Say that again?

Last month, Carrefour and waste recycling company TerraCycle launched an initiative to tackle the problems of plastic waste threatening to destroy the environment.

To litter the environment, yes, obviously, to pollute it, sure, but destroy? Slightly de trop in the rhetoric there, no?

38 comments on “Say that again?

  1. The usual hyperbole is that we’re going to destroy the planet, which is even more ridiculous. If it’s humanity versus a 6,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 ton planet which has lasted 4.5 billion years, my money’s on the planet.

  2. I really fail to get the whole “don’t use plastic” thing. The issue we have is that plastic ends up in the ocean, killing stuff — I’m quite happy that that’s a problem that wants solving, but “don’t use plastic” is completely the wrong way of going about it.

    Because stuff ending up in the ocean is due to people just dropping stuff which ends up in water courses and eventually winds up in the sea; the stuff that responsible people buy and throw away in a bin doesn’t. And the people who care enough to pay extra to swap plastic for not-plastic are surely the people who care enough to use a bin in the first place. The people who don’t care and thus drop their plastic cup any old where are most likely the same people who aren’t going to pay extra to have not-plastic.

    So effectively peeps who are demanding not-plastic are admitting that they are going to toss their rubbish out the car window because they’re too stupid/lazy to use a bin. If that’s the case, fine, but I *am* capable of using a bin, so don’t force me to use not-plastics which are more expensive and more environmentally damaging to manufacture.

  3. Matt,

    It isn’t even about irresponsible littering here, like someone leaving crisp packets on the beach at Bournemouth. It’s about poor countries that dump their rubbish in rivers as a matter of course, because they don’t have binmen.

  4. Matt and BoM4, it probably is the West, because we’ve fallen for some stupid ideas: (1) We have to recycle by separating the waste and then trusting the local authority to actually recycle it, (2) local authorities have fallen for the stupid idea that if we ship the stuff to poor countries, the plebs there will actually recycle it by picking it and making a profit doing so. In fact, once they’ve had our money they simply dump the stuff, which is what we should have done in the beginning.

  5. Matt said:
    “stuff ending up in the ocean is due to people just dropping stuff which ends up in water courses and eventually winds up in the sea”

    No, it’s people being responsible and putting it in their recycling boxes, which the local government (because of eco-legislation) then ships to a poor country, who claim they will recycle it but actually just dump it, so it ends up in the sea.

  6. Witchie. They’re certainly making a fuss about this in Oz at present. The Chinese have decided to stop taking so much rubbish, and the stuff now goes to Indonesia, Malaysia etc.

    Since I can remember when the idea of separate bins for recycling came in, I naturally feel that we should simply burn or dump the stuff. If the Greens disagree, they can be volunteered to do the sorting.

  7. “Since I can remember when the idea of separate bins for recycling came in…”

    I can remember as a lad in Bristol in the 1960s we had a rubbish bin and a paper sack.

    The paper sack was a separate collection. Paper was, I believe, recycled. Then something or other happened and it was no longer economical.

  8. True, Boganboy. Sorting is an imposition on the labor of the citizenry.

    It has evolved that burying plastic trash is better “for the planet” than recycling it. I have never heard buried plastic threaten anyone.

  9. People who want to ban plastics and fossil fuels never have experienced life without either. If they think discarded plastic bottles or tin cans are problems, wait until they have to deal with the glass containers they replaced, underfoot.

    Given the tonnage of water in the oceans, and the tonnage of marine life therein, Mankind just could not put enough plastic in the ocean to pose any measurable threat.

    Marine animals swallow things whole, claws, skin, bone, teeth, fur and swallow a variety of particulates from the erosion of naturally occurring elements.

    Yet swallowing a piece of plastic or plastic beads is a catastrophe. The worst problem for larger marine animals is entanglement in fishing lines, nets and fish-hooks. Banning consumer plastics will not address this issue.

    I wonder how long the plastic calamity – the follow-on from climate doom now that the climate is net cooling – will last before being replaced by the next thing.

