Saturday, February 27, 2010

I'd like to call this post "Talking Trash," but that gimmick has been recycled too many times.

Remember when I mentioned my "list of things to blog about?"

Lately, I've been looking through it and all I can find are notes about ecological sustainability--mainly regarding the topic of consumer waste.

Yes, I know I'm a tree hugger, but I used to have a fairly varied repertoire of things that I thought worth writing about--lately, I do not. Lately, all I can think about (other than broken hearts, but we all saw how well that went over...) is whether I can find a scrap dealer that would like my broken office chair, what to do with my broken toaster oven, what to do with the rags that are too unwearable to sell at a thrift store, and whether it's better to buy leather shoes that will kill a cow but last a long time and ultimately biodegrade or pleather shoes that are not directly responsible for any animal deaths but will fall apart after a year and perhaps contribute microscopic bits of themselves to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch after the bulk of them has been relegated to a landfill where they'll languish, wasting valuable space and resources until the time eons in the future when humanity is long gone and some silicon-based organism has become the new dominant life-form on Earth.

I could write blogs and blogs on these topics. I come up with a new environmental conundrum every couple of days! However, I fear that by doing that, I will transmogrify Val's Galorious Galaxy into something that is not necessarily worse, but is not what it was intended to be--primarily a source of entertainment for you, and secondarily an outlet for me when I want to gripe about something. I think it would be delightful if some legitimate publication would take me on to write about the environment so my Galaxy can remain star-spangled, sparkly, and essentially frivolous.

Until that time, though, I just can't resist broaching the interesting topic of "plasphalt."
Plasphalt is a trademarked term for paving materials incorporating recycled plastic--which I heard about for the first time just a few days ago. While it sounds really exciting, producing paving material that's more resilient and lighter to transport, it makes me worry. Whenever we hear about a new earth-saving technology, people always get really excited, go overboard in trying to implement it, then later on discover it might not be so great for the planet after all (e.g. ethanol, which requires so much corn input that the food industry suffers, or bioplastic bottles, which can't be composted at home, produce greenhouse gases when composted commercially, and contaminate recycling when recycled in large quantities). What kinds of problems are plastic-infused roadways going to present for our planet? Let's think about this now, before we do something we regret!


Amy Shipley said...

Plastic is no good no matter what you do with it! I think about the shoe conundrum a lot, too. Adam and I both bought vegan hiking boots, and they disintegrated within a year or so. So now we both bought really expensive leather boots, hoping they'll last.