Wednesday, 21 March 2007

On boycott, plastic reduction petition and such.

I have a confession to make. I am the 388th person to sign the Plastic Reduction Petition.

I am moved to sign it because according to the website, EPA has reported that over 380 billion plastic bags are consumed in the U.S. each year and when these are indiscriminately discarded, they choke waterways and litter beaches, parks and streets. If this does not bother you, think about the animals and marine life affected when they are entangled in the mess.

Should I have signed it? If the law to tax or curtail the use of plastic bags in U.S. is enforced, it will not affect me and I can still opt to accept plastic bags offered by shops in Malaysia. Whose life have I affected when I signed this petition?

This question dawned on me when I read a GreenYes forum member's posting encouraging those who are environmentally conscious to boycott companies who supply their beverages in non-returnable containers in bottles and cans. The concern is that the garbage generated by these products is becoming a very serious problem in his country.

Boycotting? Should I participate? The success may lead to other social economic problems that can be as bad as the environmental issues. These multinational corporations are providing jobs that are needed for the country to strive eoconomically. If these companies are pushed to move their operations elsewhere, bootlegging may flourish when there is a demand for the drinks that are popular.

If you do a search on the internet, you can find many ways to utilize these waste materials. I discovered that Clean Washington Center provides many useful reports on how to use waste from glass and plastic.

This is a very common plastic food container being used in Malaysia for takeaways. Instead of throwing it away, I have created a Hibiscus out of plastic bags to decorate its cover. I can use it to store little trinkets like my daughter's hair pins and such. Would reducing waste be a better option?

With a little creativity, the bottom of a plastic bottle for storing detergent, an old piece of sponge and a picture cut out from a food packaging can be put together to make this little piece which I am using to add a bit of colour to my kitchen wall. Is there a possibility to use the idea to raise funds for the needy? If not, I am sure it will look cheery too in an old folks home or orphanage.

If you live in UK, The Recycle for Cornwall, has a very useful tool on its website to search where you can send your waste material to recycle. If the users are aware of such information, it will encourage them to recycle the waste they generated.

On an artistic approach, work on enlisting the help of a well known artist to create an art out of waste material. Maybe that will encourage irresponsible companies involved to participate for publicity if not for a greener environment.

I tried working in that direction in Malaysia but the Malaysia Book of Records chose not to recognise my creation of Watering Pals, using plastic bottles and plastic bags, and it was rejected. Study this idea and see if it will work for you in your country.


Maybe, instead of waiting till the children grow up to become irresponsible business owners, we should educate them about the importance of keeping the environment green. If you need some ideas, check out how Heidi Rhoades, a Substitute Teacher at Palm Beach County, is teaching the children through her "Ecology Webquest" programme.

Don't want to do anything about it? Maybe some information about the estrogenic compound from plastic and how it can affect the health of your love ones will push you to a decision. Read what Dr Mercola has to say about it in his views on Why Plastic Shopping Bags Should be Avoided.