Posted by: travelrat | July 1, 2018

My Sunday Rant: Plastic


The other week, one of our leading (according to its advertising blurb) fish-wrappers … I mean, newspapers … claimed to be ‘leading the fight against plastic’. I thought that honour should really go to the BBC, whose series ‘Planet Earth II’ really socked the message home.

Anyway, it’s not really about plastic itself. It’s about irresponsible disposal of same, and unnecessary plastic. Although there’s a lot of talk about plastic water bottles, I can’t really do with hauling an expensive bottle around with me. What I’ll do when I’m away from home is buy a bottle of water, refill it whenever I come across a source of potable water, and, when I’ve finished with it, maybe a fortnight later, I’ll drop it into the recycle bin. It can be done; I’m informed my fleece jacket is made from recycled plastic bottles … although I’ve been told not to wash it too often, as the micro-doobies or whatever could finish up in the ocean.

Another ‘talk of the moment’ is straws. Many people call for them to be banned altogether, but I’d say nothing wrong with straws, only not plastic ones. When I was a kid, most straws were made of waxed paper. I’m not sure how bio-degradable that is, but I have come across straws made of pasta, and even chocolate. Usually, though, I drink straight from the can or bottle, or pour it into a glass, if I’m being really couth.

How about ‘disposable’ coffee cups? Normally, I’m not a great fan of ‘coffee to go’; I like to sit down with my Americano, in which case, it’s usually served in a regular ceramic cup. One place where they serve disposable cups whether you have ‘to go’ or ‘sit down’ coffee swears their cups are 100% recyclable.


Most people advise to refuse plastic bags, if they’re offered to you; carry a re-useable jute or canvas bag instead. Full marks to Holland America Cruises, who hand them out to their passengers. Also, to Del Sol and Little Switzerland, on St Maarten and the Tongass Trading Post, in Alaska; we’re still using their bags to do our weekly shopping.

Such a practice is good for the business, too. Ten years ago, I went on a Press trip to Crete, and our hosts handed out sturdy canvas bags with their logo on it.

‘Best idea we ever had!’ said the CEO ‘Our guests not only use them for their shopping, but they use them as beach bags, too. They really get our name out there!’


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