LETTER: Recycling just makes us feel better
This is not a viable solution because only about 10% of plastics are recycled
Leila Abboud’s article started to unwrap the paradox of the plastic problem but didn’t really go all the way (“From plastic revolution to revolution against plastic (https://www.businesslive.co.za/ft/life/2019-11-07-from-plastic-revolution-to-revolution-against-plastic/)”, November 7). In light of the damage plastics are doing to the natural world, it is ironic that the objective of the first proto plastic, celluloid, was to save the elephant. In the 1860s billiards was extremely popular, and celluloid was sold as a replacement for ivory balls.
But we’ve only been in this plastic age for about 50 years. I can remember walking to the shops with my mum and buying liver from Mr Coffey the butcher, who wrapped it first in greaseproof and then brown paper, tied with string. How things have changed in our hydrocarbon economy. Who walks to the shops any more? We drive to the supermarket, where our groceries are packed in plastic bags screaming “please recycle me”...