I’ve been having a tiny declutter this week. Another five bags of assorted items to go to the charity shop, well, after they’ve sat in the hallway for a week or so, as I’m good at bagging and less good at actually dropping off.
As part of the purge I went through the kitchen cupboard, you know the one. The one that buries you alive as everything falls out of it, so you have to snap the door shut quick to keep it all contained. Well, not for me anymore. I tackled our plastic container cupboard today, and I was so doing, I recalled something my brother said a few months ago about Tupperware (other brands are available). His argument was that pieces of this kitchenware should be passed down between the generations as family heirlooms. Sounds odd doesn’t it? I’ve got crockery, as does my mum, that was her mum’s, and it’s treasured and used as such. But plastic containers just wouldn’t be revered in the same way would they and I wonder why, because they’re practically indestructible (unlike china) and so would last for a very long time.
It got my thinking about our attitudes to plastic as a material. I know with my son’s toys, the wooden ones are the ones we treat as special, whereas the plastic stuff is mostly the stuff I can’t bear as it breaks easily and tends to be at the cheaper and more disposable end of the toy spectrum. Interestingly I kept some of my toys in our loft that I’ve handed down to my son and they have all lasted incredibly well, (apart from the doctor’s kit where the case fastener has broken, but hands up, I did that in childhood!).
So, I can only conclude that plastic’s sheer universality and the price value we put on it as a result means that it’s unlikely we’ll start writing, ‘and to my best beloved wife I leave my second-best set of Tupperware containers’ in our wills anytime soon. But maybe it’s one of the things we need to change our viewpoint on in order to prevent so much of it being simply thrown away or ending up in the sea. There must be a correlation here between the tonnes of it that end up as litter and our casual regard, for what it actually a remarkable material. We could start by introducing a bottle-return scheme where customers are paid back 5 or 10p for each bottle they return. It would have a two-fold effect of (hopefully) encouraging to think in terms of plastic as being a valuable material, and also help keep it off our streets and seas. #PlasticFreeJuly