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.