Sunday, May 5, 2013

Waiting to do a Post

I hate Anchor Milk's new bottles. Scratch that. I hate Anchor (and by extension Fonterra) for what they're doing.

Why? While I go about my life trying to reduce the amount of plastic I use, Anchor come out with their "game changing" triple layered bottle. It's bad enough that milk comes in plastic bottles (very seldom reused/"up cycled") in the first place. But it's recyclable right? Does that really make it okay? And by recyclable, they mean it gets turned into road paint!

The reason I was waiting to do this post is that I saw a bus stop ad with a brand of bottled water advertising itself as having reduced the amount of plastic they're using. I wanted a photo of it before doing this post.

There's all sorts of statements and comparisons to be made. How morality is used as a marketing ploy but only so far (why are reusable shopping bags made from synthetic materials rather than more traditional materials like hessian, cotton or linen? - argh - much longer comment to be made here - it's possibly even a blog post in it's own right).

Let's get this right - it goes:

  • Reuse - also called "upcycling". So instead of throwing your stuff away, find ways of using it. For me that's meant a compost bin - NOT a worm farm. What's wrong with worm farms? You've got to be precious about what goes into a worm farm whereas with a compost bin, the worms will come eventually and in the meantime, you have beetles that will do much the same job. Get a bin, start chucking your organic matter in there. In the case of glass - it's a VERY reusable material... Find uses for it...
  • Recycle - Only if you can't reuse it. The carbon footprint on recycling is bigger than any of us suspect and the result is more harmful crap.
  • Reduce - actually I kind of put this one first. Do you really need that packaging? Once you've got the crap, you've got to figure out how to use it.
On the subject of sustainability and it's real cost, here's a TED video - the first 5 minutes or so had me thinking a bit. How much do we take as truth on faith?

It can be argued that the majourity of what we know is taken on faith. I take it for granted that perpetual motion can't exist without trying to prove it for myself.

So of course, that leads to this blog being an opinion piece.

And so here's my opinion:

We should be boycotting the, increased plastic, milk bottles - look for any brand but Anchor. Honestly, can you taste the difference? If you can taste a difference, is that extra plastic really worth that difference?

We are all responsible trying to make a difference. The excuse "but I'm only one person" is a way of retarding yourself and underestimating what you can do. We can lead by example... We can influence the people around us.

Watch enough TED videos and you start to realise that there's enough going on that we could be rid of our oil dependence and that the whole "peak oil" thing is irrelevant given that we could be doing a whole lot more NOW - rather than waiting for that ever so important next development that makes oil irrelevant (i.e. it's already happened. Oil would be irrelevant right this very second if it wasn't for the fact that it's worth so much money. An artificial value if you ask me).

Our environment already sucks. We don't need to be looking for more ways to screw it up. And we should be thinking a hell of a lot more critically about the next big environmental trend. Recycling really isn't all that great for the environment though has probably received a great deal of marketing attention (as opposed to trying to market goods by saying "stop buying our over packaged crap").

Oh - and the whole Cotton thing:-

The last time I was in India I went to an ashram that had been converted to a museum for Gandhi. It irritated the living crap out of me. It was a tourist thing - the language used had been simplified. Gandhi had this thing about using the cotton cloth produced within India. So it came across at this museum as "Why did Gandhi like rough cotton cloth?" as opposed to discussing the moral implications behind what he was saying.

The deal was that Indian's would pick the cotton for very little pay. It was then shipped to England - the shipping cost being quite a bit more than paid to the workers in the field (the only stage at which Indian's profited from this process....). Once it had arrived in England, English built factories (i.e. English jobs in building the factories as well as processing of cloth) would turn the cotton into cloth, which would then find itself once again on a ship, heading back to India - to be sold to the wealthy.... who were wealthy by taxing the poor cotton pickers...

So Gandhi was essentially saying "Why are we working so hard to make the rich (English) richer?".

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