Will Pharrell’s Documentary ‘The Plastic Age’ Help Lessen Our Plastic Addiction?

Pharrell Williams has joined the fight to save our oceans. He talks about his love for the oceans and our need to save them in a new i-D documentary, The Plastic Age.  Let’s face it, how can anyone not like Pharrell, a man whose music impacts countless millions of fans? Clearly, Pharrell knows how get a message out.

His message, let’s turn ocean plastic into something fantastic! This is a very good thing.

He has joined forces with Bionic Yarn to produce a fashion line of denim clothing, G-STARR RAW which is made from recycled plastic trash.  Pharrell is a celebrity joining forces with other talented people to find a solution to a very significant worldwide environmental problem. This is also a very good thing.

The question is, will his efforts motivate enough people to focus on the kind of change needed to meet this global problem head on? Sadly, I think not.

I began writing about the worldwide addiction to all things plastic, mostly single-use plastic bags, in 2008. The devastation caused to birds, animals on land as well as creatures in the sea is unconscionable.  Plastic pollution harms people in the poorest countries the most. These are people without a voice who suffer incredible hardships, as the 17 pictures from The Guardian on-line demonstrate.

Chemicals from the plastics are entering the marine food chain.  Bisphenol –A, a chemical used in the production of plastics is a known carcinogen and hormone disruptor. The New York Times  recently reported that BPA has been linked to rapid rises in blood pressure. It is known to be especially harmful to infants.

I believed once people were alerted to the unimaginable environmental damage caused by plastic pollution change would surely take place. I was wrong.

Our worldwide addiction to plastics is much stronger than could be imagined. But even stronger is the reluctance of people to give up their single-use plastic bags and bottles because it inconveniences them.

Since the time of the cavemen, trash has been thrown out with little thought of its impact on the environment. That was okay when the earth was inhabited by a few million people.

With the world’s population approaching 9 billion people, this behavior is no longer acceptable.

Would You Pay $60 for a Light Bulb Advertised to Last 20 Years? POLL

Phillips recently announced the introduction of its $60 LED light bulb, touted to last 20 years, a claim that is impossible to prove or disprove…at least for the next 20 years that is.

The award-winning 10 watt LED bulb produces the light equal a 60-watt incandescent and is rated to last 20-years at 4-hours/use a day.

Smart Plastic Products

Occasionally I am asked if I am against all uses of plastic or if I think all plastic should be banned.  Of course not, the answer is no.

There are real and legitimate uses of plastic.  The problem is that unless plastics are reused and/or recycled they last forever.  As has been pointed out here on more than occasion, every piece of plastic that has ever been produced and hasn’t been recycled,  still exists!  Unless that plastic milk  jug you brought home is disposed of properly, it will likely last longer than the pyramids in Egypt!

Let’s use plastic materials to replace wood products in homes, for decks, fences, to build furniture, to manufacture flooring; there is an endless list of methods and material uses of the substance.  Just don’t use plastic for once ‘n done “single use” plastic bags, for toss away water bottles, clam shells to take donuts home that can easily put in a paper bag or box.

That having been said, I recently I came across a product that is clever in concept, cost effective, and has a legitimate use.  It’s called Bagster in a Bag made by Waste Management Services.

I came across the product when we were faced with all the flooding in Georgia and I thought this is a product with immediate value.

If you have ever had to rent a big dumpster you already know what a pain it is and how costly it can be.   The fact is, there are some jobs that are too small for a big dumpster and too big for your already existing trash containers. Bagster addresses both of these concerns and can be purchased at your local home improvement store for $29.95.  You don’t have to wait for a scheduled delivery or pickup and you can load up to 3,300 pounds of  your household junk, construction debris, or yard waste. The Bagster is said to have the strength of a steel dumpster at a fraction of the rental cost.

