Tuesday, September 02, 2008

notes on plastics

My world view has been thrown into confusion. Plastics are supposed to last for ever in the oceans, landfill, etc – this really has been reiterated again and again and I’m sure it must be true.

But how do we actually know??

Here at Hedgie towers, we are very good and have our own communal compost bin. So we actually throw away very little – five flats fill 1-2 wheelie bins a week on average, but we fill loads of orange sacks of recycling, and most of us throw organic waste in our communal compost bin for eventual use in our communal garden.

I reused a thick, sturdy plastic bucket (of the type dishwasher salt comes in) as my organic waste container in the kitchen. Potato peel, banana skins, coffee grounds and tea bags are the sort of things that have been deposited in this, prior to twice weekly visits to the compost bin.

It gets a wash every now and then when it gets too yucky (the compost bin outside is absolutely yucky; the flatmate has avoided compost duty like the plague since his initial visit to the bin some months ago; he was greeted too enthusiastically by all the wildlife that has taken up residence there).

Yesterday, to my horror, I found that my kitchen container was leaking. Its bottom has eroded in two places. I think our potato peels, etc, have eaten their way through the plastic. But surely this isn’t supposed to happen?

Have I found the solution to plastic pollution? A high strength solution of teabags and potato peel will soon dissolve the toughest plastic!

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