Thanks to my library graphics friend, I have some thoughts about the use of plastic on our farm. His comment to my last blog really got me thinking.
I, for one, hate using the plastic stuff due to the environmental aspects of how it is made and that it can leach chemicals and such. However, I must say that feeling that way doesn't stop me from using it. It is convenient and sturdy. I usually use the buckets to sit on while I harvest. I haven't tried it with rush, wicker, or other natural products. I suspect it wouldn't hold up as good to my weighty behind.
On the other side of the delivery of the food, our customers prefer to get the product packaged. It helps cut down on the damage to the produce as well as the contamination, which a lot of people get concerned about in this day and age. (I remember eating dirt as a kid but I understand that kids don't do that today.)
It is also much cheaper for us to buy the ziplock bags and much easier for the customer in their storage of the products. And, I am not sure what we would use for the flour and cornmeal. I've bought corn meal in little fabric bags but they were still lined with plastic...costly.
I do reuse a lot of the plastic tho...the plastic crates are returned to us after delivery. (Altho the crates are just used to carry the plastic bagged products in.) And the harvest buckets last for years and years of reuse and rewashings.
On the natural side...I really love the aesthetics of the wicker and wood baskets. I have lots of them in my yarn storage room, as well as wooden bookcases and a ratan papasan. But the natural products aren't always as light weight for carrying the produce. I used to use the big bushel baskets but the metal handles would come out and the basket broke after a season. They were also harder to wash. I've tried to compromise on the looks a little by getting colorful buckets...the blue one reminds me of the Georgia sky when I look thru it.
So, there are lots of good things about the plastic. But, all of that made me think about life here in America too.
Thinking this thru...I just finished a book about India ("Sideways on a Scooter" by Miranda Kennedy) and that book really made me think about how Americans are so wasteful and also so materialized in our world. So many people in other countries (I read a lot about other countries) have so little goods compared to us, yet we Americans don't seem to feel fortunate or grateful usually. I find many Americans act as if it is a right to have these things, that having LOTS is just...well...American. We don't act like it's a priviledge to have so much. (Maybe more of us need to experience that "real" Survivor show to know how grateful we should be.)
So, when I thought of this plastic thing, I thought of that book. I thought of the people that collect the garbage in her book and how they scavenged for things the American author threw away in order that the items could be sold or traded for the basic necessities of life...like food. How lucky I am to have all this plastic around to use every day and then to carry all that food around also!! So many have no food to even put in a plastic bucket if they had one!
And "Third World"...hm. I usually think of numbers that are greater, when speaking of people, as being associated with wisdom. You know, their countries are much older than America...maybe there is a thought there...who is the smarter one? And who uses less plastic I wonder? Hm...lots to think on.