Saturday, 5 November 2022

Plastic not fantastic

Conservation must be led by conservatives.

I received an SMS of approval from Polish Pretend Son, who lauded the anti-plastic part of my last post. He pointed out, however, that he saw a lot of plastic in my flat when he and his family came to stay last summer. 

They, in contrast, have been successful in eliminating almost all plastic from their daily lives, and I must admit I was charmed to meet the farmer who brings them their milk in glass bottles and tells them the latest countryside gossip, e.g. it was the Russians who poisoned the Oder river.  

Pretend Daughter-in-Law is a stay-at-home mother, which I mention because living a plastic-free, natural food, anti-sugar life depends on a lot of household work. I recall a very interesting lunch conversation in another traditional Catholic household, seven very mannerly children chowing down around the table, in which the father discussed environmentalists' reluctance to admit that the fulfilment of their eco-dreams would require women to leave the salaried workforce. Polish Pretend Son is, so far, not anti-fuel, so his wife takes a car to the rural butcher to load up on the high-quality organic meat. I wonder how long it would take to get there by bicycle, and I hope she does not attempt it. 

But these are idle thoughts. The fact is that there is indeed a lot of plastic in our flat, mainly in the kitchen (if we don't count the polyester carpets) because we have expelled most of it from the bathroom. We buy unpackaged soap and my conditioner bars come in cardboard. Add some eco-toothpaste and a bamboo toothbrush for B.A., and the bathroom will be an eco virtue signal in itself, impressing even Polish Pretend Son. But the kitchen... The kitchen is another can of polyethylene terephthalate. 

Therefore, one of my New Year's Resolutions for 2023 will be to cut down the plastic waste in the kitchen, even though it seems that Scotland (or Edinburgh, at least) is serious about actually recycling the stuff. Still, a ton of packaging is not exactly the closed system that my new online guru Paul Kingsnorth talks about. Not that I think a closed system is yet possible in a city--but please let me know if I am wrong. 

So far I have eliminated cookie trays by making cookies. Sadly, butter is £1.99/250g, so my homemade plastic-free cookies cost twice as much as the on-sale cookies B.A. was bringing home. At this point, Polish Pretend Son would make a surly remark about the horrors of sugar, about which he would be correct, but the homemade cookies are more satisfying, so they last longer. 

The reason why I am banging on about plastic again is because I am a conservative and think  conservation of the earth should not be left to liberals, who might not be able to do it alone, or at all. In Edinburgh the most headlining grabbing effort on behalf of "the environment" recently was conducted by a group of vegan adult children who dumped milk on the floor of a Waitrose supermarket for the employees to mop up. Well, there's no use crying over spilled milk, but who could take such people seriously? What the world needs are people who are not interested in theatrics but in facing cold, hard (and soft, warm) reality.  

Any suggestions on eliminating household plastic waste? 

1 comment:

  1. What sort of plastic do you have in the kitchen? Surely it would be better to use what you have until it is no longer usable instead of replacing it. Or do you mean bottles of olive oil etc? Sinéad