  10. ” . Paper was, I believe, recycled. Then something or other happened and it was no longer economical ”
    There was a job we had, at one time, disposing of dead files for several lawyers’ practices. For obvious reasons they wanted assurance that none of their paperwork was going to end up flytipped & blowing in the wind. So we had an arrangement with a paper recycling company it would be unloaded straight into the bailer for pulping.
    When we started this we were getting better than £30 a ton so, adding on what we were charging for taking it away, a decent earner. Until the rate for paper waste started falling. Got to the point the guy at the recyclers was saying he was going to be charging us for taking it. About the only thing they were paying money for was clean printer fanfold in large quantities.
    I see paper recycling bins, but heaven knows what they do with the stuff. Uncategorised paper waste just isn’t economically viable to recycle. Probably like the glass banks. Most of which gets ground up for tarmac topping. Why you’re supposed to sort for colour’s a mystery. Tyres don’t care.

  11. Amen, bis. Dogma won’t die from sunlight.

    A friend was depressed that her waste service was no longer collecting glass separately for recycle. It was just trash. She asked if my disposal site still took glass for recycle. She was quite pleased when I said yes. She was going to keep collecting her glass and drive it herself to my site.

    It couldn’t be more obvious that recycling glass is not viable. There were articles in the local papers saying it just didn’t make sense anymore.* Yet, it is still very important to her to participate in the ritual.

    Would Gamecock enjoy life more if he had a low enough intellect to get joy from playing with his trash?

    *It never made sense. It can be smart to recycle that which is rare or expensive. Glass and paper are neither.

  12. Glass is energy expensive, and can be economical to create new glass from old glass instead of from sand, though the best glass recycling is reusing the entire bottle, as my milkman does for me.

  13. @ Bloke on M4
    PLEASE do not fall for that line. The problem is China.
    There are ten rivers that account for 90% of the plastic in the oceans. Six of them (seven if you include the Indus which mostly flows through Pakistan) flow through China.
    The poor countries don’t dump much plastic, they are more likely to reuse it.
    The Yellow River carries more plastic waste – 1.5 million tons – than the whole world exports to China.

  14. They complain that plastic doesn’t breakdown, doesn’t that mean it’s inert? Surely that’s the safest thing to bury in the ground. It can be dug up again if we ever find a use for it.

  15. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0005mhn

    “Globalisation hasn’t just meant moving goods around – it’s meant moving rubbish around, too. For decades wealthy countries shipped huge volumes of waste to China for sorting and recycling. But now China is getting richer, it no longer wants to be a dumping ground – and the recycling industry is struggling to respond. For centuries people have reused and recycled to save money. The idea that it’s also a moral obligation is relatively new. Tim Harford asks if we should we take a more hard-headed view of the economic costs and benefits”

  16. @Matt 100%
    @Bloke on M4
    We do have bin men and plenty of them. We also have lazy, shiftless cunts who drop their rubbish out of cars and dump their shit in the rivers.

  17. Fundamentalist religions, of which Gaia-worship is one, revel in doomladen eschatologies. We will all perish miserably unless we repent of our eco-sins. The judgement of Gaia is upon us, and her judgement is absolute. My favourite retard and prophetess of Gaia, Greta Thunberg, maintains that we cannot be a little bit sustainable, even though it’s obvious that sustainability admits of degree. The faith of the eco-doomsters gives meaning to their lives, for either their catastrophism will be proved right or it will be averted by their redemptive efforts. Meanwhile, it’s sackcloth, ashes and no plastic for the populace, while the eco-elite lives a privileged existence.

  18. Plastic is not inert, it just takes a long time, up to 10,000 years, to break down, as the molecule of polyethylene is remarkably stable unless fiddled with to create a looser bond. Since it is hydrocarbon (Oil) based, I do not understand why we don’t chop it up fine and use it in coal fired power plants as a percentage of the fuel. This with ‘destroying the planet’ gives me a vision of rows of plastic straws hopping down the road going “Exterminate, Exterminate”

  19. We use a chemical in our factory made by Castor, called Syntilo. It eats plastic – we’re forever having to replace e-stop switches because the casing has been eaten away by this stuff and become very weak.
    Why don’t we just spray this stuff over the plastic islands that float around the oceans.
    Problem solved, quick and easy

