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Plastic Fantastic

Written By: - Date published: 9:33 am, January 26th, 2018 - 55 comments
Categories: capitalism, disaster, economy, Economy, Environment, International, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags: , ,

I’ve noticed a fair few articles in “The Guardian” over recent months on plastic pollution. It tends to be a numbers and weights game – “x” pieces of plastic in the world’s oceans, or more tonnes of plastic than fish in the oceans by some given date, or “plastic as food” with shots of starved or starving fauna. This one adds a new angle.

Plastic carries disease, and also causes disease by compromising the vitality of organisms.

She [Joleah Lamb – lead researcher] said that once a coral is infected, disease usually spreads across the colony: “It’s like getting gangrene on your toe and watching it eat your body. There’s not much you can do to stop it. If a piece of plastic happens to entangle on a coral it has a pretty bad chance of survival.”

One third of all individual specimens of coral from across 159 reefs during a two year period of study had become ensnared by plastic debris. Corals entangled in plastic were reckoned to be 20x more likely to suffer from disease and, obviously, being less robust, less able to recover from any bleaching event.

Like global warming, plastic pollution is a systemic characterisation of capitalism – a free externalisation of costs that might otherwise impact on profits. The published paper (Science Magazine) touches on this where it reports

By 2025, the cumulative quantity of plastic waste potentially entering the marine environment from land is predicted to increase by one order of magnitude. Using this projection and assuming that the area encompassed by coral reefs remains constant, we estimate that 15.7 billion plastic items will be entangled on coral reefs across the Asia-Pacific by 2025 (the “business-as-usual” scenario for global infrastructure: 95% CI = 1.7 billion to 149.2 billion items)

Sadly, in spite of having awareness around the systemic nature of the problem, Joeah Lamb is quoted in The Guardian putting the onus back on individuals and consumers.

“The take-home message for individuals is to be more considered about the amount of single-use plastics you are using and think about where your plastic goes. These little things do matter.”

That’s akin to the sermon around AGW that runs  “change the lightbulb and save the world”. It’s ineffective bullshit that allows the culprits to sidle off into shadows where they can conjure up new and wonderful ways to protect and augment their profit margins…while doing nothing in the interim that would impact on profit margins.

If you think that’s too harsh or hopeless, then take your mind back to CFCs and how hairspray became “public enemy number 1” while ICI (the principle producers of CFC) devoted their time and energy to exploring and developing unnecessary high tech solutions that would deliver them a new monopoly and continuing rising rates of profit.

That’s not to say we should all continue using plastic willy-nilly. But the problem is well beyond “the supermarket bag” and the solution lies in production, not consumer choices.

Edited: I’d written that BP was the principle producer of CFCs when it was ICI.

55 comments on “Plastic Fantastic”

  1. JohnSelway 1

    I have become hyper-aware of the amount of plastic I use and made changes accordingly. I get really annoyed when I am at the supermarket buying a single item and they ask if I want a bag. Particularly if it is something, you know, already in a fucking bag.

    Just last week I saw a woman buy a single can of soup, ask for a bag, wrap the can in said bag and carry it like a fucking can. I nearly chased her down but luckily cooler heads (my girlfriends head) prevailed.

  2. Pat 2

    we will choose to fail

  3. weka 3

    “That’s not to say we should all continue using plastic willy-nilly. But the problem is well beyond “the supermarket bag” and the solution lies in production, not consumer choices.”

    We need both and more. Individual action and commitment is needed because what the public wants is what politicians respond to, and they’re the ones that will regulate. The more people that are willing to change and give up some consumer privilege, the sooner we will get political action.

    I also think that choosing out of plastic as much as possible grounds us in the ecological realities more and makes it obvious that we are all responsible, not just some evil people over there with power. We also need ways to hold the evil people over there with the power accountable, and that requires commitment also. Mostly people are going about their day buying plastic without too much thought. Any govt that regulates that without a shift at the individual level is going to experience some push back.

    • Bill 3.1

      I disagree with some of your premises.

      The chemical/plastics industry is nearly a US$ 1 trillion per year business. And like fossil, it’s driven by identifiable actors creating markets, chasing profit and shutting down markets that might compete with their business/ impinge on their profits.

      In other words, it is (to use your terminology) “evil people over there with the power”.

      Democratically elected western governments, first and foremost manage the economy and are beholden to economic interests. (And a trillion dollars is a sizable economic interest) You and me and everyone else are secondary considerations who are to be “jollied along” and encouraged to play our part in making profits for capitalists.

      Sometimes our demands are such that compromises will be made to keep us happy/contained. But we have never been and will never be the principle reason a government acts in a particular way – it’s business first.

      • weka 3.1.1

        Yes, (we’re not in too much disagreement there). But I’m not willing to wait for the revolution. So I’m also going to work to effect change in individuals (who will also feature largely in the revolution).

        If it’s all about power structure that you refer to, then people are powerless, and if they believe they are powerless they won’t act. Which serves the power structure 😉

        On the other hand, people mobilising as individuals does effect change (we are not powerless). At least in NZ, the govt can’t dictate our behaviours to the extent that we also can’t respond to the plastics issue. We can, and should. I’m arguing both/and here (which you are too I think, but we just have different emphases).

        • Bill 3.1.1.1

          Not willing to wait for the revolution either.

          In the words ascribed to Martin Luther King by Viola Davis in her speech the other day –

          I’m not ready to wait a hundred or two hundred years for things to change. That I think, actually, that time is neutral. That it can either be used constructively or destructively. That human progress rarely rolls in on inevitability. It is through human dedication and effort that we move forward.

          But whereas you and I, as well as many others, understand the need for revolution, and may act with that horizon in view, I’m thinking far too many still have closer horizons and a belief that “if we just work this thing out*” everything will fall into place.

          Lifting horizons or suggesting the existence of other, arguably necessary horizons, is something worthwhile, and more worthwhile than allowing what I’ll call ‘virtuous complacency’ to take root because “poly bag”, “green lightbulbs” and “fair trade purchases” all adds up (for some) to “doing my bit” and “all I can do”.

          * capitalism and fairly ubiquitous forms of government

          • weka 3.1.1.1.1

            Yes, I agree with that. I would add that we can talk about the need for urgent systemic change and frame individual action as part of that. An analysis of the differences between superficial action that supports virtuous complacency, and individual commitment that underpins further action, definitely seems useful.

            I’d also still really like people to stop using so much plastic as much as they can.

    • The more people that are willing to change and give up some consumer privilege, the sooner we will get political action.

      I think you’re wrong there. I think that the more people who are willing to give up that consumer privilege the less likely the politicians are to regulate. They’ll say that these people are choosing and so we don’t need to regulate and thus allow the corporations to continue to create this pollution.

      We also need ways to hold the evil people over there with the power accountable, and that requires commitment also.

      So how do we do that when the majority of politicians are on the side of that evil?

      • weka 3.2.1

        Voting for the ones that aren’t. And putting energy into supporting them as much as we can (Greens just put out the word that they need more votes next time round if we want true change).

        “I think you’re wrong there. I think that the more people who are willing to give up that consumer privilege the less likely the politicians are to regulate. They’ll say that these people are choosing and so we don’t need to regulate and thus allow the corporations to continue to create this pollution.”

        Except we know that activism pushes change, and that some activism at least is dependent upon numbers. The push around plastics now is in part a movement of people who have already decided to make change personally (e.g. there’s a whole genre of blogging around living a year without plastic kind of thing).

        • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.1

          Except we know that activism pushes change,and that some activism at least is dependent upon numbers.

          Activism does but making soft personal choices that don’t make the headlines doesn’t. And all activism is dependent upon numbers. A single person standing up won’t make any change. It’s all those that join them and make a lot of noise about it.

          • Bill 3.2.1.1.1

            The single person standing up might not make any change. But the single person standing up can inspire or compel others to stand up too. And that can make change happen.

            So I wouldn’t be so fast to dismiss the “single person” 😉

          • weka 3.2.1.1.2

            I wasn’t talking about soft personal choices, but even those are useful. See the comment to Pat below. We need to stop adding to the pile as much as we can.

            “And all activism is dependent upon numbers. A single person standing up won’t make any change. It’s all those that join them and make a lot of noise about it.”

            Sure, but some activism is successful with relative small groups of people working together. Other things need a mass movement. This is one of them.

    • Pat 3.3

      I would suggest that even if EVERYONE drastically reduced unnecessary plastic packaging AND governments regulated for recyclable/biodegradable materials tomorrow we will fail to avert the impacts of the environmental disaster underway….we have still to deal with the 50 years plus of refuse and develop and expand alternatives (that are likely to bring their own environmental damage).

      The issue is we have developed systems that concurrently create and support the underlying problem…we have outgrown our environment….and we have no other.

      • weka 3.3.1

        I’m old enough to remember when we didn’t use plastic anywhere near like what we do now. I’m totally up for doing that again even if it means less convenience. Cleaning up fifty years of plastic becomes easier when we’re not adding to the pile. It also requires systems thinking, and the sooner we get on that the better.

        • Pat 3.3.1.1

          I am old enough as well however that world is now confined to history (how much forest was lost to the packaging industry in the days of paper bags?) and in the time since the systems developed have replaced and expanded both the population and the supply chains …..they cannot be undone and replacement is not instantaneous nor without impact….

          https://www.thoughtco.com/current-world-population-1435270

          As i see it the only possible hope of turning this ‘supertanker’ of environmental degradation would be a complete redirecting of the worlds economies from consumption which given the timeframes involved would inevitably need to be authoritarian (which in itself presents disquieting issues)….and is certainly at odds with any democratic principles

          • weka 3.3.1.1.1

            Oh, I agree with you about population.

            Not about change though. It might go that way but it doesn’t have to.

