Network for the Environment and Social (Human) Security

Modern Times and Plastic

Posted by on Mar 6, 2011 in Sustainability | 2 comments

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Modern times is without plastic unimaginable. Anyone reading this web page, sits in front of a computer. Which, for the most part, is made of plastics. Plastic is found in every area of life of people, at work and at home. Plastic has, without doubt, crucial advantages compared to other materials. Crude oil is the raw material and can be used cheaply and varied.

Plastic has a long life. Left to itself, it rots in about 300 years. In contrast, wood needs plenty of living space and needs decades before can be industrially processes. The biggest advantage of wood is the fact, that grows constantly. Although, this depends on whether we allow the trees to grow. The speed in which the forests are decimated is horrific. It is, supposedly, better now, compared to the past. But still, now we have to replace also the forest, which has been destroyed in the past. The task of the forest as the lung of the earth, is too important and therefore trees should be planted and not be lumbered.

For the extraction of ores and minerals whole areas are literally destroyed!

The durability of iron, if left up themselves, much lower than plastic. Eventually it corrodes. However, iron goods were found by archaeologists from the end of the Stone Age*.

* This historical dating is not quite correct, the learned readers will object. Both statements are true, because, while the iron was developed in some tribes, most tribes were still in the Stone Age. This is only mentioned in passing (1).

The biggest advantage of plastic is the good processing quality. After the expiry period of the device, the plastic can be recycled with little energy demand. And new goods are produced.

This happens already today. Even in the 3rd world, the trash is recycled by people on their own initiative. An example from India, submitted from (2). Mrs. Anita Ahuja and Mr. Shaleb established Conserve(3). It is not clear whether Conserve is a company or an NGO. Perhaps both. Conserve manufactures of plastic bags and purses. And thus ensures its existence about 300 workers.

Anita Ahuja shows the world that we say in Nesseq again and again. You can organize locally and make with the simplest means good business. If one does it as an individual or, in the best Nesseq style, as a cooperative. Anita Ahjua gives us a good example of how to run a business in a social responsible manner. One of the interesting suggestions by Anita Ahuja is that every NGO should have an economic mainstay. Thus one will not depend on donations. at the end of their article laments, that it is not able to find a supplier for those bags. Instead of heeding Mrs. Ahuja and to become the supplier of the Conserve products itself and so become more independent from donations!

One important point should also be mentioned, the trash from which Conserve produces the solution is the Zero Waste (5) policy, where all the garbage is completely collected and recycled!

This would in some way, endanger the endeavour of Mrs. Ahuja, but let’s not worry about that. I have confidence, that the Lady will find a solution to this predicament. In the meanwhile, everyone of us should take an example and start doing something. Like establishing a Loan Guaranty Fund, for instance.

For further information:

During the research for this article I visited, which features further interesting articles. Not only about plastic, but also about Micro-Hydro Power facilities. However, only in German.

1. Iron Age


3. Conserve

4. Garbage Export

5. Zero Waste

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  1. monex

    .Country Region Field Of Work Subsectors Target Populations Organization Year Elected 2007This profile was prepared when Anita Ahuja was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2007.Anita Ahuja has turned discarded plastic bags into a valuable resource. She combines principles from enterprise and social service in a venture that recycles plastic waste and provides employment for ragpickers one of the most marginalized groups in urban India.

  2. pasaila

    Great article, I’ve bookmarked this page and have a feeling I’ll be returning to it regularly.

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