  20. @Robert the Biker June 5, 2019 at 8:16 pm

    This with ‘destroying the planet’ gives me a vision of rows of plastic straws hopping down the road going “Exterminate, Exterminate”

    ROFL – you win thread humour

  21. @Pcar
    Yup, that’s the stuff. Obviously made by Castrol and not Castor – damn Autocorrect

  22. For most ‘developing countries’ , I want a single use plastic bottle for my drinking water thank you very much, sealed. Especially in places like India, the SJWs can get dysentery if they like. Second, most of the ‘problem’ comes from two countries, China and the Philippines. The former is often because the landfill sites are badly maintained and frequent and huge flash floods can overwhelm them and push the contents into the rivers and deltas (eg Pearl River), while the latter is a combination of a lack of basic infrastructure and our old friend corruption. The photos of guys canoeing through plastic waste are all from the Philippines.
    We talk of a Westminster bubble out of touch with the rest of the country, well there is also a West-mindset bubble out of touch with the rest of the world, as highlighted by Bjorn Lomberg whereby his fellow Swedes think it better that people die of smoke inhalation from cooking over open fires in mud huts than that they have electricity generated by evil coal fired power stations. If you really care about the oceans and plastic, pay for some plasma arc burners, stop sending your waste to be ‘recycled’ by kids on rubbish dumps in Cambodia and fund projects to deliver clean water and sanitation to literally billions of people ‘abroad’.

  23. Robert the Biker, those plastic straws got the idea from the marching hammers in The Wall.

  24. ” Plastic is not inert, it just takes a long time, up to 10,000 years, to break down, as the molecule of polyethylene is remarkably stable unless fiddled with to create a looser bond. ”

    That’s simply nonsense. As anyone who’s tried to store stuff outside in plastic bags will tell you.. Even heavyweight builders’ rubble sacks start deteriorating after a year. Some plastics are compounded to have long lives & resist ageing. Plastic water pipes, car parts, UPVC window frames. Not always successfully. Plastic garden furniture should be durable but can become fragile in as little as a couple years.
    Most plastic ends up in waste aren’t because they’re disposables. The plastics aren’t formulated to last. They’re vulnerable to UV light, oxidation & even bacterial action. Long chain polymer molecules are fragile. In landfill, they degrade about as quickly as hardwoods, depending on the conditions they encounter. Floating around in the sea, where they’re being toasted with UV much of the time, they disappear very rapidly..

  25. “fund projects to deliver clean water and sanitation to literally billions of people ‘abroad’”

    Careful. Too many use that as an excuse for colonialism. How people live abroad is none of your business. You have no remit to interfere with them.

  26. bis
    Note the ‘up to’ in my comment!
    Yes, plastic bags and sacks nowadays fall to bits in no time, usually just as you get them out of the shop! I was referring to buried plastic waste, a lot of this stuff such as HDPE* is made to be practically everlasting, that was the idea. I still maintain we would be better off burning it in power stations rather than shipping it to third world shitholes who take our money then threaten to send it back as they have some sort of power snit.

    * High Density Poly Ethylene

  27. @Robert the Biker
    But how much HDPE or any of the other durable plastics are you going to find in landfill? They’re what? 0.001% of plastics production? They’re used in very limited applications & their feature is they last a ;long time. Mostly longer than alternative non-plastic materials. Which is why they’re being used.

  28. How hard can it be to clean up the plastic islands floating around the Pacific? The Japanese seem to have no problem hoovering up all the fish and other assorted sea life, can plastic by that difficult?

  29. @bloke in spain June 6, 2019 at 9:43 am

    Most plastics are inert, they may beak-apart as you describe; but only into smaller & smaller pieces of plastic. They don’t decompose into elements – nor do glass,and ceramics – on any useful timescale.

    “HDPE They’re what? 0.001% of plastics production?” A monkey says you’re orders of magnitude out.

    Burn or land-fill, don’t recycle.

    When will Green’s demand cremation banned and we’re all composted?

  30. BiS
    It’s the same here in Thailand. You can’t leave any plastic out in the tropical sun. Bin bags fall apart in days (I suspect they’re formulated for northern Europe) and plastic garden furniture goes brittle in months. The blue and white plastic ‘tarps’ don’t last a year.

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