WHY ALL THI S WASTE By Jonsig Eirik I finally had to buy a ne w he ating pad; it was nicely rolled up and

the n stuffe d inside a plastic bag. The control had a plastic slee ve slippe d over it. The plug even had a he avy plastic slee ve pushe d ove r the te rminals. This whole thing was inside a nice cardboard box, which was all that was neede d in the first place . There was no ne ed for all that plastic! The ne atly rolled up he ating pad with the controller and the plug tucke d inside it, would be all that was necessary inste ad of wasti ng that plastic, a commodity that is bound to be come more expe nsive as the price of oil escalate s. But this was only one small item whe re plastic wasn’t necessary to marke t this product. Walking through de partme nt store aisles you will observe hundre ds of items whe re the plastic contai ne r is many times larger than necessary. Large plastic bubbles on a molde d plastic base ob viously de signed to catch the custome r’s eye , rathe r than to mere ly house the product. Thousands of ite ms that are not damaged by handling such as most small tools, exte nsion cords, and plumbing parts for e xample , can be in a bin with the price tag or barcode sticker attached. Every day tons of plastic e nd up in landfills. In southe rn B.C. we are quickly running out of land we can spare ; most of it is e sse ntial for farming and re side ntial, providi ng you can find any you can afford. Land has be come too e xpensi ve to be used for a garbage dump. The out of sight, out of mind, syndrome was evide nt in the past; still is. I saw the best e xample of this many ye ars ago while e xploring numerous old mine sites around the province. Virtual mounds of tin cans we re still rusting away, leaving little exce pt the rims. Maybe in

another hundred ye ars those will disappe ar too, reduce d to rust by Mothe r Nature . Today, glass bottle s and aluminum bee r cans line the roadside s, but scave nge rs that e arn 5 or 10 ce nts for e ach item colle ct much of the se, he lping to cle an up the e nvironme nt as well. Not so with the food wrappe rs, plastic trays, and Styrofoam cups and innumerable ‘toss out of the car items’ that unfortunate ly have no re fundable val ue , e nding up e very fe w feet along the roadside, with little ince ntive to cle an the m up. While most of the aforeme ntione d we re mostly annoying eye sores, the damage done to the environme nt by industry is irre ve rsible . The great lakes, once the pride of North Ame rica, have bee n reduce d to huge sludge ponds by industries indiscriminate dumping of factory waste . A hundre d ye ars of damage is too much for nature to fix, and too much for man to cope with.