Posted by: David McKay | February 15, 2012


I just read an article in The Guardian called, The great escape: the bath toys that swam the Pacific, about the 28,800 bath toys lost at sea in 1992.  The article is an edited excerpt from the book, Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea, by Donovan Hohn.

The book looks like it’d be a good read; it sounds like the author went on quite an adventure.  Mr. Hohn said that he just wanted to find out where the ducks had gone, and how they got there.

His take on what he discovers about plastic is well-spoken:

What’s most nefarious about plastic is the way it pretends to deny the laws of matter, as if something could be made from nothing; the way it is intended to be thrown away but chemically engineered to last.

We have been conned.  We all know plastic is made to last, and at the same time we are told it is okay to throw away.  We are told recycling works.  But, it doesn’t work.

By offering the false promise of disposability, of consumption without cost, it has helped create a culture of wasteful make-believe, an economy of forgetting.

Make-believe.  We do not want to admit that our way of life is unsustainable.  Consumption without cost.  That is irresponsible.  How easy for us to sweep what we wish to ignore under the carpet.  Or just let it wash out to sea.

Never mind that only 5% of plastics actually ends up getting recycled.

Never mind that the plastics industry stamps those little triangles of chasing arrows into plastics for which no viable recycling method exists.

Never mind that plastics consume 400m tons of oil and gas every year and that oil and gas will in the not-too-distant future run out.

Never mind that so-called green plastics made of biochemicals release greenhouse gases when they break down.

Those innocuous, happy, little yellow ducks went floating off across the ocean to become a scourge of the earth…

Thanks for reading.

Responsibility in not convenient — it’s necessary.

Rethink.  Refuse.  Reduce.  Reuse.  Reimagine.




  1. I just finished reading this book and it is very interesting.

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