27
Jan
09

I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth

I’ve always loved this Who lyric. What a great way to say “not a child of privilege. Not silver, plastic. Clever.

The song popped into my head yesterday and I realized that the meaning really doesn’t hold any longer. I went to the kitchen at work to heat my lunch in my reusable container. When I got there a co-worker was opening and shutting every door and cabinet looking for a plastic spoon. “Are we out?” I didn’t know, but told him there were real spoons in the drawer. He didn’t want that. He scrounged some more as I heated my lunch and finally decided he would rather eat whatever it was with a fork as opposed to eat on a real spoon and have to bring it back to the kitchen. Never mind that he had spent considerable time looking for the plastic spoon, time that could have been spent returning the real one after his lunch. We have a cleaning crew. We have a dishwasher. All he had to do was walk down the hall and put it in the sink. That’s it! I know I have a tendency to scold so I bit my tongue.

After my lunch, I went back to rinse my dish. Another co-worker was opening and closing the drawers looking for a plastic spoon. Same conversation ensued. I explained there were plenty of real spoons. Before he could decide his course of action, another co-worker came in and told him where the silverware packets were. In other words, that co-worker and now this one would open a plastic bag with a plastic knife, a plastic fork and a plastic spoon in order to use a plastic spoon. All of that then goes into the trash. All that because walking down the hall takes too much time?

No, being born with a plastic spoon in your mouth no longer means a person of humble means. It means total decadence. Ok, I know it is just a spoon! But, where does it go? That spoon goes into the landfill where it will sit and never biodegrade. More will be made and go into the landfill. All because it is more convenient. It is simply a waste of resources.

With disposable chopsticks, it is easier to see the impact. 25 million trees are cut every year to supply one-time-use chopsticks to the Chinese market. That simply is not sustainable. So, they’ve put a tax on them to encourage the use of reusable chopsticks. No one is cutting down our forest to make plastic spoons, but they are a petroleum product. There are alternatives – potato and corn based plastics. That’s better. They biodegrade and are plant based. Still, why not just walk to the kitchen when it is possible?

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