          • David Mac 3.3.1.1.2

            We can make paper and cardboard products with low grade wood pulp. Felled logs are stripped of their limbs where they fall, those branches are left to decompose or pushed into piles and burnt. I think it’s waste that could go a long way to creating much of the packaging we require, then recycled or allowed to decompose.

            Yes in just a few generations many of the key plastic polluters were once green. Milk in glass bottles, supermarket bags of paper, cigarette lighters of metal.

            • weka 3.3.1.1.2.1

              The one that gets me is having to buy something that doesn’t need protection in a semi-hard plastic package e.g. nails from a hardware store. Or a new cell phone. Or most things. It’s stupid beyond belief.

            • Andrea 3.3.1.1.2.2

              ” those branches are left to decompose or pushed into piles and burnt. I think it’s waste”

              You could also consider those windrows as returning some goodness to the soil over time; habitat for many invertebrates and myccorhiza/fungi; soil protection while the pioneer plants re-establish; a seed bed for the first plants – such as gorse, Cortaderia, Clematis and Dicksonia.

              Stripping the soil cover usually leads to downstream pollution, loose logs coming downhill in heavy rain, and gullying, which will impact on water quality, as well as increasing erosion. We’re kind of short of good soils in this country. Forestry is usually put on the steep ‘tiger country’ that can’t hold pasture, or other ‘low value’ soils.

              But, if using all of the tree, right down to the roots and resin is what we ‘have to do’…

              Yeah, nah.

              On the other hand – the cellulose from food wastes is already being used to make a plastics substitute, and is reasonably biodegradable. At least the bacteria, etc, are already part of the ecosystems.

              What I’d love to see is a ruling that only plastics that can be recycled safely in this country should be allowed to cross the border, with very few exceptions. Maybe for medical devices.

              If China can refuse to import any more of some plastic wastes into their recycling streams – we can, too. And stop shipping our toxic yuck to Third World countries desperate for work and income. There has to be many better ways.

          • Bill 3.3.1.1.3

            When the producers fold their arms or stick their hands in their pockets, everything stops. The working class “just” has to uncover its roots and flex is all.

            • Pat 3.3.1.1.3.1

              Yes everything does stop (in that unlikely event)….including the production and distribution of life essentials….even more pronounced in urban areas where the bulk of the worlds population are increasingly drawn to.

              • Bill

                Pat. In the event, if I’m an ambulance driver, do you think I’d stop driving the ambulance? Or if I’m a nurse, that I’d stop nursing? Or that anyone would pressure anyone carrying out such activities to stop? I don’t.

                In the event, it’s about killing “a way”, not about killing people.

                Are there grey areas, in terms of what we do to ensure human welfare, that could see different people engaged in the same work make different decisions to one another? Probably. Is that a huge issue? No.

  4. francesca 4

    While we are still in the jaws of market ideology its an uphill battle to institute legislation for our own survival.
    Woe betide any who get between extremist market ideologues and their money.
    The outrage,!
    the feelings of emasculation,!
    the threat to personal freedom!
    if anyone threatens to take single use plastics out of the food chain,or suggests that eternal and endless growth is not possible without turning Earth in to a massive rubbish dump

    • Bill 4.1

      Woe betide any who get between extremist market ideologues and their money.

      If I were a spanner and thems was a machine, I’d be happily woe betided crunching them thar cogs 🙂

    • cleangreen 4.2

      Francesca is so right here.

      The global corporate machinery has set us all up to pollute ourselves.

      It seems like they want to exterminate us all now as Francesca says and you can see this also with every issue we look at where if there was an @option@ to use a safe choice rather than the toxic option they choose to use the toxic option upon us all..

      Just look at the dirty drinking water crisis now:

      I wrote a blog to Government ministers about this critical issue today so see this.

      Importance: High

      26th January 2018.
      For your consideration Minister Clark please;
      Copy to;

      Hon; David Clark,

      Minister of Health;

      Also sent to all below.

      ===============================================================

      Public Health – COMMUNITY letter;

      26th January 2018,

      Dear Ministers; – please consider this plan to use a safe water purifier rather than using toxic chlorine in our municipal water supplies please read the facts below and link to expert companies use of the safe alternative of using hydrogen peroxide and not cancer causing climate changing Chlorine.

      http://www.h2o2.com/products-and-services/us-peroxide-technologies.aspx?pid=112

      Why can’t NZ water scientists speak up for using Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) rather than the toxic cancer causing chlorine in our water supply as other countries do so widely now.
      Wake up NZ remember when we were really “clean-green?

