I have had many discussions with friends about the way things used to be done. And it is true that especially today with so many technological advances, we do so many things differently than even recent history. One of the things that have changed is how we package our food. Do you drink milk? If you have milk in your fridge, chances are high that it is in a plastic jug. Not too long ago milk was consumed from glass bottles. These bottles were traded and exchanged as the milk was used up. This essentially created no packaging waste and the petroleum jugs were left out of the equation. The abundance and low cost of oil created a market for the plastic milk jug, and this plastic milk jug would not exist without oil.
The plastic jugs work very well for all the intended purposes of the milk product, this packaging is light weight, affordable, disposable and not bulky. The issue is that this man made product is made from oil and is very difficult to decompose. And, although it is recyclable, not all of the plastic jugs make it back into the consumer loop. Even worse is the impact plastic like this has on our oceans and other natural areas. So we are left with a choice between economic and personal convenience, or we continue to live with the adverse effects on our environment due to plastic production.
The tough part about this issue is that right now it is a personal choice on whether or not to consume these products. And really this choice of consumption comes down to two things: a higher cost for an alternative, and the convenience of the current plastic packaging. How do we get out of this cycle? We must be willing to sacrifice. We must be willing to sacrifice the extra money for milk in a glass bottle, we must be willing to sacrifice the convenience of a disposable plastic jug. This means we must be willing to do the extra work and pay the extra cost associated with glass. Would you apply this sacrificial attitude to all the other products we consume that are packaged with oil products? It is a discussion worth having, our planet is at stake.
Here is some great info on the plastic patch in our ocean: