Wednesday, 28 September 2016

The past is a different country – they washed up then

Every day, tens of thousands of people dump on America without saying a word. They open their mouths, it’s true.  But that is for the food consumed off polystyrene plates, often in bilious amounts, using plastic knives and forks, or for the cold or hot drinks guzzled from polystyrene cups.

There’s no more alarming way to see this than to drive across America, which we did a little while ago. In grand hotels and pit-stop motels polystyrene is king. And even though some forms of this ubiquitous, environmentally iniquitous, product are recyclable it mostly goes into the trash, destined for landfill.

The hotel and motel owners (and restaurateurs) of America need only take a peek at Trip Advisor or elsewhere on the Internet to sense the cry for change:
o   ‘Are you serious – polystyrene plates and plastic cutlery at breakfast?!’
o   ‘Polystyrene and plastic cutlery set the standard.’
o   Everything in the dining room was disposable … Nothing cheapens a meal quite so much as using disposable plates and cutlery.’

Billy Connolly joined in the lament against ‘polystyrene plates and plastic cutlery’ writing of his road trip along the famous Route 66.

So what or who’s to blame? Is the food so bad it doesn’t matter what it’s served on? Have the dishwashers of America, threatened with deportation by Donald Trump, gone to ground? Does the fault lie more with Saudi Arabia? Battling Russia and Iran it’s pushed oil prices to record lows. Cheap oil equals cheaper plastic. Why clean up when you can throw away?

No matter how blame is apportioned it's a phenomenon that’s rubbishing America.