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At the be­gin­ning of the year I in­vited the team for an in­for­mal din­ner at my house.

Ev­ery­one helped to make the meal, in­clud­ing our dig­i­tal ed­i­tor Shané.

Al­though I’ve been re­cy­cling glass for quite a while now, my plas­tic waste ends up in the dust­bin. And when Shané saw this, I was in big trou­ble. She was right, of course. It’s out­ra­geous.

I gave her a weak ex­cuse: some­thing about the Cape drought and how we can’t throw away soiled meat trays and con­tain­ers un­til we’ve rinsed them but we’re only al­lowed 50L of wa­ter a day. But her ‘re­minder’ made me feel so guilty that for the rest of the day I kept look­ing over my shoul­der be­fore throw­ing any plas­tic, poly­styrene or empty con­tain­ers in the bin.

I’m writ­ing this let­ter from Thailand – and Shané had bet­ter stay away from this place. If plas­tic and its im­pact on the planet both­ers you, the Gulf of Thailand will drive you in­sane. The plas­tic cul­ture here is di­a­bol­i­cal. When you or­der a smoothie, you get it in a take­away cup (plas­tic) with a lid (plas­tic) and a straw (plas­tic), all in yet an­other bag (yes, made of plas­tic) so you can trans­port it eas­ily on your scooter.

As for take­aways: think sauces in pack­ets tied with rub­ber bands on top of sev­eral con­tain­ers in which ev­ery­thing is packed sep­a­rately – with dis­pos­able cut­lery, of course. And all made of plas­tic. At a street food stall, I or­dered sticky pork on a skewer and be­fore I could stop them, the small ke­bab was popped into a bag – even though I would be eat­ing it straight away. Worst of all: in stores, sin­gle ba­nanas are ar­ranged next to the cash regis­ter, each in­di­vid­u­ally wrapped in a plas­tic bag with a rub­ber band around it. And sure enough, when some­one buys one, it is handed over in a shop­ping bag.

It’s no won­der they have to rake the beaches ev­ery morn­ing be­cause overnight the shore­line be­comes dot­ted with plas­tic waste from the sea, an alarm­ing in­di­ca­tion of the high tide mark.

A re­cent study by the Ellen MacArthur Foun­da­tion in Bri­tain has pre­dicted that by 2050 there will be more plas­tic waste than fish in the ocean. This was re­ported in the me­dia world­wide, al­though not all re­searchers agree with these fig­ures and the foun­da­tion’s method­ol­ogy. But ev­ery­one agrees that there is def­i­nitely an im­pend­ing cri­sis, and it’s huge.

In this eco is­sue, we fea­ture read­ers who have com­mit­ted to an eco-con­scious life­style – there’s even a small cot­tage made with glass bot­tles on a farm up north. All of their sto­ries are the same: they wanted to use some­thing that oth­er­wise would have been dis­carded.

This should be ev­ery­one’s story. I pre­fer my sea full of fish in­stead of plas­tic, so I’m proud to say I have since bought a green bin for my plas­tic waste. I hope it takes a long time to fill up. Homemak­ers Expo We’re back at the Cape Town In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence Cen­tre from 30 Au­gust to 2 Septem­ber for this year’s Cape HOMEMAK­ERS Expo. Pop in and visit us! Turn to page 88 for de­tails.

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