imagined in our last newsletter - Welcome to my humble heap of trash.
Watch their clever mini-film highlighting the easy solutions to plastic pollution that exist within the design and manufacturing process. From quick switches to the packaging to changing the product itself.
That's all for this month, I'm off to bury a pineapple plate to wait for it to sprout!
See you in August.
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