Category Archives: Recycle

Let’s lay the blame for plastic where it belongs

In the bigger scheme of things right now plastic isn’t on top of the list of importance by a long way but a recent announcement from our corporation parading as a government is the bold move where no government has gone before, pardon my cynicism … they’re banning … wait for it …

plastic fruit stickers, cutlery, and cotton buds.

It’s a bit like the recent announcement by Countdown that they’ve stopped stocking plastic straws. (Whilst McDs and friends all continue using them). They are the culprits. It is very difficult not to be cynical at this, when one browses the supermarket, everywhere there is plastic. It is so hypocritical. “Excuse me, please stop using this plastic that we’re manufacturing for you. And please buy these bags we’ve made for you.” Used to be we took our own basket to the supermarket … we’ve come such a long way haven’t we? (Not). And now of course it is all backfiring as there is no other country to dump our consumer trash on any more. It was coming wasn’t it and please don’t try and tell me they didn’t know that.

Let’s be honest and remember why we have plastic bags and wrapping in the first place. Step back a few decades, well four decades actually, and we were all toting our groceries home in paper bags provided by the supermarket (that we all are obliged to pay 25 cents each for now) and our meat was wrapped in paper then newspaper. There simply wasn’t much plastic at all. So why did they replace the paper bags with plastic?

That’s simple. And it wasn’t because our mothers, grandparents or whatever begged them to give us plastic bags. A corporation’s bottom line is profit and cost effectiveness. They achieve that by passing the cost on to us whilst convincing us it was our fault in the first place. Watch The Corporation movie (on the Corporations page) and you’ll see what I mean. It’s cost effective for their pockets not the environment you realize. I recall hearing in the ’80s that corporations would one day be controlling governments. It seemed a far cry and yet here we are and they do exactly that. And so nobody will get tough on corporations and to keep us at bay they feed us little snippets of hope like ‘the straws are going’ … ‘we’re banning supermarket bags’ and so on. Hoping we won’t notice the veggies, the meat everything in fact is packed to the hilt with … plastic. Sadly everybody swallows the spin on it.

Let’s just stop accepting the blame for this. They took away the paper & gave us a ton of free plastic however as we know it isn’t free because it costs the environment but as we also now know corporates are really good at kicking cans down the road then telling us it’s our responsibility to pick up the tab. Where once they washed the glass milk and other bottles they replaced those with plastic. They took away the glass containers with marmite & peanut butter etc that we used to keep & use for drinking glasses  and replaced them with plastic as well. We need to go the way of the Bin Inns and bring our own containers again.

The discussion around this wonderful announcement from Jacinda has brought forth some brilliant ideas. One I really like & am considering practicing is to rip the plastic off the said items after leaving the supermarket & dispose of it in their trash. Send it back to where it came from. Instead currently we are obliged to take it home, wash it once empty, sort it into a dozen different categories & transport it all the way to a recycle center if we do not have a kerbside collection. Talk about sustainable practices. Even though our corporate councils (yes they are listed on Dun & Bradstreet as companies) lay claim to sustainable practices. A few of them do it but not all.

Lip service pretty much is the name of that game.

Here is the Jacinda article:




Image by MikesPhotos from Pixabay


From an interesting UK site called ‘This is Rubbish’ (TiR) ….  TiR is a voluntary group started in 2009 that: 

“aims to communicate the preventable scale of food wasted in the UK, through policy research, community and arts led public events.”

They have compiled some fascinating facts and figures. Did you know for instance, that:

1. “It’s estimated that 30 – 50% of food is waste globally. 1

2. 18 – 20 million tones of food is wasted annually in the UK. 2

3. Assuming that in the UK and US 25% of food is wasted, 10% of GHG emissions from these countries come from food that is discarded. 3 ”  

(Note: follow links to article for references cited).

I’ve noticed many food outlets will donate their unsold food at the end of the day to charities who quickly pass them on to those folks they know are in need. I recall during the ’90s collecting weekly a car boot load of bread from a local supermarket for that purpose. Another area I lived in (NZ’s beautiful Bay of Plenty) local growers left two large bins of ‘seconds’ from their Kiwifruit harvests free for the taking, which ended up in homes or as stock feed. Brilliant. Then there are the folks I’ve seen recently on FB who have swap stands or free stands near their gardens to dispose of surplus and feed people who are struggling financially … equally as brilliant. If you have a fruit tree that produces more than you can use, consider placing boxes of it at your front gate for passers by to take. Sharing is caring. Your generosity will return to you. I assure you.

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Then closer to home, was my dear Dad who grew an enormous vegetable garden and gave most of it away … serving two purposes … he loved gardening and growing things … and also enjoyed the buzz he got from helping others. Not only did he give the produce away, he also made pickles, relishes, jams and preserves, much of which he also gave away. Having lived through a Depression and a World War he knew the art of survival and making the most what he had. Like many in his era, his shed was chock full of odds and ends to fix stuff with … that was the era that preceded our current ‘throw away’ society. Perhaps this is where the ‘throw-away-the-food’ mentality comes from? Seriously, the fix-it thing is what could drastically cut back the rubbish and recycling problem that is growing into magnanimous proportions … a topic for another post.

I confess I’m guilty of waste at times although I’ve cut that back and am more mindful of using leftovers creatively instead of biffing them. Did you know for instance, you can make apple cider vinegar or apple jelly from apple peels and cores? ? Or that you can make pickle or relish from water melon rinds?

I have a friend who said as a child they had a cook up of all the left overs one night a week. (Only what was edible of course). I guess this may (or may not?) go down well with the creative chefs however … in the bigger picture we who eat well on the planet are actually the minority. This alone causes me to be very thankful for the food I do have, and more mindful of the need to not waste it. And last but not least, to use what I save in all of this, to feed a hungry child elsewhere on the planet. We may one day need the same generosity ourselves. Our current political regime here in NZ is forgetting that fact. Something to think about.

 Read more about TiR’s fantastic site HERE

Read their food waste article HERE