January 2018
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plastic waste / reduce, reuse, recycle, restore

I've always hated waste, partly because I was very poor when I was young and partly because I want everything to have a purpose and be valued. But I didn't think about it beyond a vague dissatisfaction until I saw an article with pictures of this:

and it made me cry and it turned my stomach and it showed me that not only are we filling up the earth with shit in landfills, but we're also filling up our oceans. We're killing creatures with our laziness and selfishness. We're poisoning ourselves.

Since then I am constantly aware of plastic waste. WHY, WHY, WHY are so many objects intended for temporary use made with permanent materials? regular plastic takes HUNDREDS of YEARS to become useful again -- in the meantime, it is murdering our world. I do what I can to reduce, reuse, recycle, but it feels so pathetic in the face of so much complete indifference. There's a lot of apathy in the face of suffering but this gets to me so much because it is so TANGIBLE.

The local recycling business doesn't do glass (wtf??), so I save up our recyclables and take them to a place that recycles glass too. I feel so strongly about this that it makes me cringe to go to out and see people throw away a #1 or #2 plastic or glass, though I haven't quite worked up the guts to ask them for it so that I can take it home, wash it out, and save it for recycling. (and the germophobe in me finds that a little gross) However, I have been thinking about asking my neighbors if they'd like me to take their recyclables... I don't want to do it alone, is the only thing -- I'd be happy to collect and drive them to the place if I had someone to do it with. I don't like interacting with strangers alone in a private place.

When shopping, I use bags that are made from recycled plastic bottles (which makes me want to cry in mingled joy and despair! we could USE these things instead of ruining the world with them!). If I forget the bags, I get only what I can carry. I ask for paper cups rather than plastic or styrofoam, but I still feel dreadful about that -- I NEED a good reusable coffeemug! I got one and then discovered that it will not hold 20 ounces. ... Okay, just went searching and bought a 20 oz ceramic mug even though it is pricey because I NEED to be more responsible.

I really want to find some way to do more. Maybe get over my fears and become a free recycling person for my neighbors, ack!

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willowing ══╣╠══
thanks for sharing that. it's heartwrenching. i wish all governments would just go; no more plastic, nope, sorry, just no more, we're gonna use different containers, surely, when you see this, it's the only option? *big sigh*

i'll post it too. x
belenen ══╣interconnectedness╠══
yeah, it would be nice... but I'd rather people banded together to create that effect instead of being forced into the sensible thing. :-/ Ultimately though, I wouldn't really care how it happened as long as it worked.
willowing ══╣╠══
divinemiss_em ══╣╠══
Hi there! I know. It´s overwhelming sometimes. I have spent many a night in tears after watching documentaries on the destruction of habitats, the "desertification" of the oceans, the plight of orangutans in Borneo so we can have cheap fat, i.e. palm oil, etc. Sometimes it is just too much and I honestly do not understand how other people don´t FEEL it deeply, because these things hit me straight to the core of my being.

As far as plastic is concerned, I am slowly changing over my plastic tupperware to glass containers for storage. A process, no doubt.

It sounds to me like you are doing your part with the information that you have available to you at this time. In my opinion, all we can do is to keep learning, keep feeling, and keep caring.
belenen ══╣interconnectedness╠══
*nodnod* yeah, just gotta keep from giving up, that's the key I think.
xochitl ══╣Art is srs biznss╠══
Plastic bothers me the most, because at least if glass is dumped into the ocean it will eventually erode and become sand. :/

I don't recycle paper, because apparently the recycling plants create more pollution than paper factories. Also we have more trees now than we did 100 years ago because they're grown to make paper. Penn & Teller did an episode of their show "Bullshit" about recycling and they figured out that the only things worth recycling are plastic and aluminum.
belenen ══╣confused╠══
yes, me too! (I was all 'wtf?' because glass is so easy to recycle it baffles me that anyone wouldn't!)

holy crap (about the paper). Unfortunately though, young trees are not as good for the environment as old trees (and, more importantly to me, it's like replacing aged professors with toddlers). And it seems like a wide variety of tree species are cut, to be replaced by all-the-same species. Isn't that creating an imbalance? If we cut down those little trees for paper-making that would be smart, but I don't know if we are, and I suspect that people are not because it is less cost-effective. Do you know anything about those things? I'll see if I can find that episode, too, it sounds informative.
aerialmelodies ══╣Being Green╠══
I read the 6 page article about the plastic in the ocean and couldn't bring myself to watch the movie. :(

Good for you, though. I try to recycle as much as possible but haven't found a place for glass yet (currently I save my glass bottles and plan to make crafts with them).
belenen ══╣glass╠══
yeah. :-( I originally had read an article but now I can't find it so I put up the video instead.

ohh! yeah! I wish I had glass tools so that I could melt down and reuse the glass I have. One day!
sleepysunshine ══╣╠══
Oh my gosh. this made me sick to my stomach. just plain sick.
belenen ══╣interconnectedness╠══
*nods sadly*
clown_frog ══╣╠══
It is horrible, isn't it? There is so much of it, too! Food that all comes in plastic boxes, wrapped in plastic. And thats without the packaging it got delivered to the supermarket in. On the up side, its encouraging to see indications that it is being taken more seriously. I don't know what kind of measures are being put in place over there, but a few shops here have replaced plastic bags with cardboard, and some supermarkets have stopped supplying plastic bags. All the big ones have bags-for-life for sale (sturdier, you pay something like 20p and they replace them when they wear out), and I know two of the ones with loyalty cards give you extra points for bringing your own bags. I don't know if you know, China banned plastic bags last year (resulting in plastic bag factories shutting down - bad news for the people who worked there, but encouraging as far as waste goes). These things make me feel better, I hope they do the same for you, a little.

It bothers me when I see people dropping litter, even biodegradable stuff is ugly! Why would you want to make your environment ugly? It makes me sad that there are people who don't seem to care what they are surrounded by. It's just a sad thing.

Flats in Glasgow have bins out back for cans, paper, and plastic bottles, and there are glass recycling bins on a lot of streets. But they don't recycle cardboard (like cereal packets) or plastic boxes (butter boxes, microwave meal trays). I don't know why. I'm pretty sure its possible, maybe its just not economical. Energy intense process perhaps.

But it is encouraging that more is being done. I don't know if it'll do much to save the planet, but that is a poor argument not to! It's cleaner, happier, in my opinion its a better kind of attitude to have. Not one use throwaway.

It's brilliant that you do what you can, thats always something and it makes a difference! I hope that doesn't sound patronising. Maybe there are some clean-up things you could volunteer for, if you wanted?

Have you met your neighbours before? Are they friendly?
belenen ══╣interconnectedness╠══
yeah! it really is EVERYWHERE. But people have started using reusable bags more. Wal-mart gets so much criticism, but it wasn't until they started selling recycled, reusable bags that all the other stores were like "oh me too!" and started selling them too. I do wish we had fees for the plastic ones though. And YAY about China banning them!

I think it is really sad how people make the environment ugly. I guess people just don't feel connected to it, so they don't care.

yes! no more disposable culture, ugh! what a ridiculous idea in the first place.

Hm, I should look into clean-up things.

I haven't met them -- most people in my neighborhood are pretty keep-to-themselves (or maybe it seems that way because I don't go around being friendly, haha!).
clown_frog ══╣╠══
clown_frog ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣╠══
the_lighthouse ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣interconnectedness╠══
yeah, I wish it were as normal here to recycle as it seems to be in Europe. I was SO EXCITED when I saw recycling bins right on the street like trash cans! and when I discovered biodegradable plastic! I wish I could do something to at least make my city more recycling-friendly.
sidheblessed ══╣╠══
This is so depressing. :( Our oceans are one of our most precious, valuable resources and it sickens me what we do to it. We're slowly killing our planet - and ourselves.

My husband and I recycle wherever possible. We shop with reusable cloth bags. In Australia, both major supermarkets no longer provide plastic bags for less than four items. Reusable bags or "green bags" are pretty popular here. Most Australian families have recyle bins as well as rubbish bins that go out to the kerb with the rubbish and get collected by a separate truck to be melted down and reused.

That said, Australia is still worlds beyond where it should be in terms of protecting the environment. A lot of people still use plastic bags and there's always people throwing things out that can recycled. I'm glad we do some of those little things but we could always do more.

