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Things you've overheard
« on: July 05, 2019, 01:52:22 PM »
I was standing in a queue to order a drink.  The woman in front of me received hers and asked for a straw, and was informed that they don't distribute [plastic] straws anymore and are in the process of procuring cardboard ones.  She asked again, a bit more forcefully this time, and was still met with the same answer.  She turned around in a huff and none too quietly, exclaimed, "F**k you, David Attenborough!"

The collective queue was quite amused.   [smiley=laugh4.gif] 


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Re: Things you've overheard
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2019, 02:53:50 PM »


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Re: Things you've overheard
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2019, 04:32:53 PM »
She turned around in a huff and none too quietly, exclaimed, "F**k you, David Attenborough!"

The collective queue was quite amused.   [smiley=laugh4.gif]

I feel like that phrase has never ever been uttered before in the history of everything.  Who could hate David Attenborough?!
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Re: Things you've overheard
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2019, 04:57:48 PM »
Not wanting to start an argument with anyone, but I kind of agree with the lady in the queue.  I'm a plastics engineer* so I'm actually really peeved off at the misinformation out there.  People trying to make me part of anti-plastics facebook groups and stuff.   I also care deeply about the environment, however, there is a lot of bullshit out there too (I think of it like anti-vaxxing)

These are some articles which are in public domain and easily readable. Hard to link to other industry standards without folks being members of the specific groups
https://www.plasticstoday.com/sustainability

*Plastics Engineers try to find solutions to problems, including sustainability, with plastics 

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Re: Things you've overheard
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2019, 05:04:04 PM »
Not wanting to start an argument with anyone, but I kind of agree with the lady in the queue.  I'm a plastics engineer* so I'm actually really peeved off at the misinformation out there.  People trying to make me part of anti-plastics facebook groups and stuff.   I also care deeply about the environment, however, there is a lot of bullshit out there too (I think of it like anti-vaxxing)

These are some articles which are in public domain and easily readable. Hard to link to other industry standards without folks being members of the specific groups
https://www.plasticstoday.com/sustainability

*Plastics Engineers try to find solutions to problems, including sustainability, with plastics 



I would love your opinion on the BBC series "war on plastic".

I have to admit, it certainly helped me to see the waste within reach inside my home.  There is certainly a LOT of single use plastic.

But I did giggle and snicker to myself at the Elton concert last month.  No plastic straws - paper straws only..... served in a plastic cup.

Oh and my company has a lot of "activations" at BST festival which starts today.  TWO WEEKS ago, the BST officials sent out documentation that there could be NO single use plastics at the event.  We have been paid BIG money by our clients to distribute samples....  and two weeks notice is not enough notice to give our clients that they have to repackage their products.  The irony is I'm attending, and the only food/drink item you are allowed to bring is a SEALED plastic water bottle up to 500ml.  <sigh>

We absolutely need to address sustainability.  But not in a knee jerk reaction way.

I'll add my best "overheard" story later.  It's a goodun!


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Re: Things you've overheard
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2019, 05:07:27 PM »
I've not seen that programme,actually, but this is spot on:
 
We absolutely need to address sustainability.  But not in a knee jerk reaction way.

So much of sustainability is about the things we were taught in the 1980s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Plastics do a very good job at keeping things protected, sterilised, edible, saving lives, cheap, lightweight, carryable, innovative,unbreakable, etc, etc.
But we (humans) are awful at reducing, reusing and recycling.  So much plastic can be recycled, we need to invest in the technologies that actually allow this. 
« Last Edit: July 05, 2019, 05:10:00 PM by phatbeetle »
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Re: Things you've overheard
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2019, 05:14:56 PM »
I've not seen that programme,actually, but this is spot on:
 
So much of sustainability is about the things we were taught in the 1980s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Plastics do a very good job at keeping things protected, sterilised, edible, saving lives, cheap, lightweight, carryable, innovative,unbreakable, etc, etc.
But we (humans) are awful at reducing, reusing and recycling.  So much plastic can be recycled, we need to invest in the technologies that actually allow this.

We're potentially replacing our (gross, rat-pooped-on fibreglass) loft insulation with fresh, clean polyester fibre insulation made from recycled plastics.  I say potentially because we haven't priced it out, but it looks like it'll be cheaper than many other options, and it reuses plastic.
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Re: Things you've overheard
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2019, 05:50:09 PM »
I've not seen that programme,actually, but this is spot on:
 
So much of sustainability is about the things we were taught in the 1980s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Plastics do a very good job at keeping things protected, sterilised, edible, saving lives, cheap, lightweight, carryable, innovative,unbreakable, etc, etc.
But we (humans) are awful at reducing, reusing and recycling.  So much plastic can be recycled, we need to invest in the technologies that actually allow this. 

I’d recommend it.  It was definitely eye opening.  And I’m thankful that they didn’t pick my street for the experiment. 

But.....  it did have that “media spin” that drives me up the wall.  But the overall message was very good.  And what we are doing to eastern countries by shipping our “recycling” to them is shameful.


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Re: Things you've overheard
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2019, 06:57:50 PM »
I was standing in a queue to order a drink.  The woman in front of me received hers and asked for a straw, and was informed that they don't distribute [plastic] straws anymore and are in the process of procuring cardboard ones.  She asked again, a bit more forcefully this time, and was still met with the same answer.  She turned around in a huff and none too quietly, exclaimed, "F**k you, David Attenborough!"

The collective queue was quite amused.   [smiley=laugh4.gif] 

Okay, my best overheard conversation(s) was on the ward after having my first baby. There were 7 women and their babies in one room including me.  Just the hospital curtains for privacy,  the woman next to me was an “I didn’t know I was pregnant” woman!  Man!  The BEST STUFF came from her area.  She had MILLIONS of professionals going in and out, psychiatrists, social workers, midwives, her family, etc.  On the rare occasion someone was visiting me and she had a visitor, I would “shoosh” my person so I could get all the juice!

Definitely made being on the ward more entertaining!


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Re: Things you've overheard
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2019, 07:26:53 PM »
I saw that series and was wondering the whole time "WWPS?" * I would seriously love it if she could watch it and give me her thoughts.

One thing they did was point out the myth that it's ok to use plastic because it can be recycled.  Since most of the "recycling" going on seemed to be shipping it off to Malaysia for burning and most of the junk we put in recycling bins can't be recycled anyway.

I thought the bit about plastic wipes was SHOCKING and we need to seriously start taxing the hell out of those manufacturers. 

I thought that the show completely ignored the benefits of plastic packaging in terms of keeping food clean and making it cheaper to deal with.   They also completely ignored the biggest reason that food is packaged in plastic, and that is to make us buy more than we want.  They also completely ignored the fact that alternatives, like glass bottles for milk have much higher costs in other areas, like they are heavy, and take tons more energy to make.   They touted the milk man with glass bottles as a magic cure, when each of those bottles must be re used 36 times before they are better than a single use plastic carton.  I'm sure plastic milk jug verses milk man has pluses and negatives in many areas, but the show ONLY talked about the negatives of plastic. 

Another thing that they only touched on is that NOTHING is biodegradable in a landfill.  Once they are sealed to prevent leakage, there is no sunlight and bacteria, so you can still read a 50 year old newspaper from a landfill.  This means that there are serious costs to producing and using  paper bag as well, and this was never addressed.   If a paper straw takes more energy and stays for 100 years in a landfill and is not recyclable because of the coating, it doesn't sound all that much better than a plastic one.  And if people get handed a paper straw, they tend to think that they've done their part and the job is done. 


*What would Phatbeetle say


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Re: Things you've overheard
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2019, 07:44:34 PM »
I saw that series and was wondering the whole time "WWPS?" * I would seriously love it if she could watch it and give me her thoughts.

One thing they did was point out the myth that it's ok to use plastic because it can be recycled.  Since most of the "recycling" going on seemed to be shipping it off to Malaysia for burning and most of the junk we put in recycling bins can't be recycled anyway.

I thought the bit about plastic wipes was SHOCKING and we need to seriously start taxing the hell out of those manufacturers. 

I thought that the show completely ignored the benefits of plastic packaging in terms of keeping food clean and making it cheaper to deal with.   They also completely ignored the biggest reason that food is packaged in plastic, and that is to make us buy more than we want.  They also completely ignored the fact that alternatives, like glass bottles for milk have much higher costs in other areas, like they are heavy, and take tons more energy to make.   They touted the milk man with glass bottles as a magic cure, when each of those bottles must be re used 36 times before they are better than a single use plastic carton.  I'm sure plastic milk jug verses milk man has pluses and negatives in many areas, but the show ONLY talked about the negatives of plastic. 

