It’s still quiet here. I have one novel nearly edited (a different one), the one I was doing before has been back to the author and is now back with revisions, there’s a short story book by another author and there’s the podcast ad.
If there is one failing in me, it’s that it never occurs to me to ask for help. It’s not ‘male pride’ or stubbornness (well maybe a little bit of stubbornness) it simply does not occur to me to ask. I’m going to have to give in soon though. I’ll have to get some freelance editors and cover artists involved at the rate the work is piling up.
I gave in on the podcast ad. Dr. Evil offered to do it for me if I provided the text. He has a well practiced and clear speaking voice and better sound equipment. My next investment has to be a half decent microphone! Mine mostly came from a pound shop… It’s now done and will be on the podcast next Monday. So it won’t be me speaking this one but I’ll have to get a few ready to go in case of another spontaneous chance at an advert. I also need good sound recording for story readings.
Anyway, that gets the digression out of the way early on. Now about those plastics…
I have always been a big believer in recycling. I suppose it stems from my childhood when we could take a bag of glass bottles back to the shop, get a few pennies per bottle and have a sweet binge on the proceeds. Back then, most sweets either came in a paper bag (measured out from a jar) or were individually wrapped in waxed paper. All of which would rot away harmlessly.
Oh I know, they weren’t ‘free sweets’ because the deposit was paid by whoever bought the bottle – but that was never us. Parents were happy to hand us the bottles and we found quite a few on Saturday and Sunday mornings after the older kids had a woodland beer binge. There were other sources too.
Then came the day when ‘No deposit – no return’ was moulded into the sides of the bottles. Disaster! No more free sweets!
And of course, all those woodland beer bottles and under-hedge drunken discards just stayed where they were because no kids were picking them up next morning. Bins started to fill with perfectly good bottles that could have been re-used and broken ones that could have been melted down and made into other things.
Worse, the reuseable milk bottles were replaced by card and plastic containers, then glass bottles were replaced with plastic ones, all of it non-returnable.
Fast forward a decade or so and you have the Greens shrieking at us for throwing away loads of plastic. Well, the milk comes in plastic bottles, as do most drinks now, so what are we to do? Cup our hands and carry it home that way?
I do not throw waste plastic into the sea, the river, of anywhere in the environment. I, like everyone else, have a special bin called ‘recycling’ that takes plastic, card and cans. This one does not take glass. That goes to a big bin near Local Shop once I accumulate enough to make it worth the diversion.
So what happens? Are those bin collecting trucks just magic portals that send all that recycling straight to the Pacific?
No. What happens is that the council sells the recycling (that they charge you to collect) to a recycling company who then ship it to China or Africa where they sort out what can be used and dump anything they don’t want into the rivers.
Sure, I’ve seen the argument that most of the crap in the sea comes from six rivers, but that’s because we send it there.
I have a friend who does not put cans in recycling. He crushes them and puts them in bins of his own, separating aluminium from steel, then takes them to the scrapyard and gets a few quid for them. That’s proper ground level recycling.
I have in the past attempted to make plastic bricks by hanging a frame on my chimenea and melting waste plastic in it. Not a great success that time. I’d like to try reviving that idea though.
You couldn’t build a house with them but a low garden wall, faced with cement and topped with flat stones? That could work to where nobody could tell the difference. However, real bricks are cheap so it wouldn’t be a great business option.
Unless you sell it as ‘green’ and you can do it on a scale where your plastic bricks cost no more than real ones, ideally less. As I said, bricks are cheap, but you need a lot for a wall so even a penny per brick saving could soon add up. Plus you have the virtue signalling and to many people these days, that’s a big selling point. There is also the point that filling the back of your car with plastic bricks would be far less damaging to your suspension than doing it with real ones.
Making one at a time on a chimenea isn’t really viable. You need a big melting pot and a whole raft of moulds to make loads at once. But I think it could work. If you’re talking about a low wall, ten bricks high, a few flawed ones won’t matter. And you could cut half-bricks with a saw or a hot wire.
That’s just bricks. You could make planks sized to order. Even mould-in fake grain. I’ve seen park benches made of recycled plastic. It can be done. You can already get garden furniture in a kit of moulded plastic parts – imagine the virtue signalling opportunites if it was clearly made out of recycled bottles!
Virtue signalling is a big thing with the smug and self-righteous now. Why not cash in on that?
I might have dreamed this or it might be real – was there ever a ‘stained glass’ type window made of glass bottles that were laid out and then melted so they all flattened and fused together? Whether it’s real or not, you could use the same idea to make a plastic greenhouse with clear plastic bottles. The plants inside don’t care about the aesthetics.
I don’t hear anything like this from those protesting plastics though. All I hear is shouting about how it’s all the supermarkets’ fault for packaging things in plastic.
Newsflash – they don’t. Their suppliers do.
What is the supermarket’s fault is the death of local small suppliers. I recall going to the local butcher and getting meat wrapped in paper that my grandmother carried home in her own shopping bag. Same at the greengrocer or the fishmonger. All those are now conglomerated into the supermarkets and the small ones are mostly gone. There are still some but they are rare and becoming more rare.
There used to be a good little lighting shop in a town I lived in. The nearby Tesco filled an aisle with lightbulbs of every type at lower prices. The lighting shop died. Tesco’s lighting section dropped to only the most common types. I can’t help feeling it was just pure malice. They killed the bookshop too and tried to kill the sporting goods shop – but since Tesco won’t sell shotguns or airguns or bows, they failed on that one. Tesco had a range of horse tack for a while but none of those horsey types are going for a Tesco Value hard hat or harness. The sporting goods shop is still there. So don’t imagine for a moment that I am on the side of the supermarkets. They are run by malicious bastards.
Even so, the latest idiotic protest involves plastic-feedback, espoused on the BBC by Huge Farty-Shittingstall. Unwrap the stuff you voluntarily bought, stuff all the plastic wrapping into a bag and take it back to the supermarket you willingly bought it from and then virtue signal that you are an EcoWarrior of the Ultimate Stupid Arseness. Or you could just not buy stuff wrapped in plastic… is that too hard a concept?
If you don’t put it in the bin, the supermarket will put it in the bin. Then it goes to exactly the same place as if you had put it in the bin yourself. It’s an exercise in utterly pointless dickery that makes a bunch of smug wankers feel really good about achieving nothing at all. Other than to make the lives of a few minimum wage workers that bit more miserable because it’s not the boss of the supermarket who has to clean up your silly protest. It’s the bottom tier staff who have no say at all in how any product is packaged.
Huge Farty-Shittingstall lauds Sainsbury’s for selling stuff that’s not in plastic packaging. They sell you cups to dispense things into from special dispensers so you aren’t taking home all that packaging. The dispensers, and the cup, are made of… plastic. Nice one Sainsbury. You caught the suckers fair and square there.
Look. Plastic can be melted down and made into other things. So can glass and so can metal. Don’t shriek about the amount of plastic being thrown away, ask why it’s not being recycled. And maybe come up with a few ideas about how it can be. Maybe even try them yourself.
But just getting someone else to put it in the bin for you? How does that help?
I hope the supermarkets ban every dickhead that does this.