Goodbye plastic: The Beginning

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PLASTIC FACT 1 – See the cool infographic at the bottom of this post for a getting-started overdose on mind-blowing plastic facts e.g. In one WEEK, we go through 10 BILLION (10 000 000 000) plastic bags worldwide. The sources for the information are at the end. That’s 3.6 trillion bags a year. And they are all still here.


To make amends for excessive social media armchair consumption, 2017 is the year I’m going to try to be a bit more do-y. To confront my plastic demons.  To do stuff.  A plastic war.

It’s a very small scale war for now. There is only one amateur soldier, late 40s, slightly greying hair and creaky joints, but starting with a household recruitment drive today. Maybe you’ll join too?

It’s been on my mind since a trip to Morocco a few years ago when we saw blue plastic bags, everywhere. Thousands of the feckers. Stuck in the branches of the argan trees, blowing along streets in town, even right in the middle of the desert, miles from anyone or anything.   Ginormous expanses of multi-coloured dunes, camels, sunsets, elongated shadows on the sand.  Blue plastic bags. I’ve had a nagging voice telling me what I already knew, but louder, “THE PLASTIC BAG MONSTER IS OUT OF CONTROL.”

Plastic, Morocco

Plastic in Morocco.

It’s very tidy and orderly where I come from, the monster is collected and hidden away, often before we wake up. I don’t see mountains of plastic every day so it’s easily forgotten. Morocco was different. It was in your face. And that’s where the boot up the bum came from.

Morocco has suddenly become the second biggest user of plastic bags in the world, after the US. But, unlike where I live, the hiding-it-away is lagging behind. There aren’t enough rubbish collections. The infrastructure can’t cope with the monster bag invasion.

Plastic, rubbish, Morocco

A donkey and cart carrying rubbish, sorted into plastic and card.

Rubbish, Morocco

Bins are few and far between. Goats have found this one.

We talked with our primary-school-teacher friend, Samir, who lives in a place called Khamlia right on the Saharan sand dunes. So many daily products are now wrapped or carried in plastic, which needs somewhere to go. Gone are the days of paper, baskets, and reusable containers, or just making it yourself. But there’s not the same regular bin lorry that comes and removes the problem from our doorstep and puts it in a hole far away. The children in his class threw rubbish on the ground because they’ve never learnt otherwise. In the past, the “rubbish” was a nectarine skin or a paper bag – biodegradable stuff – so back to the ground was the logical place for it to decompose. It’s plastic now though.

Morocco, rubbish, bins

Making rubbish bins at the primary school.

So, week 1, a small but big step, deciding to take action and speaking really nicely to family and you guys to help.

Next week: killer ear buds.  Back to bags later.

Plastic facts. Credit:see picture.

Plastic facts. Credit:,

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