      Quote;
      H2O2 is Widely Used
      Since it was first commercialized in the 1800’s, hydrogen peroxide production has now grown to over a billion pounds per year (as 100%). In addition to pollution control, hydrogen peroxide is used to bleach textiles and paper products, and to manufacture or process foods, minerals, petrochemicals, and consumer products (detergents). Its use for pollution control parallels those of the movement itself — municipal wastewater applications in the 1970’s; industrial waste/wastewater applications in the 1980’s; and more recently, air applications in the 1990’s. Today, hydrogen peroxide is readily available throughout the U.S. in drum, tote, mini-bulk, and bulk quantities in concentrations of 35% or 50% by weight.
      This is Hydrogen Peroxide
      Hydrogen Peroxide Powerful OxidizerAs simple as it may seem, the treatment of contaminated waters is as diverse and complicated as the operations from which it comes. In today’s environment, where merely transferring contaminants from one medium to another is no longer acceptable, it is no surprise that a powerful oxidizer like hydrogen peroxide that looks like water — in its appearance, chemical formula and reaction products — should be so widely used. This is hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) — a powerful yet versatile oxidant that is both safe and effective.

      Warmest regards,

      • RedLogix 4.2.1

        Hydrogen peroxide is a fairly weak microbiocide compared to UV and chlorine, and has a very poor persistence in the distribution system. It has some uses in small household systems, fed by wells or rain water.

        H2O2 does have a place in water treatment as a pre-oxidant stage, but it’s never used as a standalone treatement in large municipal systems.

        The key to safe chlorine disinfection is keeping the dose rate down to about 0.8 mg/l, and ensuring the organics are filtered before the chlorine is added. All this is very well known nowadays, and in NZ the big city supplies are tightly controlled in this respect.

        Places that use chloramine instead of chlorine do worry me; there really is far less research on the byproducts of this. Which is why chloramine (last I looked) is not permitted under the NZDWS.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 4.2.1.1

          …has a very poor persistence in the distribution system…keeping the dose rate down…

          I suspect you may need to explain these concepts until your head is bleeding.

  5. McFlock 5

    I can understand the societal resistance to losing single use plastic bags, but why not legislate that any single use plastic needs to be genuinely biodegradable of photodegradable? Make ’em out of starch or something similar – the tech exists. Is there some barrier other than a moderate increase in cost?

    • weka 5.1

      The biodegradable tech isn’t that good, and photodegradable isn’t what we should be aiming for. It’s a fundamental principle of sustainability to restrict high input/output tech and goods to essential things and to make them last as along as possible. Manufacturing single use bags (even if biodegradable) is massively wasteful of the whole cradle to grave resource loop. Think electricity usage in that alone, or carbon.

      That shit just has to stop and the thing that’s preventing it is our economic system which believes that businesses should be free to do what they want or we will all starve.

      • McFlock 5.1.1

        Actually, the thing that’s preventing it is that for at least the last two thousand years people have found single-use packaging a very useful way of protecting stuff that they only need to carry once. We just make ours out of plastic instead of paper, glass, clay or raffia.

        Legislating how something is made is a more achievable step than changing how people want to use it.

        What’s wrong with the biodegradable tech?

        • weka 5.1.1.1

          I don’t think so. I’m early fifties and we used reusable tech for the most part for food storage when I was growing up. It’s been a long time since we wrapped things in leaves.

          “Legislating how something is made is a more achievable step than changing how people want to use it.”

          And thus we have climate change.

          “What’s wrong with the biodegradable tech?”

          Some of what is in NZ already is photodegradable being marketed as biodegradable (I assume because it works better), so putting aside that stuff, cornstarch doesn’t hold wet things very well. The ones that do hold wet things well are very high tech plastics that don’t biodegrade in the environment. They need an industrial composter. And you can’t recycle them in the current plastic recycling stream. So now you have another layer of tech needed (build more factories and all the resource and carbon costs of that, plus economies of scale mean NZ probably won’t bother, so there’s shipping etc now too), as well as supply chains. Because this shit isn’t regulated and neoliberalism rules, those supply chains will likely not happen or not happen very well (think CFC bulb disposal, or even the fact that we have the tech to recycle shopping bags but we don’t), so the plastics will end up somewhere else. Landfills and the Pacific Gyre.

          Sure there will be improvements in the tech as we go along, but nowhere near fast enough, and there’s still the issue of capitalism/neoliberalism (government telling us what light bulbs to use!!!).

          This is sustainability 101 stuff. Reduce, reuse, recycle.

          • McFlock 5.1.1.1.1

            True, but on the climate change thing regulating how cars are made and what they run on (e.g. France’s regulations re:new car production) is more effective than getting people to give up cars.

            So currently the degradable bags aren’t fit for purpose. Move back to paper/waxpaper?

            It wasn’t just leaves – roman amphorae were often disposable items for transport convenience. The beer bottle is another longstanding usually single-use item.

            I think that a sustained campaign about plastic bags, coupled with advocating for a less shitty substitute, could involve a regulatory change. ATM the only impulse is for retailers to charge for bags – they get ‘charity’ advertising (or pocket the money) and the amount is trivial to the shopper. The business has no incentive to change away from plastic.

    • Bill 5.2

      Some years back there was a product (a film) developed that was going to replace plastic food wrap on meat or whatever. It was made from shrimp. I don’t know why it never took off, but remember comments about it being visually not so appealing.