I'm also glad people like you are trying to save this planet.
belenen ══╣interconnectedness╠══
yeah, we have some recycling companies that pick up recycling but they're pickier about where they go than the trash companies are (which is why we have to drive ours to the sorting place).

hm, I wonder what would happen if we could get groups and money involved. Like, giving away bags at the door to supermarkets so that people would use them instead of plastic bags. Wal-mart sells the recycled, reusable bags for only $1 each so it's not an insane idea... hmmmmmmmmm. I like that idea. (*goes off to meetup to see if I can find a group that will do that with me!*)
chillychilly22 ══╣╠══
Don't meant to get off topic... but I'm at work and have a quick question for you. I'm going to be flying in Atlanta March 19th in the morning... is there any way we can meet up that day? I would love to finally meet you. :)
belenen ══╣eccentric╠══
I dunno! my partner's working that day and my car still hasn't been fixed... I'm hoping that I can get mine fixed soon but I dunno if it will be finished by then :-/ (also, after I get it fixed I have to get emissions tested and get a new tag AND get myself a new license because mine is expired and I haven't been able to go out and get a new one!) I'll hope for it but it's not too likely :-p
chillychilly22 ══╣╠══
rapidrabbit ══╣╠══
What a difficult video. It's so damn sad how wasteful people are...my father-in-law is supervisor of a landfill, and you wouldn't believe the sorts of things people throw away. (Luckily Dad also has no qualms about dumpster-diving, in spite of company rules, and encourages his employees to take and reuse - or sometimes use for the first time, as businesses throw away lots of unused, unsold merchandise - anything they want. Hell, it's how we got our diaper bag.) I try to just avoid plastics whenever possible, but I'm often frustrated with how you just can't get away from this toss-away culture.

Also, this might interest you, as an item practical for your life, and a good site in general:

belenen ══╣interconnectedness╠══
holy shit. that's just beYOND appalling.

I don't like the taste of stainless steel (or the way those cups feel at my lips) but fortunately I found a ceramic one of the right size and shape and it should be arriving VERY soon :D and I do like that shop! I wanna get one of the fold-up keychain bags (in purple of course).
lindsey_locke ══╣╠══
Okay, so this is kind of self-promotion, but I work for a company that distributes bottle-less water coolers in the metro-Atlanta area. We're trying to eliminate the 5-gallon-jug coolers.

We're called Avalon Water, and our website is AvalonWater.net, so you can always promote us to anyone you know that owns a business in the Atlanta area.

Maybe look into volunteering in your area?

Okay, just thought I'd be shameless with my self-promotion. I'm finished now.
belenen ══╣interconnectedness╠══
that's cool! I dunno of any businesses that use the 5-gallon-jug coolers though.

I am going to look into volunteering/activism! I'm hoping some people from the local 'green living' meetup will point me in the right direction.
darkpool ══╣╠══
On hyenacart.com there are people who sell sandwhich wraps and small wetbags to use instead of ziplocs. www.flylady.net has a wonderful stainless steel thermos for hot or cold beverages. Ummm that's all I've got for now.
belenen ══╣interconnectedness╠══
ohhh hyenacart seems awesome! but I can't find the wetbags -- do you remember the shop name?
darkpool ══╣╠══
(Anonymous) ══╣╠══
plastic bags
I use a good sturdy plastic bag from a non-food shop. It folds up into my purse or pocket, secured with a twisty and that makes it easy to always have it. And I use it for non-grocery purchases as well. It is possible to end up with NO plastic grocery bags in your house. Keep it up! We have to start somewhere!
belenen ══╣interconnectedness╠══
Re: plastic bags
who is this?

that works! I want one of these: http://www.reusablebags.com/store/chicobag-colorful-compact-reusable-shopping-p-450.html for my keychain. ;-) (my purse is too small to fit a bag in)
delicatexflower ══╣nature; flower. "batch of daisies"╠══

awww, this is so sad but i think you are doing a lot by writing about it in your own lj for others to see. -you may be only one person, but one person makes a HUGE difference-

if you have cable tv, you should totally watch "stuff happens" on the green channel. it is with bill nye the science guy and he explains how our everyday activities affect the environment.

belenen ══╣interconnectedness╠══
♥ ♥ ♥ *hugs*

I don't have a TV much less cable but if I did I would TOTALLY watch that show.
bunny1981 ══╣╠══
Hi Bel

Pictures like that turn me inside out too. It's not easy to find the right amount of attention that one needs to put onto such pictures.

I agree it is horrible and I usually spend lots of my time to think about what I could do about all this unfair things. It starts with hunger in many countries, goes over to unfair trade and ends with oecological damage that is done on a daily basis.

It is very hard to see I can't do everything on my own, that I have to trust others do their part too.

Some weeks ago I saw a positive example in the TV. Someone found a method to turn plastic into usable oil again.

It is not only a matter of what you use on a daily basis, but also how waste is used afterwards. If clever used, even money can be earned from it.

Sorry for the long rant...I obviously feel touched by pictures like that too. And I also feel a lot of guilt.
belenen ══╣gentle╠══
♥ I feel you, it's hard to take responsibility without taking on guilt too. *hugs*
bunny1981 ══╣╠══
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on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.