Friday, January 21, 2011

I'm Against Plastic

Everyone who knows me is aware that I have been in a war against plastics for decades. I don't like to wear it, store my food in it, and especially consume it. Yet it is a war that I will never win as a consumer. That's why I have been researching ways to raise fiber crops and am trying to learn how to spin fiber, weave and knit. It's a way to take charge of what I wear and live with.

My mother's knitting needles await


Currently all my rugs, linens and clothes are wool, cotton or silk, but it is getting increasingly hard to find. Especially now that manufacturers are making synthetic cottons and passing them off as natural.

Everything, including jeans, has plastic in it these days. Those "stretch jeans" are full of plastic. If we can put nicotine and birth control patches on our skin and absorb the medicinal compounds therein, what makes us think we are not absorbing the contaminants in plastic garments as well? I'm just saying.

Offgassing. This is a word I hadn't even heard of years ago. Now it is a normal part of my everyday speech.

We now run water through PVC piping. Kettles and coffee makers are plastic. Our rain barrels and composters are plastic. I regret using plastic sheeting for my hoop houses. (I intend to construct a glass greenhouse as soon as possible. But glass is difficult to find in the ubiquitous consumer grade greenhouse kits.) Everything is poly-something or other. I'll likely have to have a conservatory built.

Screenwriter Buck Henry's prophetic word "plastics," which he predicted as the industry of the future, in the 1967 film The Graduate, meant perhaps more than even he dreamed. From the cars we drive to the computer I am typing on now, plastics have wound their way into every aspect of our lives... including the food chain. Chewing gum for instance. Tell your kids not to swallow it!  Synthetics like polyvinyl acetate are used today for gum base; a component used in wood glue. Gum base is also made from polyethylene, the plastic used in shopping bags; and butadiene-styrene rubber, which is used in car tires.

Last night my cousin had an unfortunate plastic encounter. She was chewing gum that got caught in her throat. She ended up with a tracheotomy.  "Plastics!!!"

3 comments:

Dmarie said...

yikes! plastics are definitely killing us slowly but your cousin had a close call! good luck with your knitting.

rhonda jean said...

plastic has a place, in medical situations just as your cousin found out, but why do we have to clothe ourselves in it and put it on our babies? I've never understood that.

Head Gardener said...

I agree Rhonda Jean. Baby blankets, bottles and toys that constantly end up in little mouths should be all natural. I had a heck of a time finding educational toys that were suitable for my little nephew this Christmas.