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The important question still not being answered – why did we start using plastics in the first place?

Summary:
Van Badham tells us in The Guardian of her attempts to stop using plastics for a month:I’m a beeswax-wraps and bamboo-toothbrush user, I “make do and mend” my clothes, I store bulk-bought snacks in glass jars. But there are no illusions in our house that taking mere individual responsibility for what is a collective problem can ever solve it – one household makes negligible difference when 340 million global tons of plastic are produced in a single year. The enraging history of plastic also includes how its corporate makers avoided bans and regulation by aggressively mobilising anti-litter campaigns in the 1980s – a sleight-of-hand blaming of citizens for the garbage mountains that their own companies were pumping out.Well, no, not really, because everyone who has been able to use plastics

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Van Badham tells us in The Guardian of her attempts to stop using plastics for a month:

I’m a beeswax-wraps and bamboo-toothbrush user, I “make do and mend” my clothes, I store bulk-bought snacks in glass jars. But there are no illusions in our house that taking mere individual responsibility for what is a collective problem can ever solve it – one household makes negligible difference when 340 million global tons of plastic are produced in a single year. The enraging history of plastic also includes how its corporate makers avoided bans and regulation by aggressively mobilising anti-litter campaigns in the 1980s – a sleight-of-hand blaming of citizens for the garbage mountains that their own companies were pumping out.

Well, no, not really, because everyone who has been able to use plastics has used plastics. So it’s something to do with us consumers, not producers. As is normal in a capitalist and free market society of course, it’s demand that creates supply.

Then there’s this:

Opening my cupboard doors onto paper sacks of flours and sugar was heartening precisely to the point I discovered that some shitting mice had trashed the lot.

Ah, yes, that’s it. We used plastics because it was cheaper to do so. Evidence that using plastics consumes fewer resources overall than not using plastics. Sadly, people not grasping this rather important point:

What I learned from my month of privileged, cashed-up western failure is that it’s going to take the regulation of plastic production, distribution and supply by global governments to make anywhere “plastic-free”. Single-use-plastic-bag bans are not enough. Recycling is not enough.

Global government is required to insist that we should all consume more resources?

What is it about the modern world that has robbed people of the ability to think?

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Tim Worstall
Tim Worstall is a British-born writer and Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute. Worstall is a regular contributor to Forbes and the Register. He has also written for the Guardian, the New York Times, PandoDaily, the Daily Telegraph blogs, the Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2010 his blog was listed as one of the top 100 UK political blogs by Total Politics.

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