      I suspect major pressure was brought to bear by those in the plastic/chemical industry who were seeing a threat to “their” market.

      Legislation would be the obvious first step. But even if various free trade deal clauses didn’t constrain the ability of a government to legislate, again we have very powerful industry players (think tobacco) who have one aim and purpose – profit.

      How long did it take for various legislation around tobacco to come into force? What about vehicle emissions and efficiencies? Or even efficiency standards on bog standard electrical products such as vacuum cleaners, fridges, washing machines etc?

      Staying within the existing parameters of the status quo for argument’s sake, unless or until governments step up and supplant markets and market forces as being the primary determinants of production and consumption, then any movement on the legislative front will be slow, hampered and piecemeal.

      • McFlock 5.2.1

        Then there’s also the problem that plastic bags are already generally ‘good enough’ (from a cost/use standpoint) so there’s no major push to improve on them, unlike e.g. electric cars and battery tech.

        Bags are cheap, portable (in rolls or stacks), quick to use and generally do the job. They just don’t disappear after use, which is the main problem.

      • Rosemary McDonald 5.2.2

        Take heart Bill…there is much work being done here and overseas on ‘alternative plastics’.

        Some of the ideas make sound sense….others sound really exiting and innovative and almost sexy, but have very limited application and/or are prohibitively expensive.

        Now…guess which ones are most likely to score the much competed for research funding? 🙁

  6. adam 6

    Just one more example of the failure of politics to produce a solution.

    There are no political solutions to capitalism.

    All we are doing is venting into the void, whilst the rich get richer, but are never satisfied.

  7. The Fairy Godmother 7

    We need to tackle industry on this. I understand 80% of Auckland landfill is industrial waste. The building industry is particularly bad with Styrofoam packing. In fact packaging is a huge issue. Being careful individually is only useful in so far as it puts us in a stronger position to collectively challenge industry.

  8. Like global warming, plastic pollution is a systemic characterisation of capitalism – a free externalisation of costs that might otherwise impact on profits.

    Correlation != causation. Pollution is a systemic characterisation of all developed industrial societies, including the non-capitalist ones – in fact the Soviet ones could have taught capitalism a thing or two about externalising costs via pollution. A non-polluting developed society wouldn’t be a capitalist one, but let’s not make it sound like getting rid of capitalism gets rid of the problem.

    • Bill 8.1

      The Soviet Union (thankfully) no longer exists. Putting aside notions of what might constitute “development” there are no non-capitalist industrialised nations in the world today.

      And the statement about externalising costs is accurate.

      If a non-polluting developed society wouldn’t be a capitalist one then are you suggesting that development as industrialisation is only one possible form of development and/or that all industrialisation produces egregious levels of pollution?

      The forced adoption of coal to power mills supplanted a far more efficient and clean source of energy (water) and there is no reason I can think as to why industrialisation must involve huge levels of unmanageable and deleterious pollution.

      I can see why capitalist industrialisation will always mean run-away pollution (eg –
      because production is for profit, not for the things produced), so taking the specific capitalist or market drivers out of production could, though won’t necessarily, curb dangerous pollution. (eg – the state capitalism of the USSR)

      • Psycho Milt 8.1.1

        If a non-polluting developed society wouldn’t be a capitalist one then are you suggesting that development as industrialisation is only one possible form of development and/or that all industrialisation produces egregious levels of pollution?

        I’m saying that externalising costs via pollution would be a very tempting option for any kind of society in a position to do it, and therefore a conscious choice to prevent people and organisations from exercising that option would have to be made – regardless of what type of society it is. A capitalist society lacks the mechanisms to make that choice and properly enforce it, but there’s no guarantee a non-capitalist society (which the Soviet economies most certainly were, for all the “state capitalism” horseshit invented by their Marxist apologists) would do any better. If we just called this a problem of capitalism and therefore we must get rid of capitalism, we’d misrepresent the problem and the solution.

        • Bill 8.1.1.1

          …therefore a conscious choice to prevent people and organisations from exercising that option would have to be made.

          Yup. So a “conscious choice” expressed by way of (say) organisational structures around production that would preclude externalising costs through pollution. And whatever those structures may be, it’s not possible to develop them within a capitalist context.

          And given it would require (in my view) quite substantive democratic input and oversight, any statist solution is no solution at all either.

          I’m no Marxist btw, and it was Lenin who said the Bolsheviks were developing state capitalism. A part of their claimed rationale was a Marxist contention that a revolution ushering in communism could only happen in advanced capitalist countries (eg – at that time Britain or Germany) and so they were going to create a “staging post” as it were.

