We’ve seen it a thousand times in American movies. The character leaves the store carrying the purchase in a beautiful brown paper bag, the famous “Stilwell bag”. In Spain, as we are more “modern”, the corresponding image is that of a plastic bag. Now we know that plastic is not degradable (it goes without saying “biodegradable”), that is, throwing it in the trash does not become compost. The millions of bags and plastic containers that are discarded every day end up in garbage dumps, in the stomachs of some animals. More dramatic is the repeated image of the seas, rivers and lakes overflowing with remains of plastic material. They are also introduced into the fish, which we then eat.

Little by little we are seeing in Spain that we are advised to avoid plastic bags. We will return to the shopping cart literally. In some shops, the plastic bag is replaced by a paper one, but the movement is still very shy. We are still flooded with plastic everywhere. We can not continue talking about “technological society” until a packaging material that is cheap and degradable is discovered and generalized. For now, the most affordable is the brown paper. I understand that, if generalized, it would require a fabulous investment of pulp mills, which, in turn, contaminate. In addition, the cellulose necessary for such an operation is not produced in Spain. I’m not a technician. I pose the problem, not the solution.

An interim remedy is for the consumer to pay an additional price if the store provides them with plastic bags. It is what we are now. The matter is not resolved. Not only that. Every day we buy more products “online”, which means a huge package transport. It is understood that logistics companies (it would be better to call them “metaphor”) resort to plastic packaging in its various forms. It is what best insulates and protects the products. That’s where you would have to go massively to degradable cardboard. I do not know if such companies are sensitive to the new need not to pollute the environment any more (do not say “environment”). Now the fashion of wrapping a simple letter in a plastic envelope has been imposed. It may be convenient to remember that paper envelopes did not become general until the mid-nineteenth century.

You do not have to be environmentalists to be a little more sensitive to the need to take care of the environment. It is not a question of ideologies but of common sense, of hygiene. Nor are they individual decisions. Instead, a common policy is imposed that is accepted by manufacturers, traders and consumers, who in the end are all of us. The solution must begin with the scientists and technicians, now forced to discover new packaging materials that are degradable. At the moment, the raw material available is cellulose, from wood. Maybe we have to plant many more trees for that purpose. I do not know how such a colossal task can be carried out. Then it turns out that the eucalyptus en masse are conducive to forest fires, which is another plague. It will be necessary to design cellulose plants that are not as polluting as the current ones. As can be seen, the issue of progress is not easy. After all, entropy is the law of the development of life. That is to say, in the end what increases is the garbage. Intelligent exit is what our ancestors were already doing, taking advantage of the rubbish as fertilizer. It is what we now call “composting”, a new operation that many exempt homes can carry out.

What is clear is that the urban landscape of the immediate future can not be made of non-degradable plastic. Something will have to be invented. We are not yet in a technological era that deserves such a praiseworthy adjective. We are too primitive, although we presume civilized. Of little use the lexical reform. The dirtiest place in the municipality is called “clean point”, where the “waste management” is processed. So we’re not going anywhere. The environment is not taken care of more painting everything green.

Via | Digital Freedom

Image | eflon.