Another thing that they only touched on is that NOTHING is biodegradable in a landfill.  Once they are sealed to prevent leakage, there is no sunlight and bacteria, so you can still read a 50 year old newspaper from a landfill.  This means that there are serious costs to producing and using  paper bag as well, and this was never addressed.   If a paper straw takes more energy and stays for 100 years in a landfill and is not recyclable because of the coating, it doesn't sound all that much better than a plastic one.  And if people get handed a paper straw, they tend to think that they've done their part and the job is done. 


*What would Phatbeetle say

The wipes were MIND BLOWING.  No doubt.  And I just put some in my shopping cart for tomorrows online delivery and feel like crap.  I’ve looked at the reusable wipes, but the fashion industry has a lot to be said for environmental effects as well.  (Cheap clothes are destroying third world countries).  Seriously, I have no idea how to do my part!

But yes, plastics have done a world of good.  Just need to figure out the sustainability part.  Multi billion dollar idea there for whomever cracks the code.


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Re: Things you've overheard
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2019, 11:13:51 PM »
This is a bit of late night rambling, but why doesn't the UK have enough recycling plants here? Other EU countries have done such a good job generating income from waste that they now import it. Seems like itd be a smart way to repurpose some of the old manufacturing areas.

On plastic straws... I understand the damage to marine life is significant and that's why they (and plastic bags) are the current focus. If a whale or turtle eats a paper straw it will break down pretty quickly. But what about all the microplastics in our clothing not being captured in wastewater facilities and therefore dumped in the environment? I feel like there needs to be a bigger effort to catch some of these things at the source. I love microfiber, it's a cleaning machine and lets me just use soap and water for most things, it's soft and cosy as clothes. But it's also bioaccumulating in wildlife. I want to be able to use these things without hurting the environment. Even with natural fibres there's a tradeoff in the chemical processes to make them soft enough to be used, so nothing is truly environmentally friendly. But I guess that is why I haven't changed very much aside from using refillable products where I can and glass storage containers.

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Re: Things you've overheard
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2019, 08:02:27 AM »

Another thing that they only touched on is that NOTHING is biodegradable in a landfill.  Once they are sealed to prevent leakage, there is no sunlight and bacteria, so you can still read a 50 year old newspaper from a landfill.  This means that there are serious costs to producing and using  paper bag as well, and this was never addressed.   If a paper straw takes more energy and stays for 100 years in a landfill and is not recyclable because of the coating, it doesn't sound all that much better than a plastic one.  And if people get handed a paper straw, they tend to think that they've done their part and the job is done. 


Not entirely accurate. There are anaerobic bacteria at work that do degrade biologicals in a landfill. The results are methane and some pretty gross water that has to be treated. Plastic and newspaper, etc., will eventually degrade - although at a glacial pace. So in one sense, landfills are pretty much just storage containers. Lined with plastic liners ;) 

For years we've gone out of our way to keep stuff in our home in glass. Milk in the fridge tastes much better for longer if stored in glass, etc.  Unfortunately, except for a very few options here in the UK, most of our food - even the non-processed stuff - comes wrapped in plastic. I asked the Daughter why her shop sells so much in plastic and she says that's the way it comes in from the distributor, wrapped to keep it fresh longer. Because customers insist on perfectly fresh food.


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Re: Things you've overheard
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2019, 10:12:19 AM »
The latest big push to reduce plastics is because of the amount of it discovered in the oceans and on the beaches. If people would stop throwing q-tips, straws, kitchen wipes etc down the toilet then this in itself would be a big improvement. I'm sure paper straws degrade much more quickly in the sea than plastic ones, and that q-tips could easily revert to being made of cardboard instead of plastic. 
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Re: Things you've overheard
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2019, 12:46:39 PM »
The latest big push to reduce plastics is because of the amount of it discovered in the oceans and on the beaches. If people would stop throwing q-tips, straws, kitchen wipes etc down the toilet then this in itself would be a big improvement. I'm sure paper straws degrade much more quickly in the sea than plastic ones, and that q-tips could easily revert to being made of cardboard instead of plastic.

Q-tips (or "cotton buds", as they're known here) have reverted to being made of cardboard/paper-based sticks.  I haven't seen the plastic ones in a couple of years.
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