As I put my grocery shopping into cupboards, bowls and baskets the kitchen bin fills up with packaging. I recycle and reuse what I can. The cubby hole under the stairs is now almost unusable as a cupboard due to it being full 0f plastic bags disgorging more of the same, tubs and pots are treated to a round in the dishwasher before being saved into my special sister-bin and feet are stamped when I read NOT CURRENTLY RECYCLED on plastic fruit bags.
‘What’s a sister-bin?’, you may ask. Most weekends my sister visits. She travels about half an hour from another authority, an authority which has a very generous list of plastic items it’s happy to recycle. So ever on the look out for ways of reducing waste headed for landfills I keep a special bin of clean plastic just for her to take away with her on a Saturday night! It’s not a perfect system, carbon wise I’m probably cancelling my good intentions out with the hot water and petrol but at least my yoghurt pots, margarine tubs and meat trays are not heading for …… but wait a minute. Where are they going? How can neighbouring authorities have such differing policies?
I do love a system. To me the little-number-in-the-circular-arrow symbol suggests great sorting possibilities: we could all be sorting our plastics into bins according to this number and off it could all go to the particular process suitable for that type of plastic. No? Here my scientifically savvy friends check out the ceiling and sigh.
So as you can see I have plastic angst. I read about The Great Pacific Garbage Patch which contains 100 million tons of plastic. Our oceans full of tiny pieces of plastic – microplastics. The fact that they are tiny pieces does not mean that they are decomposing in the accepted sense. They are still plastic, an unnatural material whose chemical bonds are forced to fuse under tremendous heat. They are still plastic, a material mistaken by the digestive systems of marine life as hormones. They are still plastic, an everlasting material created by the ingenuity of man but often utilised in single-use, cheap or disposable items.
So this piece is my response to that angst. Tiny dots of colour suspended in bright blue. The scale here is ambiguous. It could be a satellite shot of landmasses and oceans. Equally we could have zoomed right in and be looking at microscopic flecks.
Either way the plastic is here to stay.