Monday, May 28, 2007

Plastic Tracks

I think I can be credited by wanting to know, and hence seeking the most objective explanations wherever possible, but I have to say I just came across a couple of bits of packaging technology and application that have left me stumped for a reasonable raison d'etre.

At some stage the relative merits of in-person vs. online shopping will be clear (well, vs. no shopping at all, I guess), but as a family we do tend to prefer the latter.

Hence the men from TNT, Royal Mail and DHL are often at our door.

And they are always bearing boxes. Now, I'm the first to accept that a damaged item is not helping the planet in terms of waste of material, manufacture and journeys made, but lately the relative sizes of the boxes to the item have got waaaay out of proportion.

And, to compensate, the packing filler has expanded to match... or cope. So I now have miles of this stuff, and am struggling to find a location, suspecting that I might be only one of few who might be so minded.

I am also intrigued by the little 'eco' label on each air-sac. Better than nothing, maybe, but surely to heavens there has to be a better, equally affordable alternative?

People don't pollute. It's just their stuff that does.

People pollute

Hence not so much the elephant in the room, but the cribs?

I'm seeing a new 'Re': reaction

I don't mind doing my bit. What I do mind is being threatened with god knows what if I don't, to mainly dig out of a hole (pun intended) a bunch of pols who chose not to see this coming until now, or line the pockets of their quango and private contractor chums sorting it out (pun intended).

What a rubbish way to run a country

Looks like I'm not the only one.

The logical, fair way, is to reduce what goes into the system, facilitate the means to dispose of what cannot be so reduced (as opposed to fine first and figure out last), and incentivise rather the demonise to inspire public cooperation.

Costly rubbish technology

The logic of the letters written here is so inescapable I can do more
than add my support... and wonder why we have the systems we have,
backed by punitive legislative proposals and/or mammoth and
unworkable systems and ever more 'initiatives' to be managed
by ever more vast armies of assessors, with a thin veneer of publicly-
funded encouragement to cooperate, designed mainly to meet
bonus targets achieved by using our money persuade us to do the work...
and further reward those who couldn't get it right in the first place.

With luck and by being sufficiently upwind of the odious emanations
from these pseudo-green mandarins, if we are by the time still allowed one,
the verdict on all this can be made at the polling booth.


I don't know about ready for Ozzy as it's saviour, but this inhabitant of the planet is getting a little less than inspired by those who advocate its saving as a career booster (or creative inspiration, to be generous) whilst not as, such, per se, seeing it applying to them as being practical or indeed necessary. I simply can't wait for how Live Earth pans out as a consequence.

As to pols copping the consequences of their actions, the same 'it doesn't apply to me, of course' seems to pervade every corner of Westminster, so no matter what they put in place, they will either not get to experience it or, if in failing to do so as required, pay for it.

Get the feeling we're all just a tad low on inspiration for all we're being fed? Wonder why?

You can let the green elite out of London, but...

"If you are coming to Hay this year then leave the Hummer in the garage and plug in the Prius."

The joys of going green

Some interesting comments here, with valid views on both financial (you can obviously make the choice to lose money but conduct a more eco lifestyle, and more power to your elbow... IF you can afford it) and enviROI (benefit to the planet, which often seems to be worryingly vague with some initiatives I've seen espoused, with a suspicion too much is touted, too enthusiastically and uncritically, as simply looking green without actually being it).

It all boils down to accurate information, delivered without agenda or spin, so one can make purchase and lifestyle decisions in the best interests of the future whilst trying to support a family (as a few have pointed out, it's easier being green with a wadge in the bank and/or the promise of a career funded talking about it).

Bearing that in mind, I'd say the Hummer is not only best left in the garage, but also probably also best left unpurchased. And while the Prius may be the auto-du-jour of the affluent urban eco-warrior, it may not necessarily be best to make the trip from London to Hay in if one has a stable of options in the garage. You'd surely mainly be mainly lugging a battery along for the ride.

Speaking of which, I'm pretty sure it's self charging - - 'it uses a gasoline/electric hybrid powertrain, incorporating large batteries that are charged by the gas (petrol) engine directly or by regenerative braking (cannot be plugged in as built)' - so if you do try plugging it in, you may get a bit of a shock.

Me, I think I'll keep my 10-year-old Volvo well-maintained, tyre pressures optimal, and continue to try and figure out whether Mr. Brown's successor will decide that the Treasury is losing too much money encouraging us all to go green, and whacks a load more duty on LPG, bio-whatever or 'it's not just hydrogen, it's Stuart Rose's 6 litre hydrogen-powered Beemer'.

Spinning is tops

A report on something I was present at, and had a rather different take upon.

WI flexes muscles over excess packaging

I was there when this speech was made, and examples of 'gratuitous packaging' were paraded, which lead to the now infamous 'Banana Metaphor'.

Because, in the spirit of my own education and informing the public, I asked why a cited pack of bananas was indeed so wastefully wrapped in plastic. It seemed odd to go to the expense of doing so if it was not necessary.

Considering that meetings had been held with everyone from Gordon Brown to Terry Leahy by the WI, I was a little perturbed that despite the leap to high-profile criticism, no one seemed to have tried to find out why, or derived a satisfactory answer.

Those my question generated from the floor ranged from protection from organic rotting gases to preventing food waste from singletons dropping from hands and being deemed consumer unacceptable. Both potentially environmentally sound, if true, I’d hazard, but I am still unsure as the very industry that handles this seemed to have differing explanations in justification.

One statistic, also needing confirmation, that did strike me was that food waste represents 95% of total vs. 5% from packaging, and hence one wonders why more effort should not be devoted to reducing this first?

Death, Taxes, Bank Holiday Weather...

... and 4x4 protests.

All are inevitable.

Yesterday I picked up my - very bedraggled - sons from a Scouting camp.

It took a bit of doing. They were in a glorious piece of the country, and one reason it is like that is because it is a tad inaccessible.

Now, while it was a very uncomfortable and awkward hump to get all their personal stuff from the camp to the nearest point I could get my car, the mess tents, cooking stuff, etc were... are (still - we go back if we can gain access later this week) another matter.

It got me to wondering what will happen if 4x4s are rendered uneconomically viable or, as could happen, get banned. One could argue that this would return large tracts of the countryside to a kinder, gentler, motorised-free age.

Or... that farming would cease to be practical, and we'll simply entertain our kids by grabbing a plane to where the weather is nice(r).

I just think that before things get too hasty, and to symbolic, we should be careful what we wish for.