There is a fee to pick up the Bagster and you can fill multiple Bagsters and have them picked up at the same time. The Bagster is made out of plastic woven product similar to tarps.  There are filling do’s and don’ts … you can’t put your old refrigerator or toxic materials inside for collection, but if you have a small to medium size job that you want to tackle today, this is a plastic product you may want to consider.

WMS has a wonderful website full of information worth your review … check it out.  This company does more than talk about being green.

TOXIC RIVERS … TOXIC WATER

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Photo: AFP/Manan Vatsyayan

One of the most precious resources we have on planet earth is water … clean drinkable water.

Seventy-five percent (75%) of the world’s surface is covered in water, most of it is salt water which humans cannot drink.  A mere 2.5% of the earth’s water is fresh water; drinkable if we don’t pollute it with chemicals, trash, animal waste, run offs from farms,pesticides, and human waste.  Polluted water kills fish and marine life.  Polluted water sickens and kills people, most often in countries too poor to have sewage systems to protect the populace.

Those children are floating in one of the most polluted rivers on earth.  This is a picture of Yamuna River in India.  According to the Mother Nature Network this is one of the 15 most polluted places on earth to live.

The Yamuna is the largest tributary of the Ganges River. Where it flows through Delhi, it’s estimated that 58 percent of the city’s waste gets dumped straight into the river. Millions of Indians still rely on these murky, sewage-filled waters for washing, waste disposal and drinking water.

We  take clean water for granted.  Did you know that many of the world’s people walk at least 3 hours to gain access to water?

Read  more:

  • Each day almost 10,000 children under the age of 5 in Third World countries die as a result of illnesses contracted by use of impure water.
  • Fresh water is either groundwater (0,5%), or readily accessible water in lakes, streams, rivers, etc. (0,01%).
  • Two thirds of the water used in a home is used in the bathroom.
  • To flush a toilet we use 2 to 7 gallons of water.
  • In a five-minute shower we use  25 to 50 gallons of water.
  • To brush your teeth you use 2 gallons of water.
To learn more about what you can do to use water in a more responsible way check out the EPA’s Water Pollution Education Toolbox.  This is an excellent source of information for you and your family.
There are lessons plans for teachers and parents who are home schooling their children.

TARGET STORES TO ELIMINATE SINGLE USE PLASTIC BAGS – BRING YOUR OWN BAG IS THE NEW CHIC

It seems that the US is lagging behind most countries in the world when it comes to reducing or eliminating the unnecessary use of single use plastic bags.

China, Ireland, India, Bangladesh, Denmark, Canada, Belgium have all moved forward in this direction.  For more detailed information see “Trends from Around the World” at Reusable Bags.

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Which brings me to one of my favorite stores.   Target, or as “those in the know” like to say …Tar JAY is a terrfic trendy consumer friendly store.  It’s hard not to like the retailer’s red & white logo and that cool dog mascot. But sadly they mimic chains acoss the country that contributre mightly to plastic pollution on a daily basis.

Now enter Target Australia.  Guess what … they are eliminating single usage plastic bags!

One retailer is setting its own nationwide ban. Target Australia, not affiliated with Target Corporation US, said it will no longer offer single use plastic bags at its 283 stores in Australia as of June 1 this year. The stores will only offer reusable bags, for $1, or compostable bags, for 10 cents. Profits will go a children’s charity, the Alannah and Madeline Foundation.

Target estimates it gives out 100 million bags a year, and South Australia expects its ban will eliminate 400 million bags a year. All of Australia uses about 4 billion plastic bags annually.

Target Newsweek Ad

Now that you have read this, consider the following.

This announcement was made in May 2008!   So what’s our excuse for not following suit in the US? What, indeed!

Memo to the “suits” in Minneapolis, if Target Australia can accomplish this … what’s our excuse?  As an activist, consumer, and business woman who believes that there are realistic solutions to these environmental challenges  … you need to call me.    Green retailing is the future.  Will  you let your competitiors beat you to the punch?

Like  I said, ” Call me!”