When plastic was first invented in the early 20th century it was something of a miracle material. It was so versatile! It could be moulded into all sorts of shapes, was cheap to make and was highly durable. But what we didn’t realise back then was just how durable it was. Plastic doesn’t break down – at least not in hundreds of years.
It is a sobering thought that about 80% of all the plastic made since the 1950s (which was when production really took off) is still with us. It’s now either in landfill sites or drifting around as litter. Though plastic doesn’t break down, it does fragment into tinier and tinier pieces. Microplastics, as pieces less then 5mm are known, are virtually impossible to see and therefore very difficult to clean up. Worse still is that they get eaten by fish and so make their way into the foodchain.
But there is something we can do to stop the tide of plastic waste. We can find ways of repurposing and reusing our plastic items. Plastic is indeed durable – so we can reuse it and reuse it again. Sometimes it’s just a case of using a little imagination. Take this chunky piece of moulded plastic. Perhaps it was originally designed to be a junction for a large pipe. Now it makes the perfect desk tidy!
At Creative Junk we have all sorts of plastic items waiting to be reused or repurposed. From plastic storage boxes, to bottle-tops, CD cases, yogurt pots (which make brilliant paint holders) to plastic document holders and more. Come and take a look. And next time you are thinking about throwing out some plastic, be kind to the planet and drop it off at Creative Junk instead. There’s always another use for it.
Celia Coyne is a writer and editor living in Christchurch.