It’s interesting to watch the ways in which the current crusade against plastics manifests itself. The basic message – plastic is poison – gets through to everyone, but the reactions sometimes resemble a Chinese smithy melting down his tools to increase steel quotas during the Great Leap Awkward.

After a number of do-gooders complained, our company canteen recently replaced its plastic containers with cardboard packaging, for all those people too busy to sit down with a knife and fork. The move was celebrated as a great boon for the planet, maybe a potential way to minimise that already minuscule proportion of plastic waste that leaks out of European rivers.

Mayhaps. I’m not a materials scientist, but since the cardboard is plastic-coated and thus presents problems with recycling, the gesture has probably replaced a product that could be easily managed and recycled, with one which must be burned.

Nothing against using resources sparingly, but a bit of uncommon sense often helps. Just because something is plastic, doesn’t necessarily mean that the alternatives are automatically better for the environment. Think beyond the mantra. Or maybe just sit down with a plate like the rest of us inmates next time.

[Photo by John Cameron on Unsplash]