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Can we live with less plastic?

Our federal government has announced plans to ban single-use plastic containers at some point in the near future. That will be quite a challenge, but I think collectively we can live with less plastic in our lives. There will be mis-steps and difficulties along the way, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make the effort. A good start would be to do away with those plastic mineral water bottles I see littered around our parks.

Here in Toronto at least, we have really good drinking water. When I go on nature walks and want to bring water along, I fill my re-usable water bottle from the tap and off I go. Works fine.

I became more acutely aware of the problem of plastic junk littering the planet when we visited Vietnam. We visited Halong Bay, a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site. Even in what appears at first to be a pristine landscape we saw plastic junk floating around in the water again and again.

Later on our trip our tour group went out on the Mekong River, and all along the shoreline, we saw plastic litter – a lot of plastic litter. This is not just a problem in far away parts of the world, though. Regular readers know I go on a lot of nature walks in parkland throughout the GTA. A trip does not go by when I do not see litter in these lovely areas.

The number one variety of litter I see on these walks is the ubiquitous plastic water bottle. This is followed closely by Tim Horton’s cups, which I’ve learned are not recyclable. In some parks, such as Sam Smith Park near our home, beer cans are in 3rd place.

There is also the problem of plastic over-packaging. How many times have you bought a small item packaged in a much larger chunk of plastic. It happens all the time, doesn’t it? I wonder how much packaging could be reduced if collectively we put our minds to it.

We have become habituated to using far too much plastic. To really reduce it, we’ll have to do some things differently and that kind of change is difficult and I have no doubt there will be costs attached to it. Many people will resist change and some will no doubt use the opportunity to attack the government for this initiative. I’ve already read Tweets suggesting it is an election ploy, and maybe it is, but still anything we can do to raise some awareness and begin to reduce the amount of plastic we are using has to be a good thing, don’t you think?

5 Comments

  1. Daniel Felstead

    I agree, the time is right for banning plastics and to start with single use plastics makes sense.
    I remember when the time came to ban smoking in the work place. Everyone said no way can’t be done and now it seems so so ludicrous that it ever was allowed at all.
    We change all the time and saying it is an election ploy well perhaps but still better than saying let’s give back millions to the rich!
    The time to clean up our act is now even if it costs us to do it. We owe it to our children and their children.

  2. Salvelinas Fontinalis

    Im all for banning plastic water bottles and banning beer and Tim Hortons altogether.

    • No, we won’t be banning beer, thanks just the same. We have a great system for recyling beer bottles, but then that will go by the wayside when King Dug trashes the beer store.

      • Salvelinas Fontinalis

        Dont be so quick to get behind beer, it is nasty to the environment. In 2017 the world produced 43 BILLION imperial gallons of beer. A gallon of beer weighs about 9.6 pounds so world production is about 9.6 x 43 billion pounds = 413 billion pounds of beer. If beer averages say 4.5% alcohol then beer production produces 18.6 BILLION pounds of alcohol. So what you ask? Well beer is produced by fermentation. Fermentation works like this: Yeast eats sugar and produces alcohol and carbon dioxide in equal weights. So if beer production makes 18.6 BILLION pounds of alcohol then it also produces 18.6 BILLION pounds of carbon dioxide which is released into the atmosphere each and every year. That is quite a bit and I think all those folks who are loving carbon taxes need to also quit drinking beer to help save the planet. Other alcohol production also produces huge amounts of carbon dioxide so also giving up wine and whisky is needed to save the planet. Sober up folks! Save the world!

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