  9. Bruce 9

    Its a pity the greedy politicians were sucked in by the crooked business men, rockafella, du pont etc to outlaw hemp and hemp plastic and destroy the planet with their own toxic products. And now none have the balls to admit they were conned and repeal the bad laws they made.
    Hemp plastic is a bioplastic made using industrial hemp. There are many different types of hemp plastic; from standard plastics reinforced with hemp fibers, to a 100% hemp plastic made entirely from the hemp plant. Hemp plastic is recyclable and can be manufactured to be 100% biodegradable.
    What Is Hemp Plastic? – The Hemp Bottle
    hempwaterbottles.tripod.com/what-is-hemp-plastic.html

  10. cleangreen 10

    true every word bruce,

    These men were criminals all.

    Though they look credible they snuffed out any optionns for a better way for our environment and our health for greed.

    DuPont and the Dow families were bad dudes as they caused many to die inserting their ‘nylon 6’ originally known on the CAS registry as ‘vinyl cyanide’ but the term was frightening people from using nylon so they changed the name from vinyl cyanide to nylon.

    The DuPont family are keeping one of their family members under house arrest now for 20 yrs as the son of one family is outspoken about DuPont products being toxic and killing people.

    https://www.nrdc.org/stories/24-d-most-dangerous-pesticide-youve-never-heard

    As for Dow, well we all know about the Dow chemical plant making the only supplies globally in NZ as this 2-4D poison that is used to kill possums and other pests is now banned most other countries but not here.

  11. David Mac 11

    We used to pay a deposit on glass bottles. I bought a bike via lugging empty pop bottles to the dairy. I think the only reason those schemes wouldn’t work today is because the deposit is too low. Not worth an industrious 13 year old’s effort.

    What would happen if I paid 20 cents a bag at Countdown and the 20 cents was paid back to the kid that returns it to a depot? Same with bic flic lighters, pay an extra 25 cents at purchase and they’re worth that much empty. The blister pack on my new trailer tie-downs, 2 litre milk bottles.

    They’ve had the deposit thing going on glass bottles in South Australia for decades, they’d have a mega data base of info re: what works and why.

  12. Whispering Kate 12

    There is also another pressing problem – the amount of textiles from clothing entering our landfills. Charity shops are saying that the problem is becoming worse these days as materials being produced for clothing are inferior and not lasting for any length of time and instead of being able to recycle as they would like, almost everything they receive, the vast majority of it is in such poor condition they have to bag it up for the tip.

    The charities are spending huge sums of money a year having to pay just throwing junk clothing into our tips. Shoppers today can buy an entire new wardrobe every season and why wouldn’t they when they are so cheap and not meant to last, so it doesn’t matter to them if they biff the stuff in a bag and give it to the charity shops to get rid of it for them.

    Clothing today even if it expensive is not as well made and stitched/tailored as they used to be – its a junk consumerable society we live in. Phones have a shelf life now, whitewear has a shelf life – everything is made to just be chucked out. Its a bloody wonder the planet doesn’t tilt off its axis under the weight of junk we chuck out. It’s all going to come back and bite us on the bum one day burying us in all this throw away stuff we buy endlessly.

    • David Mac 12.1

      In Stockholm they built a landfill upward. In winter they have an urban ski-field.

      Of course it is with issues and I may be wrong but I live more easily with land fill than I do suffocating reefs.

