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Forever Plastic

Durable, high-tech, sexy and see through...we just can't seem to resist its glossy appeal. Over the years plastics have quietly permeated all parts of our lives. But what do we do with something that doesn't go away when we throw it way?
It's a good question and one I ask myself all the time. Especially when I seldom get to choose how the stuff I buy is packaged. A prime example: Organic, free-run, nest-laid eggs. I care about the environment and I care about chickens (and other animals). So I pay way more than I would for ordinary eggs... but they come in those plastic cartons. So far, I've been consoling myself with the thought that the cartons are recycled and recyclable.
Turns out I've been lying to myself about that last part.
Don't miss the hour-long CBC documentary Forever Plastic tonight.
Premiering On: Thursday January 15, 2009 at 9 pm on CBC-TV
Repeating On: Saturday January 17, 2009 at 10 pm PT on CBC Newsworld
You should also check out the Doc Zone website-- it's pretty awesome!

So my question tonight goes out to everyone: do you think about the packaging your stuff comes in? Have you found ways to reduce it? I was pretty mad when I watched the doc (I got a screening copy, one of the perks of the job! Heh.) How do you feel knowing that half the stuff you throw in the green bin ends up taking a rather expensive ride to the trash anyway?

Leave me a comment or call our Talkback Line: (514) 597-5626
And by the way, in case you're wondering, I would keep throwing "recyclables" in the recycling. It's better to let the authorities know that there's a whole bunch of it and that it needs dealing with. So don't go throwing it all in the trash... even though it might very well be ending up there!

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Comments (1)

Daphnee Nadler


Hi Geeta,

Thank you for posting information about the "Forever Plastic" documentary, which I was able to watch on the Doc Zone website!
It was definitely an eye and mouth opener! I had gone to a community-organized meeting years ago which informed attendees about which plastics Montreal was recycling at that time (#1-5 but not #6).
I have been happily recycling all plastics with numbers 1-5 and 7 ever since but my guiltless bubble has burst with the news that clear plastic boxes (other than bottles) are not being recycled. It is my hope that the egg-packaging producer featured in the documentary will be able to make a difference by pressuring the municipalities to find ways to get those clear containers recycled.
Ah, to find markets/demand for those materials! I am surprised that those egg cartons, cherry tomato, and blueberry boxes cannot be shredded, melted, etc. and re-molded into new, clean versions of themselves.
When I shop at stores, I actually do look at the plastic# on the container and choose products in the #1 plastic over the #6 all the time. It is a challenge to avoid plastic packaging and its convenience. (I write all this as I take a swig from my #4 reusable (and re-used 100s of times and counting) water bottle!)
I have tried several brands of bio-degradable plastic garbage bags. Only one of the bunch did not tear open with the lightest poke from an item inside the bag. I found it at Jean Coutu alongside regular plastic garbage bags (OXO something?). They also make clear versions for curbside recycling, which I have begun to buy because I no longer use throw-away bags (in which I used to place recyclables). Loblaws and Provigo used to sell a garbage bag made with 94% recycled plastic, but I haven't seen it since last year.
Thank you for the creation of the Be Green Blog! My next stop along the blog will be the piece about eco-friendly mattresses.....

Posted February 10, 2009 01:20 PM

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