Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Why no plastic

What's available in the shops
I made a list of purely Irish foods not wrapped in plastic that I could find in the main supermarkets and shops in Monaghan town. (Note; not including meats, though i imagine its rare you would have meat wrapped in paper.) This may not be a complete list, feel free to let me know of anything to add.

Salad onions
Cooking apples

Although different veg would be available at different times of the year. Condiments, breads, processed foods would generally have at least salt, cooking oil or sugar. It is possible that salts or oils could be sourced in Ireland. (Going to look more into Agripure and Donegal Rapeseed). Most fruit and vegetables used in main brand processed foods are imported. I would generally assume that when a label says "Packaged in Ireland" or "Produced for..." or "Made in the E.U." then its not of Irish origin. I think at the end of this I'll do seperate lists, more researched, of products free of plastic and products 100% Irish. Personally, as I've said before, I feel the use of plastic is a much more troubling aspect of the food industry.

Why no Plastic

Someone had requested the reasoning behind this endeavour, in particular the "no plastic" issue. I wouldn't know how to fully explain why I feel the way I do about industries' and society's use of and disposal of plastic waste, the influence comes from so many sources over many years. But I would imagine much of my knowledge of plastic and the food industry would be no way greater than anyone elses. I'd say you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't know that our disposable societies are filling seas and landfills and rivers and countrysides with plastic refuse, that will be there for a very long time, doing unquantifiable damage to ecology and food systems. I find it an odd issue to raise, you just have to look outside. But here's some things I've found that might add to the discussion.

Some talks and people that have influenced and inspired my thoughts on these matters;
  • Chris Jordan's photography - "The nesting babies are fed bellies-full of plastic by their parents, who soar out over the vast polluted ocean collecting what looks to them like food to bring back to their young. On this diet of human trash, every year tens of thousands of albatross chicks die on Midway from starvation, toxicity, and choking."
  • John Francis - his talk on how he spent over 20years travelling without using any motorised transport
  • Susan Shaw - On the Gulf oil spill and indusrty use of flame retardents and chemicals.
  • Mark Boyle - has lived for almost two years without using money, he works to form a moneyless community and runs

Info and videos on gyres, oil, plastic;
  • Very informative talk by Ct. Charles Moore. Lots of pics and stats. "We wanted to see if the most common fish in the deep ocean at the base of the food chain was injesting these poisoned pills... Over a third had polluted plastic fragments in their stomachs."
  • Oil'd - Short film by Chris Harmon on the gulf oil spil. "I've spent all of my free time in the last month putting this together to help illustrate just how dependent we truly are on oil."
  • H2Oil - Short animation by Dale Hayward & Sylvie TrouvĂ©. "Of the worlds total water supply, only half of 1% is accesible fresh water. The oil sands mining operation use up to 4 barrels of fresh water to produce one barrel of oil".
  • Info graph from GOOD - "90% of trash floating in oceans is plastic". "As it breaks apart, the plastic ultimately becomes small enough to be igested by aquatic organisms."

This is all more easily accessible info on the subject that I can think off the top of my head. If I find/remember any more thorough writings and documentaries on the subject I'll share it.

Next week I'll find you some good news :)

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