Britain: Still ‘dirty’

Came across this story about supermarket rooftop hydroponics. What a brilliant idea. I hope it does well for them, and eventually comes to the UK.

I stumble across these initiatives from time to time, but oh so rarely. Given that climate change and ecology are big issues in our time, it’s amazing how little is being done to change our behaviours.

  • Everything I buy at the supermarket is still swathed in plastic packaging – needlessly.
  • The fruit and veg they offer are still gorgeously uniform, flawless and perfectly scrubbed. Which means agri-chemicals, piles of rejects and endless waste, waste, waste.
  • Supermarkets and shops still offer ‘disposable’ plastic bags (Jeez, even Americans – hardly the world’s foremost ecologists – stopped this nonsense YEARS AGO).
  • Home-fit photovoltaics and wind turbines are still wildly expensive to fit and maintain. Subsidies are still derisory.
  • Domestic recycling is a recent introduction to the UK. Recycling and anti-packaging regulations have been normal in Germany – to cite but one example – for many years.

I could go on… but luckily for you, I won’t. The list of things that shouldn’t be happening is endless. You might care to add some examples in the comments, if this bee also inhabits your bonnet.

By the way, I’m not a dreadlocked eco-warrior. I’m actually an anthropogenic climate change doubter.

But here’s the thing: even if human beings aren’t wrecking the climate, we ARE using up our planet’s resources at an unsustainable rate. One day, they WILL run out – if we carry on like this. So for fuck’s sake, let’s stop.

9 Responses to “Britain: Still ‘dirty’”

  1. mediaOrganic Says:

    Americans have certainly not eliminated disposable plastic bags, though individual communities have started such reforms. Plastic packaging is a scourge across the world.

  2. Soilman Says:

    I’ve always been impressed, mediaOrganic, that Americans collect their groceries in paper bags. This seems to have been the practice for years and years. Whereas in the UK we’ve only recently started to hear the message.

    Or is the paper bag thing not as common as we may think?

  3. Martin (plot11) Says:

    as always Soilman,I agree with what you say,i’m annoyed that I waste 10 mins looking for recycling signs on packing.”SIGN IT LARGE”please!

  4. Rampant_Weasel Says:

    im always astounded at the amount bs u hear from ppl who basically cant be bothered to recycle and will use any excuse to carry on regardless.main ones being ‘global warming is a myth’ and ‘its just the council getting you to do their work for free so its all going in the main bin anyway f*** em’
    the laziness and ignorance from my fellow countrymen really winds me up.
    from the govt point of view is the price of fuel which is so high it makes moving anything (like recycle lorries)so expensive its not worth doing, and far cheaper to supply milk in a container that can be thrown away instead of reycling the glass bottle like we used to.

  5. Redbloke Says:

    Excellent blog Soilman and quality video’s, after the ‘Unacceptably weedy’ episode I hope it continues. I’ve recently taken up a plot (along with my son, he’s 27 I’m double that) and I’ve been scouring the ‘net for some info and come across this. I really didn’t think allotment blogs could be this entertaining. The plot we’ve acquired needs a bit of graft but we have the rest of the year to get it sorted, weather permitting we start tomorrow. For my veg I’ve relied on supermarkets for far too long so hopefully we can get to a point where we grow most of our own. Over the last few years supermarket packaging and labelling has been winding me up; ‘Be good to yourself’, ‘Grown for flavour’, why the fuck else would you grow stuff!?

  6. Kath Says:

    Well, being from the US (West Coast) I can say we still have plastic and paper bags…which is a little crazy. The West Coast, in general, tends to be more ecologically minded than the midwest and the East. There is a trend towards banning both paper and plastic bags and requiring you to bring your own bags (or pay for each paper/plastic bag), but it is hardly sweeping the country. Recyling is highly encouraged in Seattle and along with picking up our dustbins, we have a bin for recycling (plastics, glass, cans, etc) and one for “clean green” or plant material. The city makes money on the recycled materials and sells our “clean green” back to us in the form of compost. Cheers!

  7. Rham Says:

    One of the things that we do not recycle is our own excrements. We import most of our nutrients from other parts of the planet and yet, instead of re-using our own waste for as the best fertiliser ever for our land, we throw it away and, in the mean time, we pollute our rivers, etc. But, who cares about it, after all, it’s talking shit…

  8. Jaette Says:

    To begin with, I take umbrage with the typical “greener than thou” attitude of the Pacific Coast espoused by Kath. Seattle, Portland, and San Fransisco are the worst offenders at this, and often little realize there are far better systems in place across the rest of the States. I grew up in one of these cities and believed the self-inflicted propaganda until I moved somewhere else. In fact, the best recycling program I’ve encountered was in rural Indiana (yes smack dab in the heard of red voting territory). There everyone had to bring in their own trash. You paid a decent price to dump trash, but could recycle for free. Yes, you had to separate everything yourself, but I have never seen such an array of materials accepted to be recycled, nor such a swath of people willing to recycle. The system resulted in 100% recycling participation as near as I could tell. And lead to the same people, who are frequently looked down on by those so well informed on the Pacific Coast, to press for more recycling. Humanity is such that it is always better to make a case to someones wallet than their heart or head.

    I’m not sure where you’ve gotten your information Soilman, but I’ve lived in 6 states in the past 10 years and unfortunately plastic bags are everywhere (though when they are from recycled plastic it is unclear if paper is the better option). It is nice to hear there are generalized good things said about the States from time to time (even if they are as factual as some of the generalized awful conclusions reached). I will say, I was surprised when I recently moved to Minneapolis and found it difficult to find plastic bags. This has been a minor inconvenience as I have a dog and absolutely refuse to purchase plastic for the sole purpose of cleaning up after him. This has resulted in me utilizing thin produce bags (not a pleasant experience), and leaping at the opportunity to grab any errant bags I see on the street side (and confused neighbors).

    Lastly in my tirade today, while I agree with Rham that human waste does contain plenty of useful nitrogen – because of the significant pathogen risk involved in improperly composted waste of this sort – I can’t possibly imagine feeling comfortable with the idea of putting my trust into numerous individuals to properly dispose of their shit by compost. After all, as was pointed out, many of these people can’t even be bothered to recycle.

    I don’t know what set me off today but I’ll leave my anthropogenic climate change argument for another time Soilman…

  9. Old Holborn Says:

    Mind you, the Japanese have just found a way to turn 1 kilo of plastic back into 1 litre of oil. a game changer.