Wastefulness . . . ~ September 11, 2022

Milk Box

As I add another plastic bottle to the Recycling Bin and think of all the trash being dumped into the Oceans with a gazillion plastic items washing upon shores worldwide . . . .

It reminds me of days in my youth . . .

We didn’t have a need for “recycling bins” back then; we were doing it on a daily basis in our homes. When something broke, it was fixed; you didn’t just throw it in the trash and run out to the store to buy a new one.

OMGosh! I remember the day my husband came home from work; I was out on the driveway scrubbing down the plastic shower curtain/liner. He asked, “What in the world are you doing?” “Cleaning the shower curtain, just like my mother used to do.” He laughed at me and said, “Darling, we can afford a new plastic shower liner; they’re not expensive, maybe two bucks, throw this one out and go buy a new one.”

See? This is the mentality of all the generations since those born during the Great Depression. Great Depression folks? They scrimped, and fixed, and saved, and re-used, and, and, and . . . . any place they could save a dime, they did. Many a woman from my generation remember their Grandmothers re-using tin foil, hanging their clothes out to dry, hanging the rugs out on the line to first batten all the dust from them and then to wash them down and let them dry. They didn’t throw those area rugs out and buy a new one; they washed them and put them back down on the floor (part of Spring cleaning).

My cousin has his Doctorate in Marine Ecology and is a Professor at a major University; his daughter, just entering college, has chosen to follow in his footsteps. She recently posted: “I love this under water world and so should everyone else. Sadly it’s dying and every day more and more death and destruction makes its way through the oceans. Help us keep it alive so it can help keep us alive.” It’s fascinating to view their photos from a different perspective than most of us see on a daily basis.

Here are some facts regarding the magnitude of plastics in our oceans:

  1. “There are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. Of that mass, 269,000 tons float on the surface, while some four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometer litter the deep sea.”//May 19, 2022
  2. Biologists, in 2016, noted: “We took a total of 13 samples at seven different stations of the West Pacific Kuril-Kamchatka Trench, at depths between 5,740 and 9,450 meters [between 3.5 and 5.8 miles]. Not a single one of them was free of microplastics.”
  3. “Every year, an estimated 2.4 to 4 million tons of plastic enter the sea via rivers, as a result of extreme global plastic consumption and poorly organized waste disposal.”

You can read the article in its entirety here: https://www.newsweek.com/plastic-waste-has-turned-deep-sea-trash-can-oceans-scientists-1725762

When I grew up, there was a Milk Box outside everyone’s front door (similar to the one in the photo above). Once a week, the Milk Man would collect the empties from the box and leave a new batch. Those empty bottles were brought back to the local plant; washed, sanitized and refilled.

Here we are 50+ years later than that era; the eco-system has been so drastically affected by the “throw it away and buy anew” mentality of five generations . . . . it just may be too little, too late, to save us from ourselves.

// JA44, 09-11-2022

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