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    2 hours ago
  • $19.9 million from PGF for Kawerau
    A $19.9 million investment from the Provincial Growth Fund will help develop essential infrastructure for an industrial hub in the Bay of Plenty town of Kawerau, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. “The funding will go to three projects to further develop the Putauaki Trust Industrial Hub, an industrial ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • PGF funds Mahia roading package
    The Provincial Growth Fund is investing $8.3 million on a roading package for Mahia that will lead to greater and wider economic benefits for the region and beyond, Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced at an event in Mahia today. The $8.3 million announced consists of: $7 ...
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    8 hours ago
  • 18,400 children lifted out of poverty
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed new reporting showing the Coalition Government is on track to meet its child poverty targets, with 18,400 children lifted out of poverty as a result of the Families Package.   Stats NZ has released the first set of comprehensive child poverty statistics since the Government ...
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    8 hours ago
  • 20,000 more Kiwi kids on bikes
    Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter today announced that Bikes in Schools facilities have been rolled out to 20,000 more kiwi kids under this Government. She made the announcement at the opening of a new bike track at Henderson North School in Auckland. “Bikes in Schools facilities give kids ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Benefit settings rise in line with wages as of 1 April
    Benefit settings rise in line with wages as of 1 April   Main benefits will increase by over 3 percent, instead of 1.66 percent, on 1 April with the Government’s decision to annually adjust benefit rates to increases in the average wage. The Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni, said ...
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    1 day ago
  • Foreign and Trade Ministers to lead business delegation to India
    Strengthening New Zealand’s political and business ties with India will be the focus of Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters’ and Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker’s visit to India this week. The Ministers are co-leading a high level business delegation to India to support increased people and economic engagement ...
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    1 day ago
  • Minister champions more Pacific in STEM – Toloa Awards
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio continues to champion for greater Pacific participation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers with the announcement of the Toloa Awards, with 8 recipients of the Toloa Community Fund and 13 Toloa Tertiary Scholarships. “The Toloa Programme encourages more Pacific peoples ...
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    1 day ago
  • Submission period for whitebait consultation extended
    Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage has extended the date for people to have their say on proposed changes to improve management of whitebait across New Zealand.   Submissions were due to close on 2 March 2020 but will now remain open until 9am on Monday 16 March 2020.   “I have ...
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    2 days ago
  • New international protection for frequent fliers
    The endangered toroa/Antipodean albatross has new international protection for its 100,000km annual migration, thanks to collaborative efforts led by New Zealand, Australia and Chile.   Today, 130 countries agreed to strictly protect Antipodean albatross at the Conference of Parties on the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild ...
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    2 days ago
  • Government to regulate vaping
      No sales to under-18-year-olds No advertising and sponsorship of vaping products and e-cigarettes No vaping or smokeless tobacco in smokefree areas Regulates vaping product safety comprehensively, - including devices, flavours and ingredients Ensure vaping products are available for those who want to quit smoking   Vaping regulation that balances ...
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    3 days ago
  • Justice Minister represents New Zealand at Berlin nuclear disarmament summit
    Justice Minister Andrew Little will travel to Berlin tomorrow to represent New Zealand at a high-level summit on nuclear disarmament. This year, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) celebrates 50 years since it entered into force. “New Zealand’s proud record and leadership on nuclear disarmament is unwavering, so it’s important we are present ...
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    3 days ago
  • Prime Minister to visit Fiji and Australia
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will visit two of New Zealand’s most important Pacific partners, Fiji and Australia, next week. The visit to Fiji will be the first by a New Zealand Prime Minister in four years and comes during the 50th anniversary of Fijian independence and diplomatic relations between our ...
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    4 days ago
  • Next steps in Criminal Cases Review Commission announced
    Justice Minister Andrew Little and New Zealand First MP Darroch Ball, have today announced the appointment of the Chief Commissioner of the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), the location, and the membership of the Establishment Advisory Group. Colin Carruthers QC has been appointed Chief Commissioner of the CCRC for an ...
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    4 days ago
  • Horticultural Ahuwhenua Trophy finalists announced
    Māori Development Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta and Agriculture Minister Hon Damien O’Connor co-announced the first horticultural finalists for the Ahuwhenua Trophy celebrating excellence in the Māori agricultural sector.  The three finalists are Ngai Tukairangi Trust from Mt Maunganui, Otama Marere Trust from Tauranga, and Hineora Orchard Te Kaha 15B Ahuwhenua ...
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    4 days ago
  • New support for students with dyslexia
    A new kete of resources to strengthen support for students with dyslexia will provide extra tools for the new Learning Support Coordinators (LSCs) as they start in schools, Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin announced today. The Minister launched the kete in Wellington this morning, at the first of three induction ...
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    4 days ago
  • Rental reforms progress to select committee stage
    The Government continues to make progress on a fairer and more secure rental market for renters and landlords with the First Reading of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill and its referral to the Social Services and Community Select Committee.  “Now is the opportunity for landlords, tenants and others who want ...
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    5 days ago
  • Papua New Guinea Prime Minister to visit New Zealand
    Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Hon James Marape will visit New Zealand from 21-25 February, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “New Zealand and Papua New Guinea have a warm and friendly relationship. I look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Marape here and strengthening the relationship between our two countries,” ...
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    5 days ago
  • Free school lunches served up to thousands
    Thousands of children have begun receiving a free lunch on every day of the school week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. The Government’s free and healthy school lunch programme is under way for 7,000 students at 31 schools in Hawke’s Bay / Tairāwhiti and Bay of Plenty / Waiariki, extending ...
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    5 days ago
  • Social Wellbeing Agency replaces Social Investment Agency with new approach
    The Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni today announced a new approach that continues to broaden the Government’s social sector focus from a narrow, investment approach to one centred on people and wellbeing. Minister Sepuloni said redefining the previous approach to social investment by combining science, data and lived experience ...
