Author Topic: How much of my gear is based on plastic?  (Read 1229 times)

gunwharfman

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How much of my gear is based on plastic?
« on: 16:08:32, 23/02/20 »
I was packing my rucksack today, trying yet again to get a lower weight and to only take with things that I will actually use and thinking how much of all of this is made from various types of plastic? I came to the conclusion that its a lot!

Some items are obvious, tarp, mattress and bivi whilst some items are not so obvious but when I looked closely at everything that I wear and put on my back I realise that I'm actually loaded with the stuff!

It also looks to me like a lot of companies would go out of business if customers en-masse decided to look for and buy non-plastic items, Thermarest seems to be one example, their products appear to be nearly all made from on form of plastic or another.

I know I'm not going to personally do anything about it but it certainly makes me think.

Bigfoot_Mike

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Re: How much of my gear is based on plastic?
« Reply #1 on: 16:35:18, 23/02/20 »
What would we replace the plastic based items with? Would the replacements be any more environmentally friendly? Single use plastic items definitely seem to be wasteful, but in others cases the answer isnít so clear.

richardh1905

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Re: How much of my gear is based on plastic?
« Reply #2 on: 16:59:34, 23/02/20 »
It's a difficult one. I'm almost entirely plastic.

Bamboo fibres and wool for clothing, and I used to have a Berghaus Delta 30 canvas rucksack in the 1980's (my sweat rotted the canvas). My classic Vango Force 10 tent was cotton and weighed a ton - but it lasted ages.
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SteamyTea

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Re: How much of my gear is based on plastic?
« Reply #3 on: 17:03:04, 23/02/20 »
There was an episode of The Simpsons where a man decided to live without zinc.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1iCZpFMYd0

Plastics are pretty good materials, it is really down to the disposal where the problem lies.


There is also the song, 'Nothing but Flowers'
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zU6B9ZRtwUM


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ninthace

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Re: How much of my gear is based on plastic?
« Reply #4 on: 17:08:30, 23/02/20 »
I would say virtually all your gear is plastic.  Apart from the obvious items, all artificial fibres such as nylon, polyamide, polyester, polybutyl are plastics so that includes most of your clothing, your pack and the soles of your boots as well as the uppers if they are not leather,.  They are not of themselves bad, they are hard wearing and usually better at their job than the "natural" alternative.  I put "natural" in quotes as they themselves are the products of the agriculture industry and all that that implies.  The issue is correct disposal of the items at the end of their useful lives.
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fernman

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Re: How much of my gear is based on plastic?
« Reply #5 on: 17:16:39, 23/02/20 »
Microparticles from laundered synthetic clothing - and that probably includes fleece made from recycled plastic - are entering the water system. So no matter how long you make the garments last, you're still damaging the environment.

ninthace

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Re: How much of my gear is based on plastic?
« Reply #6 on: 17:35:06, 23/02/20 »
While we are shedding microplastics into the environment and we now possess the technology to find them, as far as I know, the jury is still out if that is a bad (i.e. harmful) thing or not (e.g.  https://get-green-now.com/microplastics-health-guide/, https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanplh/article/PIIS2542-5196(17)30121-3/fulltext)
The bad things in plastic are often the additives such as plasticisers that can affect the endocrine system.  These are released during use the use of the product especially during washing.  Most polymers are very inert, that is why they last so long but inert means unreactive.  I am not saying there is nothing to worry about but rather we just don't know yet - see the last sentence of the first paragraph of the Lancet article.
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Bhod

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Re: How much of my gear is based on plastic?
« Reply #7 on: 17:53:49, 23/02/20 »


Bamboo fibres .

Not all bamboo is ecologically sound though.  Some of the chemicals used in the processing are pretty damaging...
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SteamyTea

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Re: How much of my gear is based on plastic?
« Reply #8 on: 17:54:35, 23/02/20 »
There was a bit in my favourite weekly comic about micro and nano particles.
If anyone wants to read it, it is here:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/13YrCCldeej17uVvY1D-lA4IEJiyAQVYN/view?usp=sharing
It is a copy and paste from a webpage, then saved as a Word document, via LibraOffice, so the formatting may be a bit skewed.



Just noticed that it is a freely available article, so this may be a better link:
https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg24432590-300-we-constantly-eat-microplastics-what-does-that-mean-for-our-health/
« Last Edit: 18:10:52, 23/02/20 by SteamTea »
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ninthace

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Re: How much of my gear is based on plastic?
« Reply #9 on: 18:03:36, 23/02/20 »
Not all bamboo is ecologically sound though.  Some of the chemicals used in the processing are pretty damaging...
And some bamboo garments can be 25% polyester.
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fernman

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Re: How much of my gear is based on plastic?
« Reply #10 on: 20:06:38, 23/02/20 »
There was a bit in my favourite weekly comic about micro and nano particles.
If anyone wants to read it, it is here:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/13YrCCldeej17uVvY1D-lA4IEJiyAQVYN/view?usp=sharing
It is a copy and paste from a webpage, then saved as a Word document, via LibraOffice, so the formatting may be a bit skewed.

Just noticed that it is a freely available article, so this may be a better link:
https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg24432590-300-we-constantly-eat-microplastics-what-does-that-mean-for-our-health/

The New Scientist article is truncated, with the remainder only available to subscribers, but what you copied with admirable forethought onto a document is just fine. The piece was nicely written without too much jargon for simple folk like me to read (did I really just say that?). I wasn't previously aware that microparticles also come from what wears off car tyres.

But it's not just us humans that might be harmed, it's the entire animal kingdom.

SteamyTea

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Re: How much of my gear is based on plastic?
« Reply #11 on: 20:12:16, 23/02/20 »
The piece was nicely written without too much jargon for simple folk like me to read (did I really just say that?).
That's why I get NS, like all good scientists, we can't write proper English, it is numbers or nothing, and we get those wrong too.
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ninthace

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Re: How much of my gear is based on plastic?
« Reply #12 on: 21:04:55, 23/02/20 »
. I wasn't previously aware that microparticles also come from what wears off car tyres.

But it's not just us humans that might be harmed, it's the entire animal kingdom.
  Yup - tyres = polybutadiene.
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Sonatine

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Re: How much of my gear is based on plastic?
« Reply #13 on: 21:34:40, 23/02/20 »
I bought a Marmot Precip Eco jacket, used from recycled materials. Is anyone aware of other manufacturers with  products made from recycled material?

ninthace

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Re: How much of my gear is based on plastic?
« Reply #14 on: 21:41:54, 23/02/20 »
I bought a Marmot Precip Eco jacket, used from recycled materials. Is anyone aware of other manufacturers with  products made from recycled material?
Polartec https://www.polartec.com/about/eco-engineering
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