Plastic. It’s everywhere. At home, in shops, on the streets, in the dump, buried underground, floating in the wind, tossed in the ocean.
We are a bunch of consumers. And consumers want everything to be convenient. Plastic to the rescue. It’s cheap, it’s disposable, it makes life easier. But since it’s non-biodegradable, it doesn’t really disappear. You throw it – out of sight, out of mind, but it’ll still be there.
Good thing is people are now realizing this (finally, duh!), better late than never, I suppose. In places like Quezon City in the Philippines where I currently live, they ban plastic bags. Shops require you to use a re-usable bag or they issue a paper bag. If you choose to use plastic, you pay for “Plastic Recovery Fee,” following the polluter pay principle.
But for me, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Changing one’s mindset, a complete paradigm shift, is what we need. As an environmentalist, I know that it actually takes a lot of effort to be environmentally conscious.
You organize a party, for instance. Do you bring heavy plates and cutlery or just buy paper plates, plastic spoons and forks, and plastic cups? I think we know which gets the vote. You go disposable, saves you the time of cleaning and washing up. Saves water, too, they even counter.
Okay, no more plastic bags. And here comes re-usable eco-bags. And it has become a trend and people just want to join in the bandwagon. Not a bad thing. They’re just concerned about the environment. But with our consumer mentality, we buy them, never really using them. Then they end up as trash, and they are much more difficult to dispose of.
And don’t get me started on packaging. Products packed in plastic, placed in a box with a plastic window, and the whole thing put in a fancy plastic wrapping.
Reduce, reuse, recycle – we always say. But we skip through the process and tell ourselves, “I’ll buy this, use it for a little while, then throw, er, recycle it…” Reducing waste is the first step. That means being a wise consumer or being less of a consumer as we normally are.
But that’s so much work and it’s so inconvenient. Well, if you really care about the environment, again, it takes a lot of effort.