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    5 days ago
  • Government to strengthen protections for whistleblowers
    The Government is strengthening the Protected Disclosures Act to provide better protection for whistle blowers, Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins said today. “The Protected Disclosures Act is meant to encourage people to speak up about serious wrongdoing in the workplace and protect them from losing their jobs or being ...
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    5 days ago
  • PM speech at Parliamentary Chinese New Year celebration 2020
    Nǐn hǎo (Hello in Mandarin). Xīn Nián Kuài Lè (Happy New Year in Mandarin) Néi Hóu (Hello in Cantonese). Sun Nin Fai Lok (Happy New Year in Cantonese) Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Thank you for your invitation to attend this celebration today. I would like to acknowledge ...
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    5 days ago
  • IPANZ Annual Address
    Kia ora. Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa. Nau mai haere mai ki te Whare Pāremata. E ngā mana whenua ki tēnei rohe Taranaki Whānui, Te Upoko o Te Ika, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Raukawa – kei te mihi, kei te mihi, kei te mihi. E ngā mana, e ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • 2020 IPANZ Annual Address
    Kia ora. Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa. Nau mai haere mai ki te Whare Pāremata. E ngā mana whenua ki tēnei rohe Taranaki Whānui, Te Upoko o Te Ika, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Raukawa – kei te mihi, kei te mihi, kei te mihi. E ngā mana, e ngā ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Tougher penalties for gun crime a step closer
    Tougher penalties for gun crime are a step closer with the passage of firearms reform legislation through another stage in Parliament. The Arms Legislation Bill has tonight passed its Second Reading. “The changes have one objective - to prevent firearms falling into the wrong hands,” said Police Minister Stuart Nash. ...
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    6 days ago
  • Arms Legislation Bill: Second Reading
    Introduction Mr Speaker We all know why we are here today. It has been a long journey. The journey did not actually begin on 15 March 2019. It began on 30 June 1997. Almost 23 years ago, Justice Sir Thomas Thorp told us what was wrong with our firearms legislation. ...
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    6 days ago
  • New era for vocational education
    The Government’s work to put trades and vocational education back on the agenda took another major step forward today with the passing of the Education (Vocational Education and Training Reform) Amendment Bill, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “This is a watershed day for trades and vocational education. These law changes formalise ...
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    6 days ago
  • Bill to Amend the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act
    Speeding up the return of Christchurch regeneration activities to local leadership is behind the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Amendment Bill introduced to Parliament today by Minister Megan Woods. “As we approach nine years since the February 2011 earthquake in Canterbury, and with the transition to local leadership well underway, the time ...
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    6 days ago
  • Milford Track to partly reopen after storm damage
    Hundreds of New Zealanders and international visitors will be able to get back out into nature with the Milford Track partially reopening next week, after extensive assessments and repairs, the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today. The popular Great Walk has been closed since 3 February after an extreme ...
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    6 days ago
  • Government drives low-emissions transport momentum
    Up to 110 new EV chargers nationwide in cities and regions 50 electric vehicles for ride-sharing The Government is helping deliver more infrastructure and options for low emissions transport through new projects, Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods says. Tauranga, Nelson, Levin, New Plymouth and Oamaru are just some ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Kiwis better off under Coalition Government
    New Zealanders are increasingly better off under this Government as wages rise and families have more disposable income, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. Stats NZ reported today that average household disposable incomes after housing costs rose 4.9% in 2019. This was the highest rise in four years and came as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Another step towards restoring rights for screen production workers
    All New Zealanders need to have their voices heard at work to ensure we have an inclusive and productive economy. Today we introduce a Bill to do this for workers in the New Zealand screen industry, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. “The Screen Industry Workers Bill will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Enhanced Taskforce Green for Southland and South Otago
    The Government has announced further help for the Southland and Otago regions to speed up recovery efforts from the floods.  “I’ve approved Enhanced Taskforce Green (ETFG), making $500,000 available to help with the clean-up in Fiordland, Southland, and the Clutha district in Otago,” Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni said.  ...
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    1 week ago
  • Employers and Industry take the lead to connect students to vocational education
    Following the announcement that more than 340 schools will be funded to run events promoting vocational education, the Government has announced it will fund a further 257 events to be run by employers and industry. “These industry-run events will allow more than 30,000 students to connect with more than 2,000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Rental reforms a step closer with the introduction of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill
    Today the Government is making progress on a fairer and more secure rental market for renters and landlords with the introduction of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill in Parliament.  “This Bill includes a series of reforms to improve the wellbeing of the 609,700 households that live in rented homes, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Biosecurity Minister announces world first eradication of pea weevil
    A Government programme to wipe out pea weevil has achieved a world first, with Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor today announcing the successful eradication of the noxious pest from Wairarapa. This means the nearly four-year ban on pea plants and pea straw was lifted today. Commercial and home gardeners can again grow ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Temporary Accommodation Service activated for Southland flooding
    Southland residents hit by flooding caused by heavy rainfall can now access help finding temporary accommodation with the Government activating the Temporary Accommodation Service, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare announced today. “The Temporary Accommodation Service (TAS) has been activated by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to help ...
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    1 week ago
  • Bridges: Over-hyped and under-delivered
    “Is that it?” That’s Finance Minister Grant Robertson’s response to Simon Bridges’ much-hyped economic speech today. “Simon Bridges just gave the most over-hyped and under-delivered speech that I can remember during my time in politics,” Grant Robertson said. “It’s not surprising. Simon Bridges literally said on the radio this morning ...
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    1 week ago
  • Police to trial eye in the sky in Christchurch
    A trial deployment of the Police Eagle helicopter in Christchurch will test whether the aircraft would make a significant difference to crime prevention and community safety. “The Bell 429 helicopter will be based in Christchurch for five weeks, from 17 February to 20 March,” said Police Minister Stuart Nash. “The